Their camera is aimed at me.

Be it a total stranger, a family member or a portrait photograher, the same thing happens for me.  I feel awkward and outside of my skin.  I feel like I need to pose.  So I stay as still as I can and wait for it to be over.


But when my camera is aimed at myself it is different.

I set it down and while I push the timer button or get ready to press my remote, I take a second to do a little silly dance to shake out the nerves. I adjust my clothing and then move in a way that feels like me.  I press the button and settle into the experience.  I may close my eyes and move or look right into the camera.

I am in my own body, not outside of myself.

I am in control, not out of control.

I am the narrator, not just the subject.

I am embodied, at home and enjoying the experience.

And the photo shows it.


So does the one that someone else has taken.  I can see my stress, thoughts of ‘What are they going to do with this photo’ and I didn’t take a moment at all to check in with my body and I can see it in my body language. Sound familiar?

I know this isn’t just my own experience.  Except I think it is easy to think that because it is so vulnerable to be in front of someone else’s camera, that aiming our own camera at ourselves would be even more scary. 

The more I’ve been using self-portraiture as tool for healing, the more I find that I can remember to take a second while they are getting ready to take the photo to just notice my feet on the ground and take a deep breath.   Often that is enough to change the experience of being photographed and put me at ease again.

The difference between the two does feel like it is about power. 

That somehow when someone else is holding the camera we hand our power over to them.

Yet that is the same reason why taking the camera into our own hands and taking a photo can be so empowering.  It is a reclamation of personal power.

I see it so often in Be Your Own Beloved when the participants get to that one activity which for them flips that switch and they realize they are indeed in control of how they see themselves. I can see that embodiment and reclamation of personal power start to appear in their photos.  They stand taller, they get braver and I start to see more of them appear in their photos, without apology.

Now, I do want to share that most portrait photographers I know…you can absolutely see in their photos that they put the client at ease, that they are deeply aware of this power and create a space where the client feels deeply safe.

I guess the thing I want to really share is that we can also create that experience for ourselves too. We can create that sacred space with our own camera too.

I want this for you, for me, for all of us.

Let’s transform the experience of being photographed from a place of fear or discomfort to a place of playfulness and openness, starting by doing this for ourselves!

We’re going to be exploring this in How to Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot starts soon, October 6th!  The next session of Be Your Own Beloved starts November 1st!  If you have any questions about which class would be the best fit for you, don’t hesitate to use the contact form and connect with me!




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One of my favourite photo tools these days is indeed my iPhone and I was THRILLED to see that with the new phone the iPhone 6 coming out today there was going to be a self-timer added to the camera. While I’d love to get it someday, I still have a lot of time on my plan for this iPhone 5 I was extra excited to find out yesterday that the timer was a part of the new upgrade in the operating system too.

So of course I had to do it right away.

As a self-portrait teacher & taker, a timer is pivotal. Especially in the way I like to take selfies which is to put down the camera and step into the frame. I’ve been singing the praises of the Gorillacam App for years now and still will probably use the App more than this timer but I’m so thrilled to now have both.

For those of you who use Google or Windows phones…you’re lucky ’cause you’ve had a timer on your phone since the beginning. More than that, these phones also seem to have a burst mode (which the iPhone upgrade is lacking and why I will still mostly be using the Gorillacam App still). If you see a burst mode option, try it!  What that means is that it can take a whole bunch of photos one after another. This is so wonderful when you are stepping into the frame as you don’t need to run back and forth pressing the shutter each time!

So let’s talk about the iPhone!  While these new features are pretty simple to use, I thought I’d share this here because, well….Apple doesn’t give you too much instruction on where new things are.  While that’s okay because it is pretty intuitive to use, I found that many folks didn’t know the features I mentioned in the 10 Ways to take Better iPhone Photos post so I thought I might share a bit about this cool new way to use our iPhones for selfies.

You’ll find the timer at the top of the screen when you enter your camera (the basic camera on the phone, not through an App) right beside the Flash, HDR and where you turn the camera from front facing to back facing. They have 2 options for us, a 3 second timer and a 10 second timer.  Even with Gorillacam I love using a 10 second timer.  It’s just enough time to get into the frame!


In terms of the timer itself, one feature I really like which isn’t the case when using an App is that the flash on the back of your camera flashes to count down. Of course this is different if you are using the front facing camera, but in that case you’ll be able to see numbers pop up on the screen to count down!  Good on ya Apple for doing that!

As I’ve been using my phone for selfies, I’ve really come to realize that the camera on the back of the phone is much higher quality than the front facing one (where you can see yourself on the screen). So I almost always use that lens for taking selfies even though I can’t see myself on the screen. Being able to see yourself on the screen is great, and I recommend starting off using the timer that way but maybe flipping it around if you really love what you are getting so you can get some higher quality ones too (especially if you are noticing some graininess).

One place this upgrade is lacking though is with a burst mode. I mean, why add a timer without the ability to take more than one photo at once? It seems like that is indeed coming with the iPhone 6. I’m sure it was something they could have added to this upgrade but instead have it something you need to get the new phone for. Alas…that just means I’ll be getting more use out of the Gorillcam App as you can get it to take how ever many photos you’d like (up to 60 photos).

There are also a couple more new features on this ios8 upgrade that affect our cameras and I’m excited about them both.  One is that there is now a favourite button at the bottom of the screen when you are looking at each individual photo. I can’t tell you how many times I scroll and scroll for ages to find one certain photo.  So this will be such a great way to have one folder of the images we are most likely to want to refer to. The favourites end up in a favourite folder that you’ll see when you click on your camera roll.

The other feature is the deleted photos folder! It’s gonna be a lifesaver. Even today after I took the photos for this post I accidentally pressed the delete button when trying to send myself these photos and was mighty grateful to be able to go back and retrieve them!


I’ve been excited for the timer to become a new feature not just for my own use. I think a lot about selfies and both their history and their future (I can’t help it…I’m obsessed with the ways that selfies can be a tool to see ourselves with kindness). I have a big hope that people will experiment with the timer more and selfie culture will shift a bit more away from arms length and get us into the frame more. I truly believe that is where so much more of our healing of how we see ourselves can happen. I know the selfie trends have been in reflection of the developments in our gear (like when the front facing camera came and selfies took off because of it) so we’ll just have to wait and see what effect this has!

One more thing…if you do try using your timer today, I also wanted to share this post from the archives with you as it is one of my favourite self-compassion tools that makes using the timer even more fun!  I dare you to give it a try and if you do, use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag to share it with us!


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  • I’m so saving this posting for when I get my first iphone…the New iphone 6!! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • ooooh…that is SO exciting! You’ll have even more features than I shared here! I’m super excited for you!ReplyCancel

  • But iPhone has a burst mode, since iOS 7, actually. Just press and hold photo button and you have burst mode. :-)ReplyCancel

    • Oh, nevermind. I’ve read your post one more time and I think that you meant a burst mode with self timer. What can I say, I’m blond. :-)ReplyCancel

      • No worries!
        Yes indeed…it does have a burst mode when we are taking photos in general but not with our timer. But it sounds like it will be added soon!ReplyCancel


After launching the brand new class How To Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot yesterday I wanted to share a bit about how and why this came about!

As you know, taking selfies is practice for me that has helped me see myself with kindness and been a tool for body-image healing.

Alongside that, I’m also running a business, right? I need images to use for my classes and while I get a plethora of them participating in Be Your Own Beloved each time as well as going on my weekly photo walks, it felt exciting and inspiring to set a little time out every once in a while to do a Selfie Photo Shoot!

I love getting to help people have photos for their blog or business launches, so why not offer that to myself too, giving myself the experience that I offer my portrait clients.  And it is much more simple than you might think.

As I’ve been teaching Be Your Own Beloved, I’ve been thinking about these photo shoots and how they are really a gift we can give ourselves.  Because while getting a portrait session done is truly a gift we can give ourselves, it doesn’t ONLY happen when we pass the camera over to someone else.

We can do this for ourselves too.

I wanted to share one of these selfie photo shoots with you!  This one happened last summer and I had been asked by the awesome Susan Tuttle to contribute some images to her new book as well as taking some photos for some upcoming projects.

So I went on an adventure to make it happen.  I headed out to a small yet quiet path along a creek about a 20 minute bike ride from my house (yes indeed, this is meant to be fun so why not take the bike)!

I brought my tripod, DSLR as well as my iPhone.

I set it up the tripod and started getting playful in front of the camera using some of the activities I’ll be sharing with you in this class.










And then came home having so many photos that I could use for Susan’s book as well as my upcoming courses (like for the Beloved Beginnings class I launched soon after that).

I even ended up using one for an online dating profile!  I’m pretty private about that part of my life at this point but I did want to step out of my comfort zone and share that in case that is something that you’d really love to have portraits for. I know I used not having photos as a reason not to do this for a while even though of course I have TONS of photos of myself.  But I had concluded that I needed to have photos taken by someone else.  Yup, I do that too…use ‘not having photos of myself’ as a reason not to say YES to parts of this beautiful life.

You don’t even need a reason (like a launch or an article) to do these photo shoots! You’ll simply have these photos ready for the next time you need a great photo of yourself and you can say YES without hesitation!

I hope this gave you a glimpse into the fun we’re going to have in the How to Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot class too…I can’t wait to get started and when you sign up I’ll be sending you an activity to get you started before class begins!

Come join in on the Selfie Photo Shoot fun!

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  • V- this is so great! I love that you share the evolution of this kind of shoot. I always feel like such a ninny in front of the camera doing selfies; they’re so vulnerable. But seeing that you get goofy and play around with sass and fun just makes me so much more excited to do them. It’s awesome to not feel alone in the journey of seeing ourselves, thank you for championing this for all of us :)ReplyCancel


Get a portrait session done. So many of us have this on our to-do lists.

For most of us, it is likely followed by a whole bunch of conditions. I’ll be ready to get those portraits when I … (get a haircut, lose weight, get a new wardrobe, figure out my brand or business, get a bigger blogging audience, feel better about my body).

Then we put it off for someday and it doesn’t happen, right?

Yet having photos of ourselves helps us shine in our blog or business! It lets people feel connected to us when we share online and the photos themselves help us feel more confident and shine in the world.

As a portrait photographer, I love helping people radiate in their work and lives through taking their photos. You might recognize these portraits I’ve taken from the websites of some of your favourite bloggers/teachers!


Yet as a teacher of self-portrait workshops that focus on seeing yourself with kindness through your own lens, I want to tell you a secret: You can make an incredible portrait happen for yourself too.  

The powerful thing about taking self-portraits is that we realize that we are in control of our self-image, that we can choose a story of love & compassion. We realize that by being our own photographer, we know better than any one else how to take photos of ourselves that we love. I know that might feel impossible, but I’ll be your guide in this journey!


Now, if you are already thinking that you’ll need to make a lot of time to do these activities, listen up! The class is designed for you to participate in the entire class with whichever tool you feel most confident taking selfies with and I very much encourage you to use that iPhone or Smartphone of yours.  If you are a daily DSLR user, this class is for you too!

Because here’s what I know.  It isn’t about the tools we use as much as it is getting out of your own way and letting yourself shine through these photos!

During the class, you’ll just need a bit of time each day to join in on the simple guided activity for that day. Probably the same amount of time you might normally use to take selfies throughout your day.

These activities will not only get you comfortable in front of the camera but will also help you playfully get your head shots and promo images. In the final week of class, after we’ve gotten oh so inspired and comfortable in front of the lens, we’ll go out on one selfie photo shoot and use the tricks we’ve learned to get even more photos for your blog or business!

If you playfully participate in the class you’ll find yourself with:

  • A headshot (or lots of them) that makes you feel absolutely radiant.
  • A full body photo that doesn’t feel stiff and posed but that feels like YOU
  • Images galore to use for blog posts and product launches that tell the story of you!
  • A new relationship with how you see yourself in photos

Here are some examples of the types of photos you’ll learn to take in this class.  All of these are self-portraits that I have used in my business, in collaborations or for promotional images!



Class starts October 6th and registration is open! So grab your spot over here!

Don’t hesitate to send me an email if you have any questions come up (or doubts…if you’re thinking ‘I can’t take photos like that’ please don’t hesitate to connect and I’ll share with you why I believe you can)!

Find out more about How to Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot!

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I am oh so excited that this fall I’m going to be teaching in-person here in Vancouver over at the gorgeous Luminous Elephant Studio run by my friend Madelyn Mulvaney.

The studio is in the heart of the Point Grey Neighbourhood and is such a beautiful space to gather in!  In the Learn to Use Your Camera Class I’ll help you understand your camera by encouraging you to leap into creative activities and engage your right brain energy all while learning about the left brain technical side of photography!

This class is designed for beginners who love taking photos and would love to learn how to get the most out of your camera.

For 10 weeks we’ll gather each Thursday evening over tea.  We’ll be connecting with one another and building community and of course, learning about our camera!  We’ll explore things like light, how to take dreamy photos, aperture, shutter speed, shooting manually and OF COURSE…taking Self-Portraits too!

If you have any questions about the class, don’t hesitate to click the Contact form and ask.

Find out more here or jump in and grab your spot by registering at the Luminous Elephant Site!

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