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  • Writer's pictureGigi

First Step Toward My Goal

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

A couple weeks ago I hit a milestone in my journey - I finally got to do my first photoshoot with an actual photographer from a popular networking site for photographers, models, and stylists! People might think that doing a photo shoot is easy. How hard could it be, right?

A picture of me, a young woman, sitting on a park bench sideways, with my legs resting over the arm rest. My hand is in my long red hair while I rest my head on it.

My experience was a huge eye-opener, to say the least! First of all, having to scour the profiles of dozens of photographers that you want to work with is one thing, but then you actually need to coordinate your availability, figure out a location, and brainstorm concepts.

A picture of me, a young woman, laying on a wooden deck with rust-colored shipping crates in the background. I am wearing my long, red hair down and wearing a light blue denim jacket with a yellow smiley face patch on one arm while I lay front-side down. I am resting my head in my hand and propping myself up on an elbow.

On top of that, there were many mental hurdles that I needed to overcome. My photographer for this shoot, Victor, was a great person to work with. I am grateful he was so kind and accommodating. I disclosed my physical challenges to him before we even met, which I believe may have helped mentally prepare him for our shoot. In addition, I learned that his daytime job was in the medical field, which I believe accounted for how intuitive, patient, and helpful he was during our entire session.

I, a young woman, with long dyed-red hair, am wearing a black leather jacket and black torn denim pants. I am hunched over and resting both hands on a rainbow-painted boulder while smiling.

When I arrived on location, I was so nervous! I didn't know what to expect! I had heard about Imposter Syndrome before, but I truly felt like I was experiencing it at full force during this shoot. Sure, I was honest about being a newbie, but boy did that self-doubt come through! I suddenly felt self-conscious and incapable.

I, a young woman, with black torn denim and iridescent combat boots and a light blue denim jacket with a yellow smiley face patch. I am sitting on a rustic wood deck with one leg propped up and resting my head in my hand. There are rust-colored shipping crates in the background

I was nervous to admit my limitations. I needed a hand climbing over and balancing on the railroad tracks, and worried if I was inconveniencing my team (Victor, my job coach, and my BFF Tiny) when I asked for help, or if it took me a few extra minutes to do something as simple as getting down to ground level. I worried if my poses were strong enough. Was I doing the same old thing over and over? What do I do with my face? Do I look awkward when I don't smile? When I received good feedback for something I had done, was it genuine or was my team simply humoring me?

I, a young woman, wearing black torn denim pants, iridescent combat boots and a light blue denim jacket with various patches sewn on it, am standing with my body facing away from the camera toward rust-colored shipping crates in the background, but my face turns and looks toward the camera. I have a neutral expression.

I realized that a lot of these nagging thoughts and self-doubt stem from the challenges I dealt with growing up. When the world is set up for typically-abled people, it is easy to feel exposed. I'm no stranger to dreaming big, but when these thoughts come flooding in and I start comparing myself to others who I perceive as more worthy or able, I tend to lose my momentum. Was I over my head here using popular models online as inspiration and comparing myself to them? It can feel debilitating to have a self-defeatist attitude!

I, a young woman with long dyed red hair, am leaning backward and sitting on a low, wooden fence with my thumbs resting in my belt loops. I am wearing a black leather jacket, white shirt, black torn jeans, and iridescent combat boots. The wind is blowing some hair in front of my face

As the photo shoot progressed and I realized how truly supportive my team was, I finally relaxed and felt more comfortable. They weren't there to pick me apart; they were there to help create the best photos possible. They didn't expect me to "jump into the sky and hug the moon"; they just wanted me to relax and do my best. I became more comfortable, stopped overthinking, and even gave some input and suggestions.

I, a young woman, am leaning onto a rust-colored shipping crate and resting my head lightly on it while smiling softly towards the camera. I have long dyed red hair, a black leather jacket, torn black demin pants, and iridescent combat boots.

I felt like it was the "moment of truth" when Victor showed me the photos from the shoot. I have moments of confidence knowing I take pretty decent photos for social media. I've even told that I look better in photos than in real life (Thank you? I think? lol). But involving an actual photographer is a whole other situation! I was so pleased that my team and I got some great photos from this session!

I, a young woman, am standing behind a wooden post that has blue disability-access signs on it. I am smiling towards the camera and wearing a black leather jacket, torn black demin pants, and have long hair that is dyed red.

This experience not only helped me to understand my limits; it also gave me some insight into my potential! I learned that even if those nagging thoughts creep in from time to time, it's no reason to give up altogether. I'm a firm believer that striving for your goals is always worth it, because even if things turn out differently than you expect, at the very least you will get a valuable learning experience out of it.

I, a young woman, am sitting sideways on some rustic wooden steps and smiling at the camera with one leg slightly propped up. I have red-dyed hair, a black leather jacket, torn black denim pants, and iridescent combat boots. There are green trees and a rust-colored shipping crate in the background

No matter how big or small my goal is, I will try to make it a point to always do my best and keep moving in the right direction. It's important to keep pushing forward because you don't know what you can achieve unless you give it a try.

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