As a little girl, I remember my aunt and I designing our own doll clothes. Back in the day, (ok, I’m dating myself), my aunt would show me her paper cut-out wardrobe and let me style her dolls. I’ve always had an affinity for style and creating my own look.
Fast forward to my grown-up years and my sense of style became, shall I say…stale.
At the time, I didn’t realize how being a busy career woman started to erode my creative sense of style. Maybe it was not wanting to stand out too much or feeling that being too feminine would not get me into the boys club but surely my sense of style became relegated to comfort and convenience.
The realization smacked me in the face when I decided to invest in my first photo shoot. It was only a year after starting my business. I had been working round the clock “grinding” as an entrepreneur and all I did at the time was work, workout and sleep. Thus my daily wardrobe was sweats and jeans.
Before the big day, I asked the photographer what I needed to bring. She simply said, “bring a few of your best outfits and your smile.”
That sounds simple enough right. I was shocked when I arrived and she looked through my wardrobe only for her to say, “Everything you have is black, where is the color?”
She was right. Of course I could have used the excuse, “I’m a marketer and most marketers wear black.” Maybe it was because I was lazy. Worse than that was the fact that I had let my personality and sense of style fade to black for fear of standing out too much. I had lost a part of who I was.
The shoot went…ok. I wore my black and smiled for about an hour. Honestly, I was very uncomfortable with all eyes on me and I felt like I was wearing a uniform verses wearing something that expressed me. I hadn’t even taken the time to discover who I was in that moment.
A key part of your authentic brand is your style. Your style makes a statement without you saying a word. I realized it was time for me to put in practice personal branding 101 for me.
Here are three lessons I learned from my first photo shoot that may help you reconnect with your own personality and style.
- Rediscover your unique personality – I define my authentic brand as warm, colorful, vivid, effortless style, personable, fun, full of life and movement. Yet at the time, that was not a match with my personality and style. Sometimes, we have to separate ourselves from the work we are doing to get reunited with our true personality. Identify three words that best describe you and use those words to incorporate color, style and personality in wardrobe.
- Shine your beauty from the inside out – I was uncomfortable with the attention because I wasn’t confident enough to stand in my own truth. I probably felt I wasn’t worthy of the attention. Know that your powerful presence is enough. Own your power and shine. Reflect on all you have overcome and all you have achieved.
- Celebrate the moment – I was so focused on doing the right or wrong thing in the photo shoot that I missed the opportunity to have fun! Laugh, dance, joke or just tap into your alter-ego…no matter what, own the moment. It should have felt like a vacation instead it felt like work. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Today, I must do at least 30 photo shoots a year with different clients who are going through this same transformation. We do a before and after and you can see a big difference. You can discover your own style and have fun with it no matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, student or executive!
I know you see lots of photos but I thought it would be fun to show a little behind-the-scenes clip from a more recent photo shoot. As you can see, this shoot was so much fun. First of all, I was able to do it with my hubby and I had an amazing crew. More importantly, as you can see, I totally am loving the skin that I’m in.
If you have never done your own photo shoot or if the last one you did was several years ago, I challenge you to take advantage of the moment and book your own. Tell your visual story and savor the opportunity to create memories and make your mark. I can’t wait for you to share your stories and your photos with me!