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Photographer lets little girls 'not smile if they don't want to' and lets the photos do the talking

'When I did that first photoshoot with my niece... watching her transform on the other side of my lens was so creatively energizing,' said Light.

Photographer lets little girls 'not smile if they don't want to' and lets the photos do the talking
Cover Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/ @bdlighted

People—especially young women—are almost always expected to smile when posing for photographs. However, a photographer named Brooke Light thinks differently. For her, when kids drop their masks and forget what they are doing is when their true, powerful selves come out. And this is what has been making her latest viral video grab eyeballs across social media platforms.

It begins with the overlay text, "When your photoshoots allow girls to show up, take up space and not smile if they don't want to." Light can be seen holding her camera before the video goes through a sequence of her exceptional black-and-white photographs of young girls looking visibly comfortable and confident in their own skin. While some look into the camera and some away, none of the youngsters seem to be posing. Instead, they look completely in their element and that's what makes these pictures so unique. 

Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/ @bdlighted
Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/@bdlighted

The video has garnered about 959k views and is captioned, "Never underestimate the power of a photoshoot for your kid's confidence." People in the comments section were mesmerized by the beauty of each picture. @jonileagarcia283 commented, "They look powerful and authentic." @wherepaulsleeps wrote, "I love how they are not trying to be anything 'extra' just their own raw and savage selves." @writewithmd shared, "I love this so much! I HATED smiling for the photographers and remember thinking they’d never force me. How validating!"

@hippiechick0297 said, "Authenticity is fabulous! Everyone doesn’t always feel like smiling and that’s okay. Beautiful even." @xo.kilili commented, "Wow this is such a great perspective!! Thanks for the knowledge share!!"


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Light 📸 Charlotte Photographer (@bdlighted)


 

Light started photography when she left college but stopped completely when she moved to Charlotte, Noth Carolina. "I did a few weddings, small publications and family sessions back then. I stopped photography altogether when my husband and I moved to Charlotte, NC. The market here intimidated me. I have no formal photography training so the imposter syndrome was very real," she told Upworthy.

Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/ @bdlighted
Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/@bdlighted

"Jump to 2020, when I experienced a layoff due to the pandemic and I picked up my camera again for a candle company (Sparta Candle Co., they are popular on TikTok). In 2021 I did my first photo session with my niece in what would become my Moody Mini style," the photographer added. 

When asked what led her to do these shoots in a style that's generally not seen much in the industry, Light said, "I've always been drawn to more dramatic, editorial style photography. When I did that first photoshoot with my niece Ruby, it ignited something in me. Watching her transform on the other side of my lens was so creatively energizing that I knew I needed to pursue this. I had never experienced a kid relaxing into a photoshoot so quickly. She just existed without anything performative and from that, her photos felt like a feeling instead of an image." 

Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/ @bdlighted
Image Source: Brooke Light/ TikTok/ @bdlighted

Light couldn't choose a favorite session from her photography career so far but shared that she has a favorite shot from each one. "There is always this moment where the kid/teen drops the mask and forgets what we are doing. They relax into the photoshoot and those moments are everything for me. We always get the shot then. I haven't had a session yet where we don't have that moment and I always know it immediately. A lot of the photos I share on my TikToks are examples of those moments," said Light.  


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Light 📸 Charlotte Photographer (@bdlighted)


 

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