Recently, I had a photo shoot for my book with the lovely and talented Noelle Johnson. I loved and hated it at the same time. I LOVED buying hundreds of flowers at the farmers market. I loved picking out what to wear. I loved feeling kinda glamorous (surprised myself with that one!) because being in front of a camera isn’t something I normally do.

But, I also hated/felt absolutely ridiculous POSING IN FRONT OF A CAMERA.  It was decadent and exciting but also unnerving, awkward and a little hilarious too. I just tried to have fun and laugh at myself.

Still, I would say everybody should do this at least once in their lifetime. Give yourself a photo shoot with a professional photographer (they know what they are doing!) focused on capturing your essence.

During the shoot, I realized a few things… 

1) Despite my discomfort at being alone in front of a camera, I am finally comfortable with what I look like. It might have taken 38 years, but I have accepted myself and can even find beauty in imperfections. Before any formal photos in the past, I have brushed and straightened my hair and tried to put makeup on. Things I really don’t ever do most days (okay maybe never). By the way, this is what happens when I try to use makeup. (Skylar found this hilarious and took a pic to capture the moment!)

Apparently, this crap (I don’t even know what you call it–concealer, cover up?) comes out really fast. I put this on and realized I looked like a total stranger.  It’s just not me. So I wiped it off right away. I had to scrub really hard, and my face was red and irritated just in time to have photos taken–oops. Then, my daughter told me I could have used her makeup remover wipes. They make those? Damn, wish she had told me before I scrubbed a few layers of skin off my face.

This failed makeup experiment led to one of my best photo shoot decisions… I didn’t want to brush my hair or straighten it. I just wanted to be me.

Finally “me” is good enough–my unkempt hair, blue veins peeking through my skin (when did that happen?) and newly emerging sun spots (when did that happen?). Whatever. Hello, world. This is me. This is how I roll. And, I’m okay with that. I’m not sure if this is new confidence that comes with age or that I just don’t care any more. I think it is a combination of both.

Why this sudden burst of confidence/throw-care-to-the-wind now rather than before when I was younger, thinner, tanner, less wrinkly etc., etc.? Because my messy hair, laugh lines, and lack of makeup is part of my personality. And, I kinda want that recorded because…

2) Everybody deserves a photo of just themselves that captures who they are to pass on to their grandkids.  One of my greatest treasures is this picture of my grandmother below. I never tire of it. I love the mystery of who she was at age 17 in this pic and the subtle details that reveal her personality.

 If you haven’t had a professional photo shoot with just some images of you being your true wild wonderful self, I say do it! You won’t regret it. It might be awkward and uncomfortable but it is also fun and brings out some humorous moments too.

Celebrate who you are and what makes you unique. Pepper it with clues about your divine personality (whether it is your clothing, jewelry, accessories, hair, surroundings, etc.). Capture your light. Your kids and grandkids will thank you.