We’ve all been there. Your anxiety is maxed out and through the roof before you even step foot in front of the camera. Whether it is your senior photos, family session, engagement or even your wedding day photos, you’ve probably dreaded that moment your photographer lifts up their lens, sticks it in your face, and starts clicking. Listen, I get it. Most people don’t feel naturally comfortable in front of the camera. The second that lens comes up we feel self conscious, not to mention we don’t know what to do with our hands, am I right?! So how can we fix that?
I want to ease your nerves and help prepare you, so that when you go into your next photoshoot, you go in confident and ready to have FUN! All it takes is a little knowledge and preparation. Here’s 5 tips to make your next session (no matter what it is) even better! You with me? Awesome.
Tip 1 - OUTFITS
Always, always, ALWAYS plan out your outfits in advance. Your outfit choices are really important. They not only determine the look and feel of the shoot, but also need to be flattering and comfortable for you to wear. I recommend putting them on a few days prior to the shoot and seeing how you feel in them. Walk around your house for a few minutes – Can you move easily? Get the mirror out, do you like what you see? The last thing you want to be doing to is constantly adjusting a too-tight dress or itchy sweater. Secondly, COLORS ARE IMPORTANT TOO! Solids and neutral colors are always a good rule of thumb, but don’t be afraid to play with color or patterns! For colors, make sure they are complimenting whatever your partner is wearing. And if one person opts for a pattern, make sure the other one keeps it simple. If you still are struggling with what to wear, get your photographers opinion. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR. I love it when clients want me to ‘dress them’. I actually am notorious for having FaceTime calls with clients when they are shopping for their session outfits – no shame. I want you to look your best and feel confident at the same time.
Tip 2 - FOCUS ON YOU & YOUR PARTNER
That’s right, I’m fully giving you permission to ignore your photographer. Easier said than done right? Here’s the thing, the less you focus on the fact that someone is photographing you, and the more you think about how much you love the person you’re looking at, the better your photos will be – promise! Doing this will naturally loosen you up and make you more relaxed… which is why I also focus every one of my sessions on movement. I always want you moving in some sort of fashion. It allows for the ‘posed-stiffness’ to disappear and gives your session a more natural, genuine, feeling. Think of how you are when you both are on a date. I’m guessing not stressed right? Do this and not only will your photos be more real and less posed, but you’ll have more fun cause you’ve basically just turned your session into a cuddle fest.
Tip 3 - GET PAMPERED
Take this one with a grain of salt. I’m not telling you to doll yourself up to look like Barbie if that’s not your style. What I am saying, is that no matter what your personal vibe may be, a little bit of thought into your hair and makeup will go a long way in photos. Plus, who doesn’t love to be pampered?! I personally always make a hair and makeup appointment if I have a session scheduled for myself- even if it is a more casual one – hair and makeup is not my specialty. AT ALL. I leave it to the professionals (; Not only does it take the stress off of me getting ready, but I love to be spoiled and it gives me so much more confidence during the session itself. Makeup smooths out your skin and enhances your natural features, while your hairstyle is a great way to express your style creatively. Here’s an idea: Make a fun day out of getting your hair and makeup professionally done before your next shoot, and show up feeling like a rockstar. You won’t regret it.
Tip 4 - CHOOSE A PHOTOG YOU TRUST
This is a big one and in my opinion, the most important tip. In order to get those natural candid photos, you need to trust the one giving you direction. And trust the number 1 rule: If it feels awkward, you’re doing it right. The difference between a good photo verses an amazing photo often has nothing to do with you as the subject, and has everything to do with how your photographer deals with light and posing. So choose a photographer whose work and direction you trust wholeheartedly to capture your love story in the best way possible.
Tip 5 - TIMING
Timing is everything for your session. As a natural light photographer, I plan my sessions around the lighting of the day. I usually begin them an hour and a half prior to sunset, which will allow for an outfit change and a location change while shooting during the golden hour. Being on time ensures that we do not cut into your session time, so showing up on time and ready will help yield great results and the best images. Once the sun goes down, there isn’t much we can do, so staying on track with timing and lighting is the best way to ensure gorgeous images. This also means that at times we may have to reschedule due to weather. You only get to do this once, so ensuring the environment is perfect will give you beautifully lit images!
There you have it friends! I hope these tips help ease your anxiety about being in front of the camera. With some preparation and wise choices, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to overcome that camera shyness. Now next time you have a photoshoot, you’ll be confident to go out and rock it, Tyra Banks style!