Overcoming my Fear of the Camera.

The gym I work with has needed to take a new headshot of me for a year. I've tried a couple times by actually showering and putting on makeup (compared to my typical rolling out of bed and putting my hair in a ponytail). Both times I stood there with a stiff smile, clenched jaw and hunched shoulders. It has been so frustrating that I cannot seem to just take the damn picture!! Hopefully the 3rd time will be a charm. :)

If you have read my previous posts you'll understand where this comes from. I have a paralyzing fear of feeling on display. The idea of this picture going on a wall indefinitely for all of the members to see is way too much pressure!!

The only pictures on my websites are some old head shots taken when I wasn't looking or an impromptu shot when I didn't have time to think about it. The only professional shoot I've ever done for my brand was with a group of moms and kids who I could hide behind in most of the photos. 

In order to become a big brand and successful entrepreneur I understand that I can't keep hiding. It's time to suck it up and get a professional picture for my website. I contacted a local photographer who has taken amazing pictures of some of my closest friends. He captured them so beautifully and I wondered if he might be able to do the same for me. To my surprise he emailed back and said we could meet the following morning to chat. AAHH! I kind of hoped he might be too busy, or too good of a photographer to work with me. 

We chatted over coffee discussing why I was there, what I was afraid of and what I hoped to gain from this experience. He showed me some of his incredible work and we brainstormed ideas about what would be a good fit for our shoot, and what was pushing too far or not far enough. 

As we finished I felt so comfortable that told him that I completely trusted him and would let him do what he thought was best. I agreed that it was time for me to push boundaries and get out of my comfort zone. He asked, "how about we start now?" ....WHAT?! ....NOW!?

Um, ok. I just said I trusted him and would push boundaries, so I didn't want to look like a liar. He walked me back into his studio and handed me a 1980's bathing suit and said, "try this on".

You have GOT to be kidding me! 

I reluctantly put it on. He grabbed his camera and walked me outside in broad daylight with joggers and other passersby. I was so nervous the muscles in my cheeks were twitching and my lips were trembling. He kept reminding me to breathe and relax. After 10-15 minutes we went inside, he uploaded the pics, and asked me which ones I liked. Ugh! The embarrassment continued!

But, to my surprise they weren't nearly as bad as I thought. He's good!! How in the hell did he make it look like I wasn't about to pass out? Impressive. I knew that it couldn't get any worse than that so I was excited to see what we could do when I was actually prepared.

We scheduled our photo shoot for a the following week and he told me to go shop at American Apparel to to get some fun, playful clothes. Hmm, I don't even like shopping for "normal" clothes. Not sure what "fun" clothes looked like. So, I bought about half the store and brought a bag of clothes and shoes from my own closet.

He picked a few interesting combos for me to wear and we drove around Austin stopping at several spots. He coached me and reassured me every step of the way. I was very uncomfortable, but felt so cared for. It was an incredible experience, and feels awesome to have faced this fear head on.

I am so grateful to Todd for taking me under his wing and making me feel safe enough to get this raw and vulnerable. I started out just needing a picture for my website, and ended up with a new friend and a new confidence. I can't thank him enough.

Visit Facebook if you'd like to see the rest of the pictures.