Why You Need a Photoshoot

Friday, February 17, 2023

The past three years have been difficult. Between Covid, my compromised immune system, and chemo for leukemia, I've been pretty isolated.  Although I'm not depressed,  I have had many "down'' days. Just about everyone I know is back in action and living normally, but I still can't attend events, go to restaurants, or even meet friends inside without masks. It's a crazy way to live and I can't wait for better days ahead. 

A few months ago, I got the word that my friends Carolyn and Elena, owners of Flyte.70 (an incredible make-up line) had nominated me for the 40 Over 40 Project, recognizing women over 40 who are making a difference... and I won!  I was one of three women who were chosen for a photoshoot, complete with make-up, hair, and an interview.  I was shocked and extremely honored.

I've styled for many photoshoots in the past, and I've even modeled for boutiques and clothing lines, but this one was different. It was meaningful and came from a place of empowerment.  It wasn't just about showing off clothes, it was about ME as a woman.

I have to admit, that my initial reaction was to say "no, thank you".  I haven't taken my mask off around people in three years and I felt anxious and a bit nauseous to think of any potential exposure..even a common cold could be dangerous for me right now.  But the team reassured me that everyone would wear a high-quality mask and test for Covid the morning of the shoot, so I was persuaded.  I needed this uplifting experience for my own mental health!

Meet my dream team:

Humankind Casting, Kristie Raymond

S Studio Portraits, Shruthi is an amazing photographer and the founder of the project.

Brook Kanal, a sister wardrobe stylist who gave me objective opinions and ideas on what to wear.

Leather and Lace Artistry, Bre Welch, who brilliantly did my hair and make-up.

Flyte.70, Carolyn and Elena, who provided the make-up and a lovely gift package of goodies.

These women rock!

During the week before the photoshoot, Brook (wardrobe/far right) and I discussed my clothing selections. I sent her photos and texts, we chatted on the phone, shared lots of laughs, and then decided that there was a special friendship developing. What a bonus!  There would be four looks:  casual and fun, all black, a headshot outfit, and colorful. 

Of course I panicked about my hair since it I was way overdue for a color and my very talented and kind stylist Helen of Salon Metta sees me privately for safety reason.  I called her right away begging for an appointment, so she squeezed me in.  Thank you Helen! By the way, if you ever want to try Salon Metta, code FASHIONISTA will get you $25 off the first service (for first-time clients only). And then there were the nails...mine were embarrassingly unkept. I called Nails by Hana (the best!) to see if she had any last minute appointments.  She got me in too. I love both of these amazing women.

My husband Richard came with me as I hate driving in Boston.  He patiently helped me carry my clothes and bags of shoes (in the rain!) and waited for hours during the photoshoot. He's a keeper.

And before I knew it, I was maskless (gulp), but surrounded by caring women who drove to Boston on a weekend just to make me feel like a million buck. No turning back now. I was a bit nervous, but excited at the same time.  

First up was make-up and hair. Bre is a very well-known make-up artist has worked with many celebrities including Katie Couric, Faye Dunaway, and more. She has also done work for MTV, ABC, and The Discovery Channel! Using mainly Flyte.70 make-up, she made me look glamorous.

Here are some of the products she used:

Glowback Prep, a primer that has a beautiful radiance.

ColorBack Blush in linger (my favorite!)

L & L LipLacquer in Relax and Fast Car

Chiseled Lip Pencil in Sabotage 

Eye Define in Blue Monday (LOVE!) 

Hazy View Dense Eyeshadow in Planet Earth and Landslide (these are amazing!)

ColorBack Burnished Bronze in Vacation for a little color on my sun-deprived skin

I can't say enough good things about Flyte.70's products.  Code FASHIONISTA15 for 15% off.

While I was getting my hair and make-up done, the photographer Shruthi interviewed me, asking questions about my favorite quote, my inspiration, and self-love at 61. Watch the interview on my Youtube channel here

When it was showtime, Shruthi made me feel so at ease and comfortable. Although I'm used to modeling, I haven't done it professionally in a while (besides selfies or having my husband take photos for social media). I was a bit awkward at first, but loosened up in no time!   Two hours went by in a flash, and honestly, I didn't want it to end.

After many hugs, it was time to turn things over to Maureen O'Brien, another 40 Over 40 winner who is a well-known parenting expert. Maureen is also a three-time cancer survivor and one strong force to be reckoned with!

I received my photos from Shruthi a few weeks later and WOW, she is so talented!  I now have updated headshots, as well as fun pics.  When I look at the photos, I see a strong woman who just might be, yes, beautiful (something I haven't felt for a while). 

Silk kaftan from Oceans + Main

Sequin dress from Sara Campbell

Cashmere LOVE sweater from Brodie Cashmere

If you're able to afford it, I highly recommend going for your own photoshoot. The experience is empowering, uplifting, and the perfect medicine for a midlife funk.  Even if you don't need headshots, do it for YOU. You'll see yourself through a different and positive lens (no pun intended) and it's a huge self-esteem booster. It's playtime, fun, and a way to be a  "diva" for a few hours. Who doesn't need that in their life? By the way, a photoshoot is a fabulous gift too. 

I encourage you to treat yourself. 
xx Susan 

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