"I don't have my photo taken very often...if ever...I don't like it"
- Crazy Courtney Julien, sometime before June 2016
Up until June of 2016, it was often mentioned to me that was a little weird, given I'm a professional photographer for a living, that I never had my photo take in a fancy way. Sure. I could see that. The truth was, I was not overly comfortable in front of the camera, hadn't learned to love & embrace all of me, and hadn't yet had a ridiculously incredible experience in front of the lens. But - I never really put myself out there either!
I'm a part of a group called "Healthy Role Models", or "HRM's" as we refer to ourselves. It is made up of hundreds of women, locally and globally! We exercise together, but apart, pump each others' tires, inspire, encourage and celebrate successes! It is a community of women learning to support each other, all the while building a healthy lifestyle! The group is amazing! As women, we are incredibly critical of ourselves. We have forgotten to celebrate even the tiniest of successes. I didn't stop for the IcedCapp I wanted at Timmy's today...#WIN. Even though I didn't break a huge sweat, I took a walk today. #BOOM. It's all about celebrating the small wins in life - no matter how trivial they may seem! Through those mini celebrations - we learn to love ourselves, grow and be far less critical!
At the end of the HRM challenge, there is a celebratory photoshoot. One, that in 3 challenges, I had never opted to do. Always telling myself I couldn't do it, or didn't progress enough...BLAH BLAH BLAH. HELLO POT!!! YES KETTLE? I know. We've all said that to ourselves. My clients have said that to me. And I always tell them..."There is no time like the present. If you don't do it now...will you ever? Celebrate YOU - in this exact moment!". I finally took my own advice and celebrated MYSELF. Exactly how I was. I worked hard, fallen along the way, but I still made progress! It seemed like the perfect opportunity - and I nearly talked myself right out of it with an entire book of excuses. If you know me, I'm always happy to plunge right into adrenaline pumping experiences (like bungey jumping!) but a photo shoot - no thanks. It exposes a lot. You worry about what will show up on camera - perhaps the doughnut you ate last week? The little crease of skin on the backside of your bra...you think about how you'll see your images and think I should have worked harder at the gym, you think about what things you won't like when you see the images, or how you hate the way your hair is going to look already - and you haven't even SEEN THE PHOTOS! Its pretty stressful!
So...how then did I overcome my fear of photoshoots for myself, and the bigger question you ask yourself: "How can I overcome my fear of photoshoots!?"
After going through the entire process myself, the answer is finally here:
DIVE RIGHT IN. HEAD FIRST. IGNORE THE LITTLE VOICE IN THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD SAYING YOU CAN'T DO IT. YOU'RE NOT READY.
YOU ARE READY. Its that simple.
I was pretty nervous the day of my shoot. Then I had my shoot. Looking at my photos after the shoot, I cried, no - I definitely sobbed. I surprised even myself. Then I cried some more...and some more after that. And I thanked Alec profusely for capturing the sassy woman inside! I saw a woman who had let go of her emotional and mental hang-ups, and instead put on a pair of heels, a classy - yet SEXY skirt, and a splash of loud colour! I threw caution to the wind. I saw ME. And I loved her! She was sexy as hell, gorgeous and confident! Now I could look at photos of myself all day and find nothing but things I love about myself. I have become the best version of a vane woman I know!
So what am I getting at here? That life is for celebrating. For being grateful for the small wins. For finding something that you love about yourself. And then celebrating the hell out of it! I am so grateful to the amazing Alec Watson for this incredible gift! His images make me feel like a goddess - and I am eternally grateful that he could help show me the beautiful woman inside!
So ladies...when are we meeting up to celebrate you!? I can't wait!
Photo Credit: Alec Watson