Photo Credit: Rocco Ceselin

Being in front of the camera

I’ve been an entrepreneur long enough, and spoken to other self-starters, to say with certainty that there is some aspect of your business that unsettles you. Nobody is great at everything—it’s why we hire the best talent we can find, understanding what value they bring to the team.

In this case, what I can’t do is take a great picture of myself.

Yes, what unsettles me is having my picture taken. In fact, I loathe it. I prefer working behind the camera, as a creative director and occasional photographer; I can be difficult in front of the lens, bringing a meticulous, even obsessive-compulsive attitude knowing how many elements of a shot need to go just right. The same energy I put into producing for clients.

But earlier this year, when Cimaglia Productions announced our West Coast expansion and significant directional shift, I realized it would be an excellent opportunity to update my corporate headshot—something I hadn’t done in a few years. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but that didn’t matter. This was the best time to hit refresh on our corporate image.

I decided to arrange the shoot in Los Angeles, in between client and company meetings. It was convenient and logical—but also made me look forward to it even less. Ultimately, we landed on Rocco Ceselin to shoot and help art direct. Rocco brought a fantastic team, all fresh off television, movies or high-profile print campaigns. They were our kind of people. Rocco’s experience shooting behind-the-scenes talent—producers, writers, directors—assured me he knew how to work with people who aren’t used to stepping in front of the lens. He was professional, intelligent and indulged my questions and comments about his process.

So how did I feel? Unsettled at first, of course, because I wasn’t comfortable the entire time. But, as with most issues for an entrepreneur, letting go and trusting someone else is one of the most important steps you take. Communication is crucial in a creative team, especially when it comes to an understanding a common goal.

In this case, I had to acknowledge and express my discomfort, while Rocco had to talk me down into a reassured state of mind. I laid out our goals, including how we wanted the audience to feel when looking at the photos and where these would be displayed. For us, it was essential to take the time to make sure everyone understood our company and vision—not just for this project, but in the grand outlook, too. This company has been a part of who I am for more than 15 years, and I felt we needed to convey the importance of the project.

When you have that kind of communication line open, things get more comfortable on their own. The photoshoot went seamlessly. And now, as I see the images getting published, printed and promoted on social media, I don’t feel anxious.

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