I’m not used to being in front of the camera. Wait. Let’s get something straight: I’m not used to it, but I love it. The only little teeny tiny impediment to this love of mine, is the fact that I’m terribly camera-shy. I can’t stay away from photo studios and film sets – I’ve been a photographer’s assistant, shoot stylist, video art director and film set decorator. That buzz, the lights.. I’m mesmerized and as soon as I see a shoot of any kind my eyes go starry and I totally feel like Ashley in this superb Jem and the Holograms episode.

For years I have toyed with the idea of getting some professional shots done. But why? My sister was the model and actress in the family and next to her Amazonian good looks I always felt a little, well, lacking. And there was the obvious fact that I wanted neither a model or actress career. I just wanted good photos and a splash in the limelight. In that context it was hard to think about dropping the cash on a serious shoot when I knew that they would end up lining the bottom of a memorabilia box.

Then along came Social Media and my already extroverted personality exploded.

The idea of being able to engage and build relationships anywhere, while wearing anything is pretty much intoxicating. This goes for blogging, tweeting, playing with Facebook, Pinterest.. and like so many of my friends I struggled with finding the perfect avatar to represent all of my 140 character witticisms.

My corporate avatar is a slouchy and outdated version of me with dark hair that I haven’t bothered to change; and if you’re following my @bumpandhustle handle on Twitter, you know that I hide behind a baby boot. Why? I’m not sure. It just seemed like a fitting graphic when this all got started, and then it became a comfort when I realized how ‘me’ this blog and all of its content truly was. The boot was a bit of a shield. Also, they were really cute boots from Jacadi that Vee loved. I clung to them and everything they represented.

That’s when it happened. People actually started asking me for profile pictures to accompany my writing submissions, and I would often be asked why I don’t have a picture of myself up as my avatar on Twitter. Hmm. Certainly a boot wouldn’t cut it for much longer.

At first I was excited by this obvious opportunity to get photos done. Then I got skittish. I took a zillion awful photos of myself in Photobooth, my smile getting more hollow as the flash went off. I had the telltale ‘looking at myself instead of the camera’ gaze in most of my webcam shots, and would inevitably pinch my nose or suck in my cheeks to finish the look. Because you know. That’s hot. And nothing says professional photo like this:

The classic beauty and timeless appeal of Pinchy Face

Needless to say, none of these photos made it near upload.

That’s when I met the wonderful CL Buchanan of CL Buchanan Photography. Cherie Lynn is one of those people that you meet and you feel like you’ve known your whole life, or  wish you did. Her genuine nature and serious skill behind the camera made a big impression on me, and I found myself booking a shoot. That was it. I locked in the dates with a girlfriend also looking to get new shots done, and held my breath.

Susan Sterling, media darling and bonafide wine expert/whirlwind had been through all of this many time before and I was glad we had booked together. I felt like I would be in good hands with Sue and CL on my team. Now if I could just stop hyperventilating.

Sue generously offered her space for the event. She opened the door oozing confidence and looking gorgeous. Gulp. All I could think was that my armpits were totally sweating out of control and I probably should have worn anything other than the tank top I had on.

I busied myself with bringing in CL’s awesome equipment and photo backdrops, and wasted some time helping her set up. As I said, I’d been a photographer’s assistant before and this role felt easy to slip into. Then I anxiously danced from one foot to the other and.. what the hell had happened to my tongue? Why was it so thick and dry in there? Crap.

Sue went first and I watched her and CL quickly immerse into an amazing and wordless photographer/model relationship.

“A little more..” CL would say, and before she finished her sentence, Sue would automatically tilt her chin a little. Wow. How do they do that? After the first 5 minutes, they were both laughing like sisters. I was amazed.

Then it was my turn.

You know those hypnotist dinner shows where the guy is sitting on stage and the audience is laughing because he has no clue that he was just clucking like a chicken for the last 10 minutes? It was a little like that. Except it was wonderful, and I couldn’t believe that CL had brought me out of my shell to the point where I couldn’t even recognize myself.

The beauty of it is that I’ve been a different person ever since. One who isn’t scared of externalizing, of looking stupid, or of any kind of judgement.

CL, that was one hell of a Shoot.

I’m not even going to write anymore. I’m just going to show you my favourite pics from the shoot.

Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments and then make sure you’re following me on Twitter to see which one I choose to give the boot..the Boot!

Happy Kat - CL Buchanan Photography

One of my favourites.

Multitasking - CL Buchanan Photography

Yes that is a diaper on my head. #represent

Scrunchy Face - CL Buchanan Photography

Pinchy Face is out. Scrunchy face is in.

Pretty - CL Buchanan Photography

Who the hell is that professional?