We hear it time and time again.
“I’m not photogenic.” “I hate having my photo taken.” “I always feel so awkward in front of a camera.”
We get it. We prefer to be behind the lens ourselves, so we understand how awkward it can feel to be photographed. This is why you hire a professional! And hopefully, a professional who you connect with and trust. Because when you are with someone who makes you feel at ease, you can let your guard down and forget that you are even being photographed! In the end, you should walk away wondering what in the world you’d ever worried about.
But besides hiring someone fantastic, we have put together a list of 7 things you can do to feel more comfortable in front of the camera! Use any (or preferably all) of these tips for your next session and you’ll be feeling like a supermodel! (Tyra Banks definitely approves)
1: Give yourself plenty of time on the day of the session to prepare
If you are running late or are rushed to get to your session on time you will be frazzled and stressed. Give yourself plenty of time to relax the day of the session. Lay out your clothes and accessories the evening before and make sure everything is pressed and wrinkle free. Pack a bag with some extra makeup to touch up if needed, extra clothes or shoes (plan for the worst – we’ve seen mishaps happen to outfits during a session and if it happens to you you’ll wish you had a backup outfit!), a couple bottles of water, and a snack bar. (No one does good in front of the camera if they are hangry!) Pack everything into your car the night before so that the day of your session you have everything ready to go. The less you have to do the day of the better.
On the session day, plan to need extra time. Don’t cut it short or run a million errands. Anything that needs to be done for work or dinner can wait. Put the chores off and just take any extra time for yourself.
2: Don’t overthink it
From your outfits, to your posing ideas – don’t put added pressure on yourself or your fiancé/spouse/family to make things perfect. The best photos are images that are natural and relaxed where everyone involved is enjoying the moment. Too much time working up ideas in your head on how things should be or should look will ruin the experience, so be prepared to go with the flow.
3: Do not criticize or critique your fiancé/spouse/family during the session
We always cringe when a bride-to-be tells her fiancé he isn’t smiling right, or when a mom grumbles at her children about their posture. As soon as you point out something is wrong, it amplifies it and confidence goes down while the tension goes up. If you notice your loved one not smiling or posing uncomfortably, do and say little things to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. Say something that makes them laugh or smile. The more you encourage, the more confident and relaxed they will feel and your photos will shine!
4: Have a cocktail to take the edge off
I’m not suggesting you show up for your session intoxicated. And I’m certainly not encouraging you to drink and drive. It doesn’t even have to be an alcoholic beverage, but do something on your way to/before your session that relaxes you. Maybe for you that’s yoga or meditation, or a 3 mile run. That’s great! Whatever it is that gives you good juju – you do you. For myself, a glass of wine can take the edge off. Maybe for your fiancé/spouse it’s a beer. It is amazing what the simple act of enjoying A cocktail can do for your mindset. I emphasize A cocktail because ain’t nothing photogenic about drunkenness. No need to take it too far. A little goes along way on photo session day! 😉
5: Envision someone you love and trust taking your photo
Maybe you have hired a photographer that you don’t know that well. It’s always best to have someone capture your photos that you have a great rapport with, but sometimes you are just meeting the person for the very first time, so letting your guard down doesn’t happen on the first shutter click. So when you are making eye contact with the camera, pretend you are looking at someone you love and trust. Maybe you are having boudoir photos done and are feeling extremely vulnerable and nervous – pretend that no one else is there but you and your spouse. Maybe you are having your senior photos done – and like most senior boys you hate smiling. Pretend your girlfriend or friend is behind the camera. Whoever your safe person is, envision them smiling back at you and supporting you. In turn, your photographer is going to feel like you are engaging well and are comfortable which will make them feel more confident. It is a win-win for everyone!
6: Ladies – leave your hair and makeup to the professionals
The last thing you need is a bad hair day to ruin your confidence. When you are anxious, it is so much more difficult to do your own hair and makeup well. I hear all too often “I would hire someone, but I want to look like myself.” That is why you hire a true professional who understands how to create a look that the camera and you will love! Having your hair and makeup done is a choice you will never regret, and will boost your confidence tremendously. No matter if you are a high school senior or a mom getting family photos – photos are an investment, and making sure you look and feel your best will ensure the best results for your time and money.
7: Be fully present in the moment
Stop worrying about your hair. Quit thinking that your outfit is all wrong. Abstain from contemplating what to do with your hands. (Seriously – everyone is always worried about their hands. As long as you aren’t holding them up awkwardly or doing the robot your hands are just fine.) Engage with your photographer and allow them to guide you. If you are having engagement photos done, enjoy the moment! Interact with your fiancé and be grateful to have this time to celebrate your love! It’s such an exciting time in your life – embrace it! For the guys – connect with your fiancé and be supportive and kind. Please don’t tell her you are hating the experience and how dumb photos are. Put on a smile and for the day just make it about her. She’s going to spend a lifetime trying to make you happy, so just give her this day as a beautiful memory to reflect on while she’s folding your underwear.
Moms – let your kids be themselves. They feed off your energy and if you are doing a slow burn because your youngest is rolling in the dirt it’s only going to make matters worse. Be present in the moment and just love the experience for what it is. You don’t have to be perfect! Years from now it’s the real moments that you’ll miss – not the pretend perfection. Just be you – dirt and all!