Today I’ve something a little different to share! It’s a guest post by my recent client, Kathy Peterman. Kathy is a blogger and built a program, My Best Year. Talking with her during her personal branding photo session about My Best Year was enlightening and I can’t wait to see where she is next year with her clients!
It had been three years since I set out as a blogger. And, while things had evolved quite nicely into where they are now, it was time for some Soul Branding. The new branding led me to need new photos…and I knew just who I wanted!
I had seen my friend, Melissa’s photos, on her Facebook page and they totally wowed me! So I set out to work with Britney Gardner, who had done Melissa’s amazing photography. Britney offers a wonderful package that includes a wardrobe consult, hair and makeup, time in the studio and some on location shots as well. For a while, I toyed with getting the simpler package of headshots, but in my heart, I really wanted the bigger package! So, I took a deep breath and followed my heart.
One of my fears was that my wardrobe might scare Elizabeth Cramer, the image stylist, away. You see, I am a minimalist who has done three rounds of Project 333, where I had only 33 items total of clothing, shoes, and accessories to use as my sole wardrobe for three months. My goal was to use as much of my pre-existing wardrobe and to make only a few new purchases for the shoot. I sent Elizabeth a copy of my Project 333 blog post to give her a heads up. She arrived prepared and didn’t say anything like “Oh my God, how do you do this?” or “Where are your clothes?” Instead, she jumped right in and had me try on outfits while she took photos of them on my phone. This actually ended up giving me new ideas for ways to combine things, which was a huge bonus for me. She also left me with two key items I could get, but only if I wanted to. She thought I had plenty of good looks in my current wardrobe! That was another pleasant surprise.
The day of the shoot, I took a shower, washed my hair, and gathering up my clothing and accessory items to head to Britney’s studio. You need to go sans makeup and without product in your hair. I was both excited and a little worried “what if my shots don’t come out as good as Melissa’s? Maybe she is just photogenic and I am not”…etc. You get the drift.
But, those niggly doubts didn’t last long as I was greeted at the door by Britney, who showed me where to hang my clothes as she put on a pot of tea. Then I met Jessica, the hair, and makeup stylist. We hit it off easily as we talked about Airbnb, nutrition, and common interests. I asked her to give me a natural look with eyes and lips accentuated for the camera. She had me look in the mirror once she was done and was eager to make any adjustments needed to make me happy.
The whole process is really about pampering. And on one hand I am not comfortable with a lot of pampering, because it’s not something I do often, but, on the other hand, it sure felt good! Jessica even stuck around during the studio shoot to help adjust my hair in a few shots and to put on one last layer of lipstick prior to us leaving for the on location photos. I selected outdoors by brick buildings and my own home as locations to help communicate my blogs lifestyle theme. It made me feel comfortable to be in my own home and my minimalism touches communicate my brand.
Britney was awesome at giving me clear directions. She sent me a small guide prior to our appointment telling me how to prepare. During the shoot she would say, “this is going to sound weird, but just try it” and sure enough, leaning forward, tilting my head a bit, and following her advice worked! She made me feel at ease which took all those remaining niggly thoughts and made them quickly fade away. We actually were too busy talking and laughing for me to be self-conscious during the shoot.
When it came time to wrap up the shoot, I felt cared for, complete and very happy to say I had such a fun day! I did not expect that. I also felt like I let Britney into my world and she returned the favor by sharing a bit about herself.
I was surprised when I went to view photos that we didn’t sit at a computer desk and look at them online. Instead, Britney had a nice large screen up and did a fast paced viewing of the favorite 90 photos put to music. This allowed her to get my initial reaction and for me to see them. Then she had her iPad that allowed us to score each photo and determine my favorite photos. She even could pull up three photos that were similar side by side to help me easily pick my favorite of the three.
Later, upon talking more with Britney, I learned why she offers the package as she does, it is to encourage women to feel great about themselves and have that shine through on the photoshoot! Britney herself attended the wedding of a photographer. Other photographers attended and came up with the idea of going in together to have someone do their makeup and hair. It made Britney feel so special and confident, that she knew then it was what she wanted her clients to experience. I recall at my daughter’s wedding, three years ago, I wanted to have my hair and makeup done, but I was far too busy setting up the tables and bouquets to get that opportunity. So my photo shoot with Britney ended up being my own unique time to shine! It also made me proud of the impact that intentionally owning less has had in life, and to really own my minimalism.