Updated: Aug 15
One of the reasons I center my photography business around women is because I am passionate about helping them shine. My cup is truly full when I can help a woman build her brand or help her memorialize a moment in time with her loves ones. We as women have so much to offer and each of us in unique in our own special way. Since I started my own business, most days I LOVE my job and look forward to the time I get to spend learning about the women I am photographing. However, one thing that makes me sad (and yet motivated at the same time) is when I work with a client who tells me moments before I click the shutter that they HATE having their photo taken. Mind you, these are beautiful and very accomplished women, but there is just something about standing in front of the camera that fills them with dread or anxiety. And in some instances, this dread leads to some women making unkind comments about themselves; their wardrobe, their weight, their face, everything. It breaks my heart a little and then it's my time to spring into action.
When I know a client isn't feeling confident about herself, I put the camera down and we take a break. We both take a moment and then I remind her that she is a bad-ass woman. Then we revisit some ways she can carry herself or pose to bring out the confidence that I know is in there somewhere. I also try to remind her that beauty is not flawless; it shines through your flaws.
In addition to in-session coaching I give clients, I'd like to provide everyone with a Confidence Kit for Photo Shoots to be used prior to your shoot date especially if you are:
Someone who doesn't like being photographed and has to have a mandatory headshot or family photo taken
Someone who generally likes taking photos but may get anxious once the photo shoot is in session
Confidence Kit for Photo Shoots
Here are some sure-fire ways to feel more relaxed in front of the camera and own your unique beauty:
Be honest with your photographer. I offer pre-shoot styling calls for all packages and this is a great time to learn more about each other, discuss wardrobe, location, special requests or concerns about being in front of the camera. Take advantage of this time so that when the shoot day arrives you are comfortable knowing we have already covered everything.
Choose the right location. The photo shoot setting should make you feel totally at ease and convey your personality or business brand. If the thought of having others watch you as you are photographed fills you with fear, then consider a more private setting like a studio, home or office. For an outdoor or public setting, consider choosing non-busy times to have the shoot. And if you don't know where to have your shoot, ask your photographer for ideas. That is our job to have a variety of suggestions at the ready!
Boost your mindset. One way to set a positive tone for the day is to treat yourself before the time of the shoot. This could be going for a walk first thing in the morning, doing some yoga, grabbing a Starbucks, getting your hair styled, getting your make-up professional done or listening to a kick-ass playlist to pump yourself up. If all else fails, just focus on what the photos are for. Focus on the end result. Whether that is putting a face to the name of your brand helping you make better connections for your business or a photo that is a gift for your mother that you know she will cherish.
Use a prop. Stay with me here. If you are nervous about being the center of attention, add something else into the photograph that not only helps tell a story but that can also draw a viewer's eye away from only your face. For headshots, coffee mugs, laptops, books, notepads and pens and sitting behind a desk are just a few examples of what can be incorporated. For lifestyle photos, the list is endless, but here are a few; holding flowers, sitting on chairs, sitting or laying on blankets, holding signs, balloons or including a pet in a shoot.
Request non-traditional posing. Did you know that many photos do not include the subject looking directly at the camera? This includes headshots! Some of the greatest shots I have taken are those where the subjects are looking at each other or looking away from the camera. Sometimes not having to think about keeping your eyes wide open and maintaining the perfect smile is the perfect recipe for a fantastic shot.
Human touch. If you are having photos taken with a friend, significant other or family member, hold their hand! You can also ask them to put their arm around you. Never underestimate the power of human touch when it comes to reducing stress.
Move it, sister! A common misconception about photography is that once you strike a pose you have to freeze. It is ok to move! Shifting your body during/between poses is a great way to create authenticity. Moving also helps release nervous energy.
Bring a friend to your shoot. Extra support, extra fun and you can go somewhere after and celebrate the fact that you made it through the shoot!
Breathe. Slow and deep belly breaths before, during and after the shoot will help calm your nerves and heart rate.
Look at photos as an opportunity. After all, you could be stuck at the office instead or stuck at home cleaning the bathroom! Think about this as time away for yourself, quality time with your family or time to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.
In the wise words of Brene' Brown, "talk to yourself like someone you love." The anticipation of a photo shoot can be nerve-racking and having a camera in your face can be intimidating. Even I have been there. But remember to trust your photographer, trust yourself and trust that you are beautiful just the way you are. Shine on, Girl!