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The Body Beautiful: Bret Cole

Background: Born in Switzerland but raised on California's Central Coast and currently living in North Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Has your perspective and point of view changed since becoming a mom? And if so, how? Being a mother is my No. 1 purpose in life. Although I work essentially to pay the bills, I realized I am a happier person and better mother when I have an outlet. Something else that I am good at and feel fulfilled doing. I love what I do and am blessed to have a career that I am passionate about.

What do you find most rewarding about motherhood? Motherhood is a privilege and a reward in itself. Not only am I in a position to comfort, teach and nurture another human being, but motherhood provides me the opportunity to grow and become a better person.

What do you find the most challenging or surprising? There are a few things as a mother that I find equally challenging: practicing patience, teaching positively and prioritizing are definitely up there. And finding a balance in all aspects of life.

How do you store/organize/display/showcase your photographs? I store my images on external hard drives, back them up on DVD and store the negatives themselves. I organize my images in Bridge and edit them using Aperture (I will be switching to Lightroom as Aperture is no longer being offered through Adobe) and Photoshop. I guess my method of "display" would be through my online portfolio, blog and client galleries. My albums are displayed/shown during client meetings.

Any recommendations for moms trying to capture those beautiful moments? As a lifestyle photographer, I like to "direct" rather than "pose" my subjects. This implies movement and fluidity. Speak gently, use flattery and encourage them to be themselves.

What makes you feel beautiful as a mother? I feel beautiful knowing that such a wonderful person came out of me. :)

What advice can you give other mothers who might not feel beautiful in their bodies? This is not a simple question to answer. I have always been hard on myself, even before I had a baby. And it took me over two years to lose my baby weight. I personally do a lot of things to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.

- I regularly see a therapist

- I work on positive self-talk

- I exercise regularly

- I eat well, but allow myself indulgences now and then

- I try to accept and believe compliments from others

- I remind myself that living in the moment and enjoying my son is more important that how I look (for example, playing with him on the play gym or going swimming together).

- I work on giving myself grace when I don't eat right or don't get out on a run, but I focus on how good I feel when I do ... not just immediately, but long term. I have A LOT of stresses in my life and getting those endorphins going is the best medicine.

- I try to remind myself that I am creatively and beautifully made!

If you had to do it all over again would you change anything and why? I believe almost everything in life is a choice. Rather than living in regret and asking myself what would I have done differently, I see the opportunity to grow from my experiences. I have an equation that helps remind me to think like this: E + R= O.

This stands for Event + Reaction= Outcome. Although we can't always control the events in our lives, we can control our reactions to the events, which in turn determines the outcome.

Where you can find Bret:

Website: Bret Cole

Blog: Bret Cole Blog

Workshops: Bret Cole Workshops

Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter

NEXT UP IN THE SERIES: MARGARET JACOBSEN

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