Let me tell you about a secret that I have learned from photographing people - 90% of people don't like their picture taken.
Phew. You can sigh with relief. You are not alone. Pretty much no one likes their picture taken. And it’s okay. Why don’t we like our picture taken? Because media has created this unrealistic image of perfection that no real human can live up to. Deep down inside, we know that picture perfect model we see on the cover of a magazine or on TV is not an accurate representation of reality,. At least it’s not someone you can relate to..
When people see a camera in front of their face, most people feel the pressure of having to be something they’re not. That’s when things become awkward. Where do I look? Where do I put my hands? Are my teeth okay?
Why do we want our picture being taken in the first place? Because we want to create memories. It is natural to want to leave behind photos of yourself. For your children, grandchildren and even yourselves (when you grow old and crazy). The pictures are about you and the unique moments in your life. Years from now these memories in your pictures will only become more precious. You will care about the moments you were happy while in the company of a friend and what those moments meant to you.
So, how does it work when it comes to not be scared of being in front of the camera? How does one build the confidence to jump in front of one? Want to know what to do to make sure you have awesome wedding, engagement and family photos? I want you to walk away with more than just a few photos you can hang on your wall or post on Facebook. I want you to walk away with photos that have happy feelings attached to them.
Want to learn? If so, let's get started!
Don't play pretend
This is pretty simple. If you are not a professional model, don’t pretend to be one. It might feel like you are doing something covergirl would do except you may not have all the experience. Let’s face it, models spend hours training to get that look that you think comes naturally. So if you are not a professional model, don't try to pose in a way you think a model would do. It is not natural to pretend something you are not especially without the proper skill and training.
You are probably asking okay so how do I act then? What do I do?
I often hear people say “I’m so awkward”. Well, then don’t be awkward. Be yourself. And try hard to be yourself. As cheesy as it is being yourself is the best thing you can do while being photographed. You will feel better and so will your photographer. When you let go and let loose, the connection (whether it’s just you or you and your partner) comes across as genuine, authentic and natural.
This is not an era where you have to hold still to take a picture. I know your mum probably told you “don't move!” while taking photos but that is not the case anymore. This is time of where movement is fully embraced. Digital cameras capture movement perfectly and movement is a natural part of human life. So, if you want to look natural in your photos, keep moving the way it feels natural to you. Adjust your hair, lean into your partner and kiss their cheek and rub their shoulder. Do anything you would normally do as a couple or alone while walking, talking, snuggling or goofing around. It doesn't matter how small or insignificant the movements are ( or if you wanna run and scream and dance). Do what feels natural to you.
Trust your photographer
As humans, we tend to be awkward or timid around strangers. And that is absolutely okay. You may think of a photographer as a service provider; someone who shows up and gets the job done. To be honest, if you want simple and ‘posey’ photos that is the kind of photographer you’re looking for. You pay them, you meet up, click click, they utter a few words along the lines of “put your hand here, lean that way”, and the job is done. The whole time you just think, “let's just get this over with”. They leave and you never see them again. The only thing you’re left with is some ‘posey’ photos and the aftertaste of “the job got done”.
However, if you want genuine and authentic photos you have to have a little bit of a relationship with the person who is producing those images for you. Before booking a photoshoot have a cup of coffee with your photographer and talk to them about stuff that matters to you. Stalk them on Facebook and Twitter (in a non-stalkerish way), try to get to know them and allow them to get to know you before you jump in front of their camera. This way, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable with each other and the images will feel genuine.
Photoshoots don’t have to be boring. Often times we think of a photoshoot location as just a place with a pretty background. If you want good photos you have to stay connected even at the location you decide to have your pictures taken. Take initiative and turn the photoshoot into something that’s more like a date. Explore an area by going on a hike or taking a walk. You can basically do whatever you’d like. Just remember to be yourself. That way you will feel more comfortable and your photographer will feel creative and excited because they know you are invested and having fun.
Give yourself (and whoever is coming with you) a confidence boost. Ever seen that video of a young girl talking to her reflection in the mirror? Her dialogue goes something like this: “I like my hair, I like my haircut, I like my pyjamas” (watch here). That’s what you need to do. You need to like yourself and be excited about who you are. Get in front of the mirror or your selfie camera and tell yourself how awesome you are. Tell that to your beloved ones too. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who is glowing with healthy confidence.
Being photographed does not have to be difficult or awkward. It is about what photographer you choose and if you are comfortable with them like you are with a friend. Getting great images is about how you feel about yourself and how much fun you have in the process. Don't be scared to be yourself and let loose!
Photos are an awesome way to remember a specific time you felt happy. It will be the most precious thing many years from now.
Remember, being photographed is supposed to be fun... so keep moving and don’t forget to have laugh a little.