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Behind the Lens: A Chief Creative Officer's Portrait Photoshoot Experience.

I sat down with my good friend Tuesday over zoom a couple weeks after her photoshoot to talk about her whole experience of getting her portraits done.

Overall there were a lot of similarities to the experience many of my clients have shared around feeling comfortable getting their photos taken and having a shift in perspective around the personal impact of having photos that reflect the real you.

Katarina: What was your reason for coming to me for photographs?

Tuesday: You are a great photographer and I've been wanting you to do portraits of me for a really long time. The portraits you've done of other people are amazing and I trusted you with the emotional journey that taking a portrait entails.

It's not my true nature to want to take portraits, even though I love taking pictures. It's just when the camera is really solely on you and you really want the picture to look great and it's supposed to represent you, it's really uncomfortable for me. It's like trying to be an actress and I'm not an actress.

Having seen you do so many great photo shoots over the years, I knew you would understand that emotional hesitancy on my part and work through it with me. You wouldn't judge it, you wouldn't say "just get over it," or "don't worry about it," or "you'll be great," none of that. I had a feeling that you would nurture the shoot and nurture my hesitancy to even do it or to feel comfortable doing it and you did. You were really nurturing through the whole thing.

K: Did you have any expectation of how it would go?

T: Most portraits you just show up, you take portraits. But because I know your background and how you really bring out sides of a person's personality through clothes and props and stuff, I knew it would be a little bit more elaborate and would be a lot more personal than just showing up and getting a portrait. It was more than I expected in terms of how much time you put in, how many questions you asked, the fact that we really talked about props.

K: Did anything happen in the shoot that surpassed or surprised you?

T: I think overall what surpassed my expectations was how quickly we started and how quickly I just dropped the fear of doing it. I thought I was going to be nervous longer.

K: Many people Express feeling challenged in getting their photos taken, was there anything in my style that helped you overcome any challenges you might have had in getting your picture taken?

T: I liked the questionnaire because it got me thinking about what I really wanted the portraits to exude. What parts of my personality did I really want to have shine and it made me take the shoot more seriously and think about what I really wanted out of it, not just a smiling picture, but how I wanted to express my world, how I wanted to express myself and have the world see me. So the questionnaire was really good and it was surprising for me I didn't know we were going to do a questionnaire and that was really helpful.

K: Did you have any concerns about the photo shoot and did we address them?

T: I did not have any concerns with the photo shoot. At one point I was concerned that the some of the props I brought didn't work, but the good news is it didn't matter because it was not about the prop. It was about getting comfortable and just having fun and if a prop worked great, but if not some of the best pictures we got in the end were prop-less.

K: It's a little like having multiple options for clothes and you don't use all of them. You just stick with the ones that are vibing and feeling right.

T: It was really helpful that we actually went through the clothes in advance.

K: Would you recommend this work to other friends or colleagues?

T: I would absolutely recommend you to colleagues and friends. I would also suggest they do it and change up their profile picture because it's really exhilarating to have a fresh picture out there. People are looking at LinkedIn. They're looking at Facebook. There's just a lot of people looking at you.

I've had pictures up for like 15 years--they don't even represent me anymore. So not only would I recommend you, but I would urge people to do this more often because A it's really fun and B it's just it's really nice to see yourself come alive. I was really excited to post the new pictures. I'm really excited to use them. I don't know why I waited so long to do this. I could have used--everybody can use better bio pictures for business, for work, for pleasure, for friends, for Facebook, for LinkedIn...

We make it seem like it's a once in a decade event to take a portrait and that it's such a special event. I think it was special to do, but it shouldn't be so precious and special. I should do this a year from now, two years from now. Change it up. Now I'm not afraid and I can see the benefit. You need pictures for so many different things that I can have lots of different pictures. I would definitely urge people to A change their biopic and B do it more often.

K: How would you describe the experience if someone asked you about it?

T: Liberating. I really was a little afraid to do it and to then see the result and realize that you captured pieces of me that I know we're in there and that we kind of brought out together.

It's really fun to look at the pictures and go, "I love that one," or "I love that one," There are so many great pictures that I don't want to really choose just one. I have several in there that I want to use and there's so many different aspects of me that came out.

Just the whole experience for me was liberating and really rewarding. I really love my pictures. I've never loved my bio pictures before. I didn't take time to do them. They were done through work. They didn't really feel like me. I just went with them because A we had just done them at the company and B it felt like too much work to do a photo shoot. I didn't feel like using like an iPhone picture so I just used biopics that just didn't really feel like me.

Even in all the new business pitches, I just didn't care. I thought, well whatever. And now I'm bummed that I missed the opportunity to have a picture that really feels like me be out there all of those times. So that's liberating and really fun and just really rewarding now to like the pictures.

K: What are the top three benefits of working with me?

T: Nurturing. And by nurturing I mean you listened, you asked questions, you were understanding, you brought great ideas to the table-- all those nurturing qualities to make sure that the experience was comfortable, but that the results would be great. That's number one.

A great "blanking" photo-- many great photos-- that I absolutely love and and it's even hard to choose from. That's a benefit.

And the third benefit is, I think I broke through a wall that I had of being kind of shy in that aspect of having my picture taken. I think I broke through that wall and I'm like okay let's sign me up for another one!

The benefit of working with you is you got me out of my shell and we tried lots of things and some worked, some didn't and it didn't matter.

K: What made this photo shoot different from others you've experienced in the past?

T: It was personalized. I really felt that it was about me. The ones I had in the past was just, a person showed up. They were taking a lot of people's photographs, which is not bad in itself, but there was no getting to know me. There was no questionnaire in the beginning. It was just lighting, background, smile.

I think the difference of that and this is that you asked, "What do you want?" "How do you want to be perceived?" That told me what to wear and the different outfits to try and the kind of personality I wanted to bring forth. So I think the difference between you and just the other portrait shots I've had in the past was that these were really about me so I could have a portrait out in the world that really reflected me.

The results are you will, no matter what, get a super, original photograph. There's no way that this would have happened if I had just shown up somewhere and had somebody snap some pictures of me. It just wouldn't have happened. So now I have really original, one-of-a-kind photographs that are truly me. I love them. I really can't wait to use them more.

Why did I wait so long? Everybody should get a photo once a year. We're not stale human beings. We're fresh. We're always evolving. So why don't we evolve our picture regularly? I can't believe I was never satisfied with my past pictures and I just can't believe I had not dealt with it, but I accepted it. That is so unlike me. You should love your picture period. And I just can't believe I didn't for so long out of whatever inconvenience--I don't have time, I don't really love taking pictures--the reasons were all valid, but just ridiculous now that I see how fun it was. How easy it was.


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