One of the most common things I hear is ‘I’m really awkward in front of the camera’. For most people, having your photo taken can be scary. This is totally normal and is also so okay.
During a typical Wedding day I will be photographing my bride and groom for hours. In fact, about 80% of all the photos I present in a final gallery will somehow include the bride, groom or the dynamic duo together along with all of their family, friends + beautiful environments they have chosen.
Portrait Sessions the focus is all on you. No freaking pressure.
Some lucky folks can tune the cameras out but for others it can be a little challenging. It is perfectly okay to get a little overwhelmed with all the attention during your wedding day or session. I’m going to attempt to demystify the process for you and share with you tips that can make you a pro in front of the camera.
1.) Shift the Focus
The most important thing you can do during your session or on your wedding day is to have fun with either your partner or your family. Instead of obsessing if your hair looks okay or if you are in a flattering position, try focusing on making each other laugh. Take those long stares, make those silly faces, jump into each others arms or twirl around until you’re dizzy. Many times I opt to have sessions in places my couples and families have never visited before so that everything feels fresh and exciting. If you are shooting alone try to focus on who you want to show these to. When I am posing I usually try to think of a specific person and a specific mood I want to convey to them. If sounds like a mind trick it’s because, well, it is. And you better believe it works.
2.) Dress + Appearance.
Research shows that the clothing you wear can actually change the way you perform. Just this week I did a session at a Hot Yoga studio in Los Angeles. This is not my world or my realm and it was a little scary. I wore one of my go-to power outfits and everything about my mindset and how I shot the studio changed. I had the confidence to shoot seven women strangers because I felt awesome in the clothes I wore and the little pop of color I wore on my lips. Where things that make you look and feel great. If you don’t have anything that truly makes you feel this way –go shopping. Also, go ahead and put some extra work in your hair and makeup or hire a professional if you’re up for it. The more sure of your self you feel the more you will shine in your photos.
3.) Mindset is Everything.
You certainly don’t need me to tell you to ‘be happy’ on your wedding day or during our session time but I will challenge you to check your headspace since your attitude will influence your photos. While personally I do not believe that the camera adds ten pounds but I do believe that the camera is very good at picking up mood. Perhaps you spilled on the favorite dress you wanted to wear, you just had an irritating interaction or traffic was unusually bad. Whatever it is, let it go. When you release these frustrations and apprehensions the good will seep in and the magic will find it’s way. Keep your mindset positive during your session, it will make all the difference.
4.) Be Authentic.
Nicole Kidman has been my favorite actress for as long as I can remember. As much as I adore her, I can never be her. Same goes for your photos. Nowadays we are bombarded with visual content, it is everywhere. Sure we could try to replicate our favorite celebrities, shoot in similar outfits and strike similar poses. Just like me trying to be Nicole Kidman, we will always fall flat because in trying to be someone else we deny all of the unique things that make us, well, us! One of my favorite quotes is ‘No one is like you, and that is your Power’. It applies. I will note that even with this being said, I do believe in inspiration and mood boards. Boards + Pinterest are a superb way to pinpoint a specific look and feel. The result will always be something unique though, something that celebrates you!
5.) Trust your Photographer.
If you are perusing this from the world wide web I shoot weddings and portrait sessions all over California and the world. I would love to connect and have the opportunity to create some art together. If I am already lucky enough to be part of this journey with you I hope we have established a good rapport and started building some of this key word I want to chat — trust. I am not a photographer just because I have a lot of fancy gear or because it pays my bills or because of the free slices of cake. I take pictures because I am compelled to do so. Compelled to tell stories, compelled to create art. I want you to have the best proof ever that it all existed. It does not serve my artistry to do anything less. I’ve got you. Whether we get to work together or not, you and your photographer are a team. A little bit of trust can go a long, long way.
Leaving you with a few photos of couples who were self-proclaimed very fearful + camera shy. Can you tell?