I hate having my photo taken. There. I’ve said it. But Mira (you say), you pose people ALL THE TIME. You prompt genuine emotion! What do you mean you don’t know what to do once you’re on the other side of the camera?
In my sessions, I am constantly adjusting the people I’m photographing. You may not even notice — I may change the angle I’m shooting from, and I may suggest a slight change in how you’re standing. Or, I may just keep chatting (when I was a kid, my mother would say I never stopped talking, and that serves me well in this line of work!) and you don’t even notice that I’m waiting to snag that split second perfect moment.
When I’m in front of the camera instead of behind it, it turns out I can’t do ANY of that. I have to just trust the person behind the camera to do all those things that I’m usually doing in parallel, all the things that my years of experience have my hands and eyes and brain doing without even thinking consciously about it a lot of the time.
I often hear from clients, and prospective clients that they hate being in front of the camera, that they “aren’t photogenic” or have always hated having their picture taken. I’m here to say: I FEEL YOU! I totally understand because that is my experience as well.
I recently had a fun opportunity with some colleagues to photograph each other. It was outdoors, we kept our distance because of the pandemic, and you know what? We ALL felt super awkward in front of the camera. Several members of the group were worried about “covid hair” or “covid weight” — some of us (::cough:: me ::cough::) popped into the frame for the absolute minimum amount of time allowed and then hopped back out again we felt SO awkward. Within this group, there were decades of photography experience, but we all still felt super awkward when we had to step out of our comfort zone behind the camera and into the spotlight. For many of us, we don’t get in front of the camera very often and it was a fantastic reminder of how many of our clients feel when they step in front of our cameras.
What I want you to know is that I think you are beautiful. Before your next session:
- Think about why you’re doing it (it always helps to have a good reason behind pushing yourself out of your comfort zone). In my case, my headshots and branding images were several years old (pretty embarrassingly old for a photographer, but we all know the cobbler’s children have no shoes…). I really wanted images I could be proud to share.
- Ask your best friend what they like best about you. Is it your sense of humor? The twinkle in your eye when you laugh? I *guarantee* you that your best friend thinks you are gorgeous. I know mine are — each in their own way.
- Pick an outfit you feel amazing in. It doesn’t have to be your fanciest, but clothes that are comfortable AND you feel you look like a million dollars in will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. All my sessions include a complimentary styling session with an expert stylist I partner with if you want some help figuring this part out.
- Treat yourself — you can either do this before your session to get in your best mood or after as a reward for getting through it. Maybe it’s a special meal or sweet treat, maybe it’s something else (um, I totally treated myself to some new fancy yarn to knit after my headshots because that’s self-care for me). Need some extra endorphins? Go for a run or have a dance party in your kitchen. Do what YOU need to do to feel good. It will come through on camera.