How a Photo Shoot Changed My Life

Ok – a bit melodramatic, I know.  But I believe this.  Truly I do.

It all started with doing scary things.

I was having a midlife retrospective (sorry- I don’t do crises).  I was connecting with old friends on Facebook.  That’s where I ran into Mike, a friend from high school.  He is an amazing photographer now.  I decided to do a photo shoot with him because I thought I would be helping him out.  Little did I know how much that shoot would help me.

I believe that God has made every woman beautiful in some way.  And in my mind, I had some beautiful qualities, but didn’t really see myself as beautiful.  Sure, I am fun, and a bit crazy, and really great if you get to know me, but I never saw myself as pretty.  Until the photo shoot with Mike.

The whole experience was incredibly fun.  I mean, what woman wouldn’t want a guy looking at her- really LOOKING- and complimenting her for a couple of hours.  I would’ve paid the sitting fee for that alone!  And yes, I understand that part of his job is to make his model look and feel beautiful.  (A job that he is quite good at, BTW.)  But to experience that… 

Then, came the pictures.  I got my link to the pictures, and there were over 500 of them.  I hadn’t had pictures done since I was a senior in high school.  It took me a week to get through them.  But, you could tell the exact moment when I calmed down and started to believe what he was saying.  Because the pictures started getting really good.   

First photo shoot.

From the first photo shoot.

And I started to see myself differently. 

See, I think we all have an idea of what we look like, based on old pictures of ourselves and how we think our personalities shape what we look like.  But that doesn’t always match the reality of things.  And seeing these pictures made me face what other people saw when they looked at me.  And it wasn’t as good or as bad as I originally thought. 

But, looking at those pictures, I realized that I wanted my outsides to match how I felt.  That maybe it wasn’t too crazy to want to look better.  I was mentioning that to a friend at church- when another friend overheard me saying this.  And he invited me to come to his kettlebell studio to work out with him.  This is where the scary things kicked in again.  My first inclination was to say no.  But my scary things pledge- to do the things I would normally say no to- kicked in.  So I said ok.

I went to work out with Paul.  I was lame, to say the least.  Just the warmup kicked my butt.  I could barely lift ten pounds.  And I couldn’t believe the stuff he wanted me to do.  But it was fun.  And challenging.  And I wanted to go back.  So I did.  And I have been going back ever since.  I have not ever been so dedicated to an exercise program.

After the first few sessions, I agreed to sign up for a year of training.  Dumb, I know.  Because if this was like most of my previous attempts at an exercise program, it would be six weeks, tops, before I would get bored and quit.  And I started noticing that I was eating better.  Because I didn’t want to ruin all that hard work with bad eating.  So I decided I should take some measurements, just to see if this was having any effect. 

After a few weeks, I started to lose some weight.  And I wanted to look better, so this was a good thing.  Then I started to feel better.  More energy, less hungry.  And I started to think about losing the last 40 or 50 pounds that I needed to lose.  And I started to see that it might not be an impossible pipe dream.

But I know myself well enough to know that I needed something to stay motivated.  And 40 pounds is a lot.  So I decided to break it down to 10, 10, 10, 10 instead.  And to reward myself after every ten pounds.  But with what?  Food?  No- food is fuel, not a reward.  A trip?  Too big for 10 pounds.  New clothes?  I will need them anyway.  So what makes me feel like a million dollars and will give me the motivation to not eat another slice of pizza or to work out when I am still sore ?  Ummmm… Mike. 

So, every ten pounds, I get another photo shoot.  I talked to him about it, and he is excited to do it!  So, the middle of December, I went in for my first -10 shoot.  I was less nervous, because I had a better idea of what to expect.  And I was ready with some new clothes – so I felt great about that.  And these pictures turned out amazing!

-10 Photo shoot

Favorite -10 picture

These are just two of the shots from that photo shoot.  And the way they turned out has motivated me to want to keep going.

So, since that day in September when I went to Mike’s studio, I have made a few changes.  I have begun to reinvent myself.  I compare it to a phoenix.  I was on the edge of crashing and burning.  But now, I am changing into the vision I had of myself.  I am becoming

I don’t know how to finish that sentence right now.  Stronger?  Skinnier?  More alive?  More confident?  Yes, all of those things.  And more. 

So, my next -10 photo shoot is around the corner.  On Tuesday if the snow doesn’t keep me away. 

And I can’t wait to see what’s next in this journey!

Photos are used by permission.  Please go see Mike’s other work at  Or friend him on Facebook.  Or call him and get some photos done.  Just let him know that Amy sent you!


About Amy

I love my life! I am married, have 3 kids, and own and manage a business. I enjoy quilting and scrapbooking with my best friend when I am not taking care of the husband, kids, and business.
This entry was posted in Generally awesome things, Scary Things. Bookmark the permalink.

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