Live A Life That Delights You: Photoshoot 101 – Just Be Your Best Self

Yep. This is actually a selfie, and I'm pretty sure it's my new headshot. Here are my tips on how to ace a photoshoot, when you're not a photoshoot veteran.

Yep. This is actually a selfie, and I’m pretty sure it’s my new headshot. Here are my tips on how to ace a photoshoot, when you’re not a photoshoot veteran.

I have a friend who is being photographed tomorrow for a big honor she is receiving. I am so proud of her! But, she’s nervous. Really nervous. See, she’s not used to being the center of attention or pampering herself, or heck, being photographed, really. So, she reached out to me for some advice. “Where should she get her hair done? What about makeup?” While I was happy to offer all those recommendations and more, I was even more happy to offer my top tips when it comes to being photographed.

Let your vision be known.

Let your vision be known.

1) Let your vision be known. Take along  your favorite pictures of you at your best, where your hair and makeup was on point. Don’t have one? Look on Pinterest for celebrity inspiration, or even use Facebook pictures, when you’ve seen your friends looking their best. Take them to your hairstylist, makeup artist, and even the photographer, so you can accurately express your vision. By being clear about your vision, you’ll have a little more control in the photoshoot than if you don’t have one.
Practice makes perfect.

Practice makes perfect.

2) Practice makes perfect. People – even my agent – always say that my selfie game is strong. While it’s not something I really aspired to be good at, I realize that it’s become a mastered skill set for me. Here’s how I mastered it. Take a slew of selfies on the days leading up to the shoot. Try photographing yourself from different angles, in different lighting and in different outfits. Learn your best side, the best angle, the best lighting, and the best colors that work for you.  By the time you get into the studio, you’ll know yourself – and feel comfortable in expressing – what best works for you. As for me? My right side is best. So I either turn my face ever so slightly to the left (so the right side is front and center) or have the photographer shoot me from the right.
Be the best version of yourself.

Be the best version of yourself.

3) Be the best version of yourself. More than anything, what you really want to capture in a photo is the best, most comfortable, most beautiful version of yourself. This is not the time to try to be someone else. So, don’t experiment with hair, makeup or clothes that are different than what you usually do. Just find a way to polish what is already shining inside of you, so it shines vibrantly on the outside. You are being photographed because they want to capture what is uniquely YOU. So, be sure to let your true self shine through, so the world can see it.
Pamper yourself.

Pamper yourself.

4) Pamper yourself. On the big day of the photoshoot, be not only gentle with yourself, but pamper yourself. Feed both your body and your soul. Eat a well-balanced breakfast, with a mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. If hair and/or makeup isn’t provided, treat yourself to either one or both. Take music along that will help you feel confident during the shoot. Do whatever you need to do to help you feel your best and most beautiful. Still feeling nervous? Have a small glass of champagne or white wine to calm the nerves, or enjoy a cup of chamomile tea.
No time for negative self-talk.

No time for negative self-talk.

5) No time for negative self talk. The day of the shoot, make it a point to refrain from criticizing yourself. If that vicious guy known as Insecurity starts to rear his ugly head, replace the negative thought with a positive one. An example? I’ve always struggled with body issues, so if an insecurity comes in, where I think “Ugh. I am chubbier than I’d like to be right now,” I replace it with, “Look at that glowing skin! I’m so grateful that my inner light shines through!” Do not allow ANY negative self talk the day of the shoot. This is a day to feel your most confident, even if you have to fake it. Insecurity and self-doubt have no place at the table when it comes to a photo session.
Just be you, because nobody does it better, my friend.

Just be you, because nobody does it better, my friend.

Wishing you luck, my friend. You know who you are.
xoxo, Dawn
Dawn Do? Drink double the water you usually drink in the days prior to the shoot. Also, years ago, I heard that corn really makes skin glow. So, I recommend having a big bowl of steamed corn the night before a shoot, to get that skin glowing.



*Hair in all photos above ℅ Lorien Meillon of Olive & Livinia at Ken Paves Salon in Los Angeles.

The #Dear15Me Challenge

How did you feel at 15-years-old? And what do you wish you could tell yourself at 15 if you could go back now?

#Dear15Me : Helping teens tackle their teenage years with the confidence, grace, wisdom and ease we wish we’d had.

That’s what #Dear15Me is all about. Dawn McCoy (host, creator of BeautyFrosting, and lifestyle and life empowerment expert) has created a movement where we can share our stories and struggles of when we were 15-years-old – and share our hindsight vision – to encourage teens to love and accept themselves, just as they are right now at this very moment.  *Helping teens tackle their teenage years with the confidence, grace, wisdom and ease we wish we’d had.*

So many of us say, “If I had known then, what I know now….”, so why don’t we tell teens while they’re still in it? Our goal is to start a viral movement that helps ease what can be a tough time in a teen’s life. Post a picture of yourself at 15 and your #Dear15Me message, and let teens know how you felt at 15, and what you would say to yourself if you had the chance now. Because you do. You have a chance now to help them get through this challenging time, with confidence, grace and ease. No picture of you at 15? No problem. Just post a pic of you now, holding the sign “Dear 15 Me…”and write your story and what you wish you could tell 15-year-old you in the caption.

Seeing the struggles that we went through then, how we got through them, and what we know now that we wish we had known then will inspire them to live their best lives now.


From Dawn:

Listen. Being a teen was hard. I remember it so clearly: the insecurities, the doubts, the fickleness, the fear, the fights with friends, the crushes, trying to please your parents, trying to impress your teachers, all of it. HARD.

But, today’s teens have it even harder. They have all of that above, plus the added pressure of social media. If there had been social media when I was in high school, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have graduated, and I think my parents would agree with me on that.

I realized just how tough it is for teens these days on a recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas. There, I talked to the mom of a 15-year-old daughter who told me about the pain she has to see her daughter go through daily when she compares herself to others on social media. Remember that party you didn’t get invited to in 9th grade? Well, imagine having to see pictures of it on Instagram the next day. Remember the guy you had a crush on who asked out your best friend? Imagine having to see pictures of them hand-in-hand on Facebook. SUPER HARD.

That next night, I drove to my Dad’s house in Hot Springs, Arkansas and saw a picture of me at 15 years old, hanging on his wall. I saw this gorgeous girl and was shocked, because that was not the girl that I remembered. The girl I remembered was chubby, with braces and filled with nervousness and insecurity. She was scared of being too much – and not enough – all at the same time.

I ended up writing a post about it, and was overwhelmed by the comments, Facebook messages, texts and emails that I received in response. My feelings of wishing I could go back and speak to 15-year-old-me really had struck a chord. Hundreds of women wrote to me, expressing that they too look back and wish they could tell their 15-year-old selves that they were perfect as is, and that everything was going to be okay. Sometimes, that’s all we need to hear: “You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay.”

So, I’ve decided to do something about it, and start a movement. It’s called the “Dear 15 Me Challenge,” or #Dear15Me for you hashtaggers out there. #Dear15Me is a movement where we can share our stories and struggles of when we were 15-years-old – and share our hindsight vision – to encourage teens to love and accept themselves, just as they are right now at this very moment.  Helping teens tackle their teenage years with the confidence, grace, wisdom and ease we wish we’d had. Here are the details. I really hope you’ll be a part of it, and that we can help make the journey a little smoother for teens out there today.

#Dear15Me : To inspire teens and women and men, at every age, I encourage you to share what you would say to yourself at 15, having the hindsight, wisdom and experience that you do now. I urge you to 1) post a picture of yourself at 15, with a caption saying: “Dear 15 Me…” and follow it with 2) what  you were feeling at that age, and most importantly, 3) what you wish you could tell yourself at 15. It’s that easy.

No picture readily available of you at 15? No problem. Any pic of you as a teen will do, or just post a pic of you now, holding the sign “Dear 15 Me…” and write your story and what you wish you could tell 15-year-old you in the caption.

While there’s no time machine to take us back to 15 to correct our thinking then, we hope our past experiences and heartfelt words will help inspire – and make the road a little easier – for teens today. Tag 5 of your friends and ask them to do the same. Together, we can make a difference in the confidence of today’s teens. And be sure to tag @Dear15Me and @BeautyFrosting so we can share your experiences with our social media channels.

“I wish you could see what you look like to me. Don’t you know you’re made of stars? You can do anything – dance, laugh and sing. You’re carried by love. All that you see will come to be. So, what will you do, beautiful you?” (Dawn McCoy)



I’M LOVING…Just Be Your F’ing Self by Studio Mucci

I don’t curse a lot. But as with all things in life, I believe in moderation.
That’s why I’m proud to feature this pretty profanity of a shirt – even with a big ole curse word on it.

Shut my mouth! I don't curse a lot…but I'll curse for a cause.

My friend, Amina, of Studio Mucci (one of my favorite online shops on the planet) sent me this “Just Be Your F’ing Self” pink tee, along with a sweet pink card detailing the struggles she’s had in life with insecurity and body acceptance. She decided to design this shirt to celebrate this place of acceptance where she now lives.

#JBYFS by Studio Mucci

It really struck a chord with me because I, too, – as well as so many of you – have had those same struggles. In fact, I’ve found that the blogs you guys seem to respond to the most are the blogs where I talk about those struggles. I hope it’s because you can learn a little from my regrets and lessons learned from these posts and apply them to your own lives. The whole reason I do this is so we can all feel just the tiniest bit happier.

Laugh a little. With others. With yourself. At yourself. #JBYFS

I wish more than anything that I could go back in time and shake myself by the shoulders and tell myself the following things. But I can’t; so I find healing and peace in sharing them with you.

You’re enough. Just as you are. In this moment.

Don’t walk in anyone else’s shadow – you’ll only be left in the dark.

Enjoy the way you look now – it’s the only time you’ll look exactly like that.

Appreciate the beauty of the moment. 

Don’t just accept the things that make you different. Celebrate them.

Less fearful. MORE fearless.

I spent so much time in fear and not enough time in the fun and frivolity of the moment. I wish I had been less fearful and MORE fearless.
So now I try to live like that every day.
I live like I wish that kid had lived and I consider it my personal charge to help others not make the same mistake.
That’s why I love this shirt.

I hope you’ll be part of the #JBYFS movement, as well. Right now, you can buy one of these beauties for just $25. Wear it proudly and tag your pic with the #JBYFS hashtag. Let’s spread the self-love movement.
It’s the best reason to curse that you’ve ever had.



BF Asks: What struggles have you had? How did you overcome them?



BF QOD: Finally know who you are

BF QOD: Finally know who you are

“Do the things you used to talk about doing but never did. Know when to let go and when to hold on tight. Stop rushing. Don’t be intimidated to say it like it is. Stop apologizing all the time. Learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph. Spend time with the friends who lift you up, and cut loose the ones who bring you down. Stop giving your power away. Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting. Be old enough to appreciate your freedom, and young enough to enjoy it. Finally know who you are.”

(Kristin Armstrong)