Have you ever dreamed feeling like a model, feeling great about a photograph of yourself but let that voice in your head talk you out of it?
This is my journey experiencing the same emotions and thoughts you have when thinking about having your picture taken - the insecurities, the objections. All the reasons NOT to do it.
Part 1: Explored if I am worth it. Just me, not the girls. Not to mention the $$$. Find the full post HERE
Part 2: Wait! WEIGHT! Who doesn't consider this when they are about to be photographed? Find the full post HERE.
Part 3: Wait! I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEAR! Even though I have a closet full of things, do I really want to wear any of these? Find the full post HERE.
Part 4: The Photo Shoot: What it’s like to feel like a model for a day. Who thought it was a good idea to be photographed at dawn?! But it was at the Eiffel Tower… Find the full post HERE
It’s reveal day. Time for me to actually see the photographs that we created. Time for me to choose my favorites.
For me, this is more nerve wracking than the photo session. At least during the photo shoot I can imagine how great I look. Now I face the truth.
What if I don’t like what I see? What about all the mental work I have done on self acceptance, self love, self forgiveness. Will this create a downward spiral?
I can’t even pick out eyeglasses for myself because that is too much mirror time.
So- I had a crutch. Older daughter to the emotional rescue. We planned the reveal around 3 schedules, no wonder it took so long to happen….
Since Ashleigh is in California, we had to do the reveal via zoom, not in person. As a photographer, I love being in the same room as my client for the reveal because (selfishly) it is like Christmas morning for me. I get to watch my client unwrap herself and I get to feel the energy when she re-discovers herself and her beauty.
Ashleigh opens with a video of the day starting with me getting my makeup done. OK, give yourself grace, it is before dawn and you are without makeup, it’s about the transformation….
Then, as we move on to the photos from the rest of the locations I am starting to relax. Happy with the photos on the Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower – in the dancing stills and video I look like I am having fun. Because I had no mirror the whole time (I was making outfit changes in the car) I didn’t really know how I looked, I was depending on Ashleigh (photographer), Cheryl (hair & makeup) and my daughter. As we progressed I was thrilled with the 30 or so photos that I saw of me. Even some of the closer up ones.
But this was a 2 minute video, what will I see when we start going over them one by one. You know, the time when we go right to the parts we don’t like and then nit-pick ourselves to death.
Surprise! I ended up with 20 photos that I love and will be proud to use both personally and for branding. They are a little skewed toward the epic Eiffel Tower photos, and I love the composition and the different looks, but I did get a balance between all the locations and outfits (even the dress that I wasn’t sure I was going to like). And I was surprised at how many of the closer up ones I liked.
1. When I saw photos of myself side by side, I learned why I usually dislike photos of myself. I could compare all my angles and I figured out what, to me, is my best side. We are not models by profession, and once I got past age 12, I stopped spending a lot of time examining myself in the mirror, so how could I possibly know the best way for me to look in snapshots?
2. Trust the team. I had to trust everyone around me to make sure that I was looking good, especially because there was no mirror. I didn’t have the resources to edit myself, or double check what they were doing or telling me. And after all, I hired Ashleigh because I liked her portfolio.
3. Put a lot of thought into what to wear. Not only because I had to pack outfits for a foreign destination, but because if my outfits didn’t fit well, or flatter me- well Ashleigh can only do so much with posing & lighting. Bulky, ill- fitting clothes won’t do me any favors. As I was waiting for the reveal, in retrospect, I was wishing I had brought a jacket for the jumpsuit, a scarf for the dress (what was I thinking getting so many photos with bare arms?)
4. Be open to a new view of myself. So much of this was me pushing my comfort zone, it was interesting to see how others saw me. And there are a few things in these photos that are driving me a little nutty, but I am going to leave them and try to embrace and respect a new view of myself (externally as well as internally).
NEXT: The prints. Funny, now I am excited to receive my 20 printed photos (about 4 weeks) in a folio box with a canvas cover with the epic Eiffel Tower photo on the front.
And I’m planning where I am going to be scattering them around the house and studio. One is definitely going outside my closet.
PHOTO CREDIT- My daughter who thought to capture screen shots of the reveal. She has captured moments of this whole adventure. (Thank heavens for the millennials who always think to capture EVERYTHING!)
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I bet you’ve been told that you need a professional photographer to make photos that will resonate with your followers?
A: Sometimes all you need is your phone and a strategy. Not every photo that you post needs to be created by a professional who has tons of equipment worth an untold sum of money.
It's always a great idea to post photos of your day to day activities especially 1 to 1 meetings to give prospective clients a feeling of what it is like to work directly with you.
Well, you could always just grab your phone and hold the camera out with your arm, or use one of those terribly intrusive selfie sticks (sorry if you love yours), but then it’s just another selfie. How can you capture yourself in action in order to paint a picture for a potential client that would allow them to picture themselves working with you? Especially if you need to have your hands in the image, and therefore not available to work the camera…
If you have no one around who can take a photo for you, it’s a great time to use the 10 second timer on your phone.
First pick a spot in the room where there is good lighting – facing the light coming through a window is best, avoid the flash if you can. Then set up your shot.
Next, set up your camera making sure you fit everything into the shot that you need - don’t forget to leave room for yourself! Lay the phone the long way (landscape) on the ground, on a desktop, on some books in front camera mode (so you can see what you are shooting) and lean it against something (a book, water bottle, you don’t need a fancy tripod) so that it is fully upright and parallel to you.
Open the camera app on your phone
Tap on the camera icon
Tap on the clock icon in the camera
Choose between the 3-second or 10-second timer
Tap the shutter release and wait for the countdown to finish (your iPhone camera's flash will blink as the timer counts down) before the photo is taken. This should allow you time to get yourself in the picture or stabilize your phone to avoid shaky images.
There you go! Not only does this give a potential client a glimpse od what a session with you looks like, but it also give you a solid piece of image content that can complement a story that shows your knowledge and expertise.
So how about it? How can you create some interesting selfie portraits for your business?
Post your “timed selfies” in the comments here or on my page- let’s see what you can do!
Name: Veronica "Niki" Fielding
Business: Digital Brand Expressions (DBE) https://digitalbrandexpressions.com/team/
Business: Owlthena https://owlthena.com
Veronica (Niki) Fielding founded Digital Brand Expressions (DBE) in 2001. She’s been helping pioneer digital frontiers since the territory first opened. DBE is comprised of award-winning, results generating, search engine and social media marketing experts who work synergistically with each other, our clients, and their other agency partners to bring Omotenashi to life.
Niki is also founder of Owlthena an expert listening service for business owners. Its premise is based on a new approach using the emerging science of attentive listening.
What inspired you to start your business?I started Digital Brand Expressions because I saw an opportunity to get into the digital marketing space and it was new and there was lots of pioneering to be done. 18 years later, DBE is recognized as a performance agency for search engine and social media marketing, sought after by brands for which those channels are real business drivers.
Now, in addition to growing DBE, I’m launching a second business, Owlthena, the expert listening service for business owners. This category-creating service will provide business owners a conduit to claritysmwhen they find themselves stuck in a pattern of circular thinking.
What do you like most about what you do?For both businesses, I love that feeling of knowing with absolute certainty that what we do truly helps others. DBE does it through competitive advantage performance marketing; Owlthena does it through 1:1 attention clear thinking encouragement for business owners.
What is your definition of success?For me, success is a day-to-day measure. Am I achieving the strategy level goals by achieving the tactical-level ones? Am I taking care of myself? Am I actively helping others? Am I feeling the joy that comes from purposefulness? If yes, I’m successful.
What advice would you give to an inspiring entrepreneur or student? Build a network and use it! Don’t be shy about asking for help, for introductions. Ask others what you can do for them. When you first start out, most likely you’ll be asking for more than you give—if you do it right, eventually there will be balance, and perhaps over time you’ll get so good at it that you’ll be giving much more than you ask for--and that’s a wonderful place to be!
Essential business philosophy.Lead with kindness, adjust accordingly.
What is the biggest business lesson you’ve learned?Ask for help to get what you need and the universe will ask you to reciprocate when your help is needed by others.
Why is community involvement important to you and how do you support the local community?I actively mentor young men and women who seek my career advice by making myself available to them to answer questions and offer tips, and I have the not-for-profits that I sponsor financially, including The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen on a local basis, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on a national basis, and Charity Water on a global basis to help me give back in the ways that work best for my life.
Morning ritual: Coffee; check my peeps on Facebook; read 2-3 business articles on something new, innovative, or controversial; take a walk; meditate for 10 minutes; hit the shower; and then listen to podcasts about matters of the soul and mind for my 30-minute drive to the office.
Next vacation: Aruba. I hear it’s a guarantee from a wonderful weather standpoint. I need some of that!
What is something that people don’t know about you? Though I rarely talk about spirituality, I am very interested in the energy in and around us and fascinated by all that is in this world that we cannot see and are just beginning to realize is just as real.
Favorite place in your house & why: hands down it’s in “my chair” in front of the fireplace in our family room, sitting opposite my guy while we have our morning coffee and chat about whatever comes to mind.
If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you have to have with you?A French bulldog, a horse, and an umbrella.
If you could invite anyone living or dead to dinner who would you invite & why?Oscar Wilde. I admire his quick wittedness and word play. So clever!
It was 4am the morning of the big day – my photo session - and I was awake – not because I couldn’t sleep because of nerves (although now that I was awake that was happening) but because we needed to be at the Eiffel Tower as dawn was breaking so there are not a lot of other people in the photos. The Trocadero is a popular photography spot and it fills up quickly with people having engagement photos, wedding photos (on all days), commercial shoots as well as tourists.
Oh yeah- and because the light is so soft and beautiful.
So there I was waiting for Ashleigh and Cheryl (her hair & makeup artist) to arrive at 4:30 to get me ready. Luckily dawn was a full 45 minutes later 6:30am that it was here 5:51 on May 2.
Because we had discussed my wants and needs in terms of hair & makeup in our prior discussions, we could get right to work –Cheryl applying my makeup and eyelashes while waiting for the curling iron to heat up and me constantly saying –“Whatever you do please make sure my eyes don’t look small & beady” many, many times. (This is obviously one of my “things.) And I know I say this to everyone who comes to me to be photographed, and it is so true, eyelashes make such a difference in highlighting the eyes creating a great connection with the viewer of the portrait.
Ashleigh, and the hubs were taking behind the scenes photos. I was letting Kathryn (my daughter) “sleep in”. She was going with us on the morning adventure to take behind the scenes photos for this blog and to help me get changed. Did I mention that we were going to multiple locations and I would be getting changed in the car?
Kind of had a little panic attack in the car as we were driving, but as I got out of the car in my big ole tulle skirt I felt like I was getting on the red carpet. Then, I got out of my head, focused on Ashleigh’s direction and got into the groove.
My thoughts on the experience:
Even greater respect for professional models.
Spring in Paris? It was cold -in the 40’s – with wind. Wind chill? Don’t even want to go there.
Mindset- channel Kate Upton, cover of Sports Illustrated, photographed in Antarctica. Bonus, I have on more clothes than she did and it’s not quite that cold.
Everyone should get photographed in an epic outfit.
Many of you know that I am not a girly-girl. Not a lot of fluff, flowery flowy clothes, minimal makeup, rarely in heels…. But let me tell you how confident I felt as I stepped out of that car in this huge skirt, slipped on my heels (well 2”) and started parading around the place. It’s a confidence that is gained just by sitting in the makeup chair being taken care of and trusting that everyone there is going to make sure you look your best.
Ask for what you need
I fell into what I see all the time with my clients, I took a minute before I asked for what I needed because I “didn’t want to trouble” anyone. But I know, for me, I want my photo sessions to be a true collaboration so the photos will look great. So I asked for a minor adjustment to my hair, for a jacket as we were walking around, for further explanation when I didn’t know how to pose or move (see even as a photographer, I can’t position myself for my best angles).
This is for anyone in any profession. It was such a learning experience working with someone who does what I do, that I recommend everyone do the same.
How I want my clients to feel when they are with me, by being a client myself. I wanted to be heard, to feel like I was being taken care of and that I didn’t have to worry about anything.
Collaboration is important. I decided I didn’t like the garden location we had been planning (once I saw it), so we found somewhere else to go.
How to better explain posing. Now that I have been a client and had to get into poses, I can maybe explain them better. And I understand from a client’s point of view how you might feel unnatural in a pose. As my mentor says, “feels awkward in person, looks sensational in the camera. “ You have to pose, to get a flattering un-posed looking photograph.
That it’s ok to slow down and get the posing and lighting right. I just wanted to look good and I appreciated that Ashleigh was taking the time to find the exact right angle for the backgrounds and checking that the clothing, hair and pose flattered me.
I was so out of my element for most of this experience - having my hair & makeup done professionally (my 1st), being photographed professionally just for me (the last time had to be about 30 years ago), not on my home turf, travelling just for me (even though my family joined me, this was planned around my needs). Some of you – my daughters included – have done things on their own for themselves much more than I have. I’m finally getting the confidence in myself and starting to “sow my wild oats”!
I am so happy I did it. It was fun, playful, hard work, and exhilarating, Overall, it was a wonderful experience, the pampering, the physical transformation and especially the confidence I felt as a woman worthy of spending the time and money on myself.
I have heard that it is addictive. I am going to a photography conference in the fall in Phoenix and I am already contemplating getting more photos made in the desert. And I’m talking with my photog friend in Rome trying to plan a trip there next spring and we will be photographing each other.
Anyone want to come with me and be photographed in front of the Coliseum? In a big ole tulle skirt? Dancing & twirling & spinning?
Part 1 Explored if I am worth it. Just me, not the girls. Not to mention the $$$. You can find it HERE
Part 2 Wait! WEIGHT! Who doesn't consider this when they are about to be photographed? You can find it HERE.
In order to think about what to wear, I needed to figure out how I wanted to be photographed. What do I want to look like? What do I want people to think when they see these photos, especially the branding photos. How will I portray my brand? What is the purpose of the other photos? Where do I want to be photographed?
Things I knew:
Eiffel Tower, on the Tracadero.
Pont Alexandre bridge in a gown and/or branding photos
Balcony – we have to get an apartment with a balcony so I can be photographed standing on the balcony from inside
Café? Could be fun, a lifestyle photo (again branding) of me dining on croissants at an outdoor café, living the life of a carefree entrepreneur, designing my next celebrity photoshoot….
At an outdoor market? Buying freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, because doesn’t everyone in Paris shop daily for their meals… nice idea, but not in my top 3.
Reality: Where will I be changing these well thought out outfits?
Now, I can address:
Whatever will I wear? I don’t have anything to wear.
Oh no, I have to go shopping and spend more money just for a photo shoot?
Shoes! What am I going to do about shoes!
Will I look good? Does this make my arms look flabby? Do I look too short? Too square?
What do I know for sure? I have this gigantic tulle skirt that I know is going to be the centerpiece of my epic photo at the Eiffel Tower but, I had failed to consider what I was going to wear on top. Also, this is going to be an adventure to pack. (It weighs a ton.)
Next, I recruited my daughters and a friend or two to help with the decisions. I tried on what I already had in my closet that I thought would work and as Ashleigh asked, I took a photo for our shared Pinterest board. Well, you all know, it’s kind of a mistake to have someone just snap a photo of you in clothes that you are considering getting photographed in. Or worse, for me, try to take a selfie. When you are not posed and are in bare feet, you really see what you don’t like about yourself. So of course,
I didn’t like anything!
Set off on a shopping trip -10 days before my flight (nothing like a deadline) with a plan. My goal was to find something comfortable, not much of a pattern so I am not overwhelmed by the piece. Something, maybe a jumpsuit, that will make me look long and lean. And a smart, casual dress. I had this fantasy of my being tres chic in a navy dress with small white polka dots. Well I put it out there and the universe took care of me, sort of.
So now I have outfits that I feel good in but there’s still the issue of shoes. For my clients, shoes are not a consideration for in studio shoots. But because we were going to be all over Paris, I had to give them some thought. Shoes have never been my strong area, but since my daughters have graduated from high school, I have accumulated quite a collection, I discovered. And there were quite a few texts going back & forth with my daughter for opinions…
But, as of 3 days before my flight I feel oddly calm.
Again, I am reminded what an act of courage it is for every client who comes in to the studio to be photographed. The courage to be seen, to look at her insecurities and believe she will emerge with self-possession, power and confidence.