Photoshoot Experience by Ashelle

Thankfully Marilou is a patient and understanding person because these photographs by the talented Jose have been sitting in her Edit Post section for about a month.  It wasn’t until she posted “J’Adore“, that I felt inspired to finally write my proposed post.  Reading J’Adore, I felt like I was able to relate to everything written. I’m a girl who has never taken compliments well and cannot find positive aspects about myself. These insecurities are common among us, but I find we rarely talk openly to each other about it. 
jacket – H&M, elephant necklace – Forever 21, pearl and chain necklace – Dynamite
Awhile back when the sun melted the snow away and warm spring weather was still battling the cold winds, Marilou asked me if I would do a photoshoot for her.  My first reaction was to laugh it off and politely decline.  For me, getting pictures taken has always been an awkward experience.  The personal insecurities I tightly hold onto prevents me from having the confidence to be in front of a camera.  Lately I have been trying to battle those insecurities and negative thoughts by challenging myself to triggering situations, like a photoshoot.  Instead of saying “no” to Marilou, I accepted her offer with the mentality that there had to be at least a few good shoots.  

necklace & top – Banana Republic, skirt – Forever 21 
Cognitively, I know my insecurities and lack of confidence leads to pictures looking awkward.  A combination of funny faces, fake smiles, hunched posture, hands covering body parts and looking away are common pictures for me.  Poor Jose probably had to shift through a large amount of these to pick out a few good ones.  The thing is, when you are afraid of getting your picture taken, if awkwardness kicks in and the result are not attractive then it just reinforces the camera fear. 

Some people can probably relate to my fear of cameras and awkward pictures as a result.  Even if you are the kind of person who can self-talk and reassure yourself during a photoshoot, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are enjoying the situation.  For me, emotions tend to run stronger than any rational thought. Everyone can probably relate to the hard work it takes battling insecurities with positive self talk or whatever other  techniques out there.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that this personal challenge wasn’t as easy as it might look.

Thankfully I had two wonderful and supportive people with me the day of the photoshoot. Marilou and Jose were incredible.  At no point did I feel ugly or incompetent for having awkward moments.  Both were incredibly kind and genuine with compliments and constructive suggestions on poses. Marilou’s energy radiated and she kept me going through the hours we spent in the sun and in front of the camera. I really appreciated this because usually I’m done with getting pictures taken after 15 seconds.  And dear Jose was so patient with me.  He is such a talented photographer and I knew that if anyone could get good pictures of me, it would be him. As the awkward moments crept in, he would gently refocus my attention to a posture, mood or look. This encouragement really kept me from throwing up my arms declaring hopelessness.

As the photoshoot went on, my confidence in front of the camera started to grow a little bit.  With each new outfit, I started to lift my head up more. When I overheard compliments by people passing by,  I started to accepted them as genuine. And, hopefully, I became a little easier to work with.

The camera confidence that I gained lasted the whole day.  When I got home and with my love’s motorcycle just cleaned, I encouraged him to take photographs of me on the CBR 600.  The only awkward moment then was when I accidentally pushed the motorcycle off the stand and it began to roll down the driveway with me on it. Panic, mini skirts and heavy sports bikes on a downward driveway is not a great combination.  But the breaks were found and the photoshoot continued with my right hand tightly holding onto the breaks the rest of the time.

Overall the experience with Marilou and Jose was a positive one where I was able to battle one of my fears with encouragement and support. My camera fear isn’t 100% better and I still have moments where I dislike every picture taken. But I am able to look back on this experience and know that I was able to beat my fear and awkwardness once, so it can be done again. I can’t wait for us to share the rest of the photographs from this photoshoot. This beautiful and classy outfit was styled by the lovely Marilou but my stylings are to come.

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