When I set out to explore the wild blue yonder, I knew it involved breaking out of comfort zones. I’m not a stay-in-one-place-and-don’t-venture-outside-the-lines kinda girl, so I was up for it. For a content and social media pro, that involved stepping out from behind the scenes and behind the camera. Yikes! I’m much more interested in telling stories about and creating social spaces for others, so building a personal brand hasn’t been a priority since I started working in this new marketing frontier 10+ years ago. But I had to practice what I preach, and I was determined to enjoy the process.

To help bring my story to life, I turned to my talented friend, photographer Jason Guy. I’m going to embarrass him now, but this dude is whip smart. If everyone had his drive to learn and master, the entire education system would be obsolete. He’s also thoughtful and funny and a great cook. (Remind me to tell you the story of that time he made escargot from garden snails.)

I had a couple of requirements for Jason: I don’t want any cliché posed shots. That’s for real estate agents and personal injury lawyers.

Demonstrating the cliché "girl riding a bicycle in high heels" pose.

Demonstrating the cliché “girl riding a bicycle in high heels” pose.

And because I’ve signed the Heroes Pledge for Agencies, no photoshopping the ins and outs and ups and downs of my face or body to make me look younger or thinner or anything I’m not. But I did give him license to be creative and play some tricks—with lighting and cropping, and especially with the magic he creates by compositing a series of photographs. In other words, if we meet in real life I won’t have the advantage of great lighting and dramatic special affects. That’s the disclaimer.

Michelle Bushneff - BIGthinkster

The final “girl riding a bicycle in high heels” image that’s anything but cliché.

The result of our collaboration is the “headshot” in bio boxes around the site (goofy outtake below) and the epic composite (above) that Jason created to complement My Story. For more about his process (which involved twirling barefoot in the middle of the street) check out this behind the scenes blog.

Michelle Bushneff - BIGthinkster