You know you need to schedule a photo shoot. On more than one occasion you’ve been asked for a headshot and you’ve had to send an embarrassing selfie instead of a professional portrait. The Welcome, About, and FAQ pages of your website all have stock photos or no images at all. And you don’t even have a picture of yourself in the sidebar of your blog!
You know need to schedule a photo shoot, but you just can’t build the courage to do so. Trust me, I understand.I decided in August 2016 that I wanted to do a photo shoot with Birmingham-based photographer Megan Tsang Hand. However, I didn’t schedule said photo shoot until June 2017! It took me that long because I didn’t feel good about the clothes in my closet or the body I was trying to dress.
I’ve always been obsessed with the world of fashion. I binge on fashion blogs regularly, I devour fashion magazines often and memoirs of iconic designer Diane von Furstenberg and supermodel Crystal Renn are among my favorite books.
The irony of this, however, is that I hate shopping. Each season I basically wear the same five outfits, mixing and matching pieces to “throw off the public” as my dad calls it.
And despite my love for fashion, I have never wanted to be a model because I hate having my picture taken.
For this photo shoot, however, I obviously had to have my picture taken since that’s kind of the point of a photo shoot and I had to put together six different outfits to wear.
After trying on nearly every item of clothing that I own, I assembled six outfits, but now I faced a bigger challenge — mustering the confidence to step in front of the camera.
Because I am a writer when I’m faced with a problem I run to words for help — whether the sacred words of the Bible or the sage words of a memoir of a woman I admire.
So I recited Psalm 139:14 a few times reminding myself that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” but still really wished I could accomplish my 2017 goal of losing 30 pounds before my session with Megan. Then I read Ashley Graham’s recently released memoir A New Model.
Ashley Graham is a plus-size super model who, in my opinion, is one of the sexiest, most beautiful women on the planet. Her book not only chronicles her modeling career, but also her journey to confidence.
In the introduction of the book, Graham discusses her family and the role they played in her road to self-confidence. She quotes her mother talking about her own upbringing: “I always felt love and acceptance. It didn’t matter what I looked like, how big I was, how small I was. That had nothing to do with it. Hard work won praise.” Having grown up feeling loved and accepted for who she is, Graham’s mother passed this on to her children.
Her mother’s quote stuck with me and reminded me that See Jane Write readers and members couldn’t care less about my muffin top or double chin. That’s not to say that you don’t celebrate with me when I accomplish my weight loss and fitness goals. You certainly do. But you rock with me because I give you inspiration and information to help you go after your writing, blogging, and business goals, not because of my dress size.
I was ready for my close-up!
Related Reading: What Losing 20 Pounds Taught Me About Writing
Ariane Trélaün of Do Your Thing, recently wrote a post in which she declared that “your photo shoot is a feminist act.” She writes:
That IS you fighting the good fight. That IS you totally telling whatever forces have ever put you down, kept you down or small or quiet, that they can F OFF. That you’re glorious and powerful and strong, and that you’ll stop at nothing to do what you’re here to do, OUT, Large and Loud and Proud.
I couldn’t agree more. I felt so empowered during my photo shoot. I felt beautiful, bold and strong. When passers-by at Railroad Park stopped and stared during the shoot I didn’t feel self-conscious at all. I felt like a star.
If you’re trying to boost your confidence before a photo shoot for your blog, here are three things I think you should do:
- Recite your favorite body positive affirmation. Repeat it again and again until it becomes a chant, a prayer. It should become one with your breathing. If you’re a woman of faith, feel free to borrow my go-to verse, Psalm 139:14: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
- Surround yourself with confident women. Confidence is contagious, so go spend some time with the fiercest babes you know. If you don’t have time for a girls night, read the memoir of a woman you admire or just spend some time on Instagram scrolling through body positive feeds like @effyourbeautystandards.
- Reflect on your hard work. Remember what really matters. The photos you’re taking for your website are just icing on the cake. Celebrate the layers! Celebrate the hard work you’ve put into your blog, book, or business. Celebrate all you’ve have accomplished and get excited about all you are soon to do!
Photography by Megan Tsang Hand