Being YOU In Front of the Camera
Welcome Monday, you sure are dramatic! Nothing like a crazy lightening storm to kick off the work week!
Today I'm sharing my thoughts on posing in front of the camera. Over the weekend I had two amazing engagement sessions with two amazing couples. For both couples, it was more or less the first time they had ever been professionally photographed. They needed direction and guidance and most of all REASSURANCE that they were fabulous in front of the camera. Because guess what, "being yourself" while being photographed is HARD. There is an art of being in front of the camera and it's definitely not something that comes naturally, to me at least. I feel for my clients and work hard to make them feel as comfortable as possible and reassure them that they are fabulous!
Because I'm a visual learner I thought that today along with some tips and tricks about posing, I'd show you some images that have been taken of ME over the past few years. Like my clients, I had rarely ever been in front of the camera before my first real photo shoot. I didn't have ANY idea on how to pose or ACT while being photographed. The first time I had professional portraits taken I was a mess. I was so nervous and I had NO idea what I was doing. Luckily, I worked with an amazing photographer and friend, Shyla, who put me right at ease. That leads me to tip number 1:
1. TRUST. You MUST trust the person who is photographing you. You must trust that they are going to take good care of you and that they will make you look your best! I went into my portrait session with Shyla trusting in her completely. I knew that she was a talented photographer who knew what she was doing. But I also knew she was charismatic, friendly and could care less if I looked like a total idiot. I knew that working with Shyla would be a great experience, and it was. I was more confident to try different things and be myself in front of her camera because of the trust I had placed in her as my photographer.
I definitely learned from that first portrait experience. After seeing those images I began figuring out HOW I worked best in front of the camera and practiced in front of the mirror at home. Yep, I worked my model eyes for myself. And while I felt like a complete fool at the time, I slowly began to understand how to move my face and my body to positions that were flattering. Which leads me to point number 2:
2. PRACTICE. I know it probably sounds CRAZY, but practicing in front of a mirror or a friend's camera is actually a great way to learn how to pose. Practicing allows you to see how you move, how you smile, how you laugh. For example, what I thought was my "Model" face was not in fact model-esque at all. I just looked mad. Like run away for me right now kind of mad. I've learned that I look best smiling. That I look best moving and that I really enjoy a LOT of direction from my photographer. I also learned that I can't just stare at the camera and smile. There HAS to be LIFE behind my eyes. If there is one thing that makes or breaks an image, it is within the person's eyes. Bring life to the eyes and the entire image will come alive. Practice in front of a mirror you'll see exactly what I mean. Watch as your eyes move, change, react. I know, I know, it really sounds crazy, but believe me it will pay off! Practice, practice, practice.
By the time Dave and I had our portrait session with our friend Katelyn, I had been in front of the camera numerous times. I had begun to learn how to move and pose my body. And most importantly I had gained confidence in myself and how I looked. I found out that indeed I could take some risks and "work it" for the camera. With each person that I worked with I gained more and more confidence to just have FUN and enjoy myself. Which leads to point number 3:
3. HAVE FUN. The best images come when people let down their guard. When they let out a giggle or a sigh, when they spontaneously embrace or kiss. You're allowed to have fun and to enjoy your time in front of the camera! A great photographer will make that easy for you, especially if you trust them to capture you in those fleeting but wonderful moments! Some of my favorite images from our time with Katelyn was when Dave unexpectedly pulled me close and whispered in my ear. Love that guy!
As you can see in the above images, sometimes things can go wrong. My veil started doing it's own thing. My hair was blown all about. My lipstick wore off about halfway through the shoot and I ripped holes in my dress. And I could have let all of that ruin what ended up being an AMAZING portrait session. Of course this leads me to point number 4:
4. LET GO. At some point you just have to say, I'm letting it go. Because nothing is ever going to go exactly to plan. Your hair may blow in the wind, your dress my get a rip (mine sure did!), you might get makeup on your husband's suit, I could go on and on. If you let those things get in the way, you could miss the chance to make some amazing images! Of course you want to look your best during your shoot. But how could you NOT look your best wrapped in your fiances arms? How could you not look your best laughing at your run away veil? Learn to let the little things go and you might just end up with some of your favorite images ever.
My final set of images to show you are from my portrait session with Justin and Mary, images taken for my new branding. Having now spent a LOT of time in front of the camera, I felt that I had a good sense on what to expect. I knew how to move my body and position myself. But I was also keenly aware of those little imperfections that drive me crazy. But despite my own insecurities, I knew that in order to get the best images possible, I had to ignore my own self doubt and just go for it. My final tip for LOVING your time in front of the camera is to embrace your imperfections.
5. EMBRACE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS. Too often we let our self doubts get in our own way. For example, I have bright red FRIZZY hair. I have man-ish hands, I'm not super skinny and I have large arms. Oh and I have size HUMONGOUS feet, plus I'm pale, have acne and some of my eyelashes are shorter than the others...I could go on and on. These things used to PLAGUE me and I was terrified to be in front of the camera. Because (especially to girls), your worst features are what seem to be highlighted in every image taken of you. But guess what, you are the ONLY person that sees that. Everyone else only views you as beautiful. So know your strengths and your weaknesses of course. But don't let that ever stop you from just being YOU in front of the camera. If I had done that I would have never these images below with my husband. These are images that I cherish. Are they perfect, absolutely not. My stomach is sticking out, my skin is SUPER pale, my hair is blow all about. But that is NOT what matters in these images. What matters is the love we share for each other. What matters is that our true selves were captured, preserved for years to come. And while I may not be perfect, to me, these images are.
Having your picture taken is challenging. But the more time you spend in front of the camera, the more comfortable you will be and the more confidence you will gain. Remember to trust your photographer, practice your posing, have fun and let go and embrace your imperfections! If you can do those things, I promise you'll end up with images you'll cherish for years to come!
Did you find this helpful? For those of you who have been in front of the camera before, what was the one piece advice you found most helpful? What would you say to someone getting their pictures taken? I'd love to hear!