With each new book that releases, I get to have new headshots taken. I think new headshots are fun. WAY FUN.

Here is my favorite–

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It looks like me, but a really-fancy-done-up version of me.

As these collection of pictures make their way around the internet and magazines and et cetera over the next few months, it’s important to me that you know what it takes to get this kind of picture.

I stand on a lot of stages in front of a lot of girls who hear over and over again about pictures getting photoshopped and such, but there’s so much that goes on before the picture even gets snapped- and we compare ourselves to this finished pictures.

So I want to show you what this day looked like from start to finish- so that we all (myself included) remember that it takes a village to create these kind of beautiful pieces.

And it was a really really fun day and I’m so happy with the final result.

. . . . .

I’m so honored that Micah Kandros would take this gig photographing me. If you’ve read Perfectly Unique, you know my story and my issues, so it’s important to me on days like this to have someone on the other side of the camera that is a good friend and who loves me no matter what.

And then I bring in a makeup and hair person that does all the magic before Micah even gets started with his magic skillz.

So here’s the first pic of the day- the way I show up when I wake up (with a spray tan and waxed eyebrows that were taken care of the previous day by the wonderful Tanastacia). And behind me is Kelley Kirker, hair and makeup extraordinaire. (No kidding, Nashville, when you need hair and makeup, this is your gal.) Look at all her tools. It takes a village, people.

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And here’s a clean face Annie ready to get rolling. And scared face Kelley knowing the work she has ahead.

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Then the girl got to work and MADE IT HAPPEN. There was shading and contouring and all sorts of movements that I did not know makeup could do. I was like, “whoaaaa, Kel. Whoa.” Because she’s good, y’all.

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My outfits- clothes, shoes, and jewelry- are all, obviously, from Amber Lehman. She knows me, she dresses me, she makes me happy in outfits I wouldn’t have seen for myself.

And then Micah demonstrated how he wanted me to sit. Because that’s funny.

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So I sat there. And did what he told me to- turning my head like this, crossing my legs like that, crossing my arms just so. Many times it felt super awkward and like I would look ridiculous, but Micah knew exactly what he was doing and knew exactly how to manipulate my posing for the best result possible.

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Crazy, huh? That look on my face is like, “wait, you want me to do what?” And maybe a little, “this is weird to me.”

I love love love these pictures. We even did a few outside. (It was hot outside, btw, in early October. And even Intern Sarah got to assist on the shoot.)

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So I sat on my friend’s driveway wall (is that a thing?) and had to do a weird lean forward and head turn for Micah….

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but it turned out like this and I was all, “whoaaaaa… you’re a magician.”

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And I own none of these clothes, by the way, except the belt and the flowery pants. The rest were borrowed. That jean jacket, honestly, did NOTHING for my body except in this one singular shot. So away it went.

Here’s what.

We see pictures of movie stars and athletes and authors and anyone else who gets to spend money on hiring a professional village to create this kind of photo. I hired five professionals. FIVE PEOPLE spending an entire day to get, in the end, about six pictures that we will use.

I’m grateful for their talent and skills and the way the pictures turned out. But hopefully this is a good reminder to you, as it is to me, that professional photographs are the hard work of a lot of people.

Big thanks to Tanastacia, Amber, Kelley, Sarah, and Micah. <3