From Camera-Shy to Camera-Ready
If you struggle with insecurities about having your photo taken, you’re definitely not alone! Concerns about feeling awkward in front of the camera, not knowing how to pose, and not liking how you look in photos are ones I hear from my clients all the time.
But as they start to work with me they learn it is possible to show up to their brand photoshoot with confidence and love the photos created! And you can, too.
There are many steps you can take to help you look and feel confident in your brand photos. And just like I help my clients, I want to help YOU go from camera-shy to camera-ready!
Building your confidence for your brand photoshoot can start even before it’s on your calendar. The first few tips that follow are ones you can use right away. So bookmark this page and visit often! Use it as a guide to help you through the entire brand photoshoot process.
1 – Be Kind to Yourself
If you’re like me (and most women), you may have a tendency to speak unkind words to yourself. It may be such an engrained habit that you don’t even notice.
Start to pay attention to your inner dialogue and the thoughts you regularly have about yourself – especially when you’re in front of a mirror. When you catch yourself spewing critical or disparaging words, do your best to stop and flip the script. The following techniques can help you turn it around.
The Friend Test
When you notice self-critical thoughts, stop and ask yourself if you would say the same thing to a friend. Take a moment (or as long as you need), to speak to yourself about whatever is on your mind as you would your friend in the same situation.
Is it True?
Yes, your critical thoughts may contain some truth. But odds are, much of the negative stories running through your mind aren’t actually based on truth. Before you just believe and accept any thoughts, take a moment to examine the evidence. Also, try to separate facts from your emotions about them.
I love this exercise developed by Tara Well, Ph.D, a professor in the department of psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University. She’s used Mirror Meditation in her research and found that it has many benefits, including an increase in self-compassion.
Start by sitting comfortably in front of a mirror. Begin with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing to help you relax and let go of any tension you feel. After a few moments, gaze into your eyes, keeping your gaze as soft as you can. Notice and be open to any sensations, thoughts and emotions that arise. Without judgement or interpretation, just sit with them and let them pass by. Your only goal is to just be present with yourself.
Dr. Well suggests starting at 5 minutes and working up to 10 minutes a day for at least 2 weeks. You can learn more about Mirror Meditation and how to do it at mirrormeditation.com
2 – Ditch Your Hangups
If you’re feeling resistant to doing a brand photoshoot it could be because you have one or both of the following hangups. (There may be others, but these are the ones I have seen – and experienced myself- the most).
Getting past these hangups will help boost your confidence that you can and should book a session so you can show up confidently as the face of your business.
Hangup #1: “I don’t like being so self-promotional”
For most of us, self-promotion just feels awkward and uncomfortable. We don’t like to toot our own horn and worry we’re going to annoy people or come across as a bragger.
It certainly is possible to give that impression, but most likely you won’t. When you regularly show up as the face of your business with the intent of connecting to your audience and serving them, they’re almost sure to see you in a positive light.
Hangup #2: “I don’t like my______”
Arms. Nose. Hair. I’m sure most of us can fill in the blank with a long list of things we don’t like about our appearance. And capturing them on camera creates a fear that others will see and judge these perceived flaws.
The reality is, someone might. But the odds of that are far less than your fear is leading you to believe. Most people are not going to see you in the same negative light you may be seeing yourself.
It’s called the spotlight effect – a common tendency to overestimate how much others notice and care about how we look or what we do. Being aware of and remembering this tendency in yourself can help you be less self-conscious about those traits you don’t like.
3 – Collect Love Notes
If you’ve been in business for a while you’ve likely received some great reviews and kind words from past clients and customers. Reading back through these can help remind you that you are good at what you do and capable of creating great client relationships.
Start a virtual “love notes box” where you collect past and future praises from your clients. This could be in a document, folder, trello board, etc – whatever makes it easiest for you to look at often.
4 – Practice Self-Care
There’s an important, but often unrecognized interdependent relationship between self-care and self-confidence. Each can influence the other in both positive and negative ways.
Let’s look at the positive snowball effect a little self-care can have, specifically when it comes to your brand photoshoot.
Get Good Sleep
A good night’s sleep is always a good idea, but is especially important in the days leading up to your brand session. Proper sleep will benefit your mood and mindset, energy level and physical appearance (beauty sleep is not a myth). And these benefits will help boost your self-confidence on shoot day and beyond.
Rest & De-stress
Build in daily time to rest and relax. Choose whatever activities you like best that create calm and reduce tension – a bubble bath, meditation, reading, etc. Don’t let busyness stop you! Even short activities when practiced regularly can make a difference.
It has been shown that stress can have a negative impact on self-esteem, so reducing stress and learning stress-management strategies will help boost your confidence not only for your brand session, but for your life in general.
Get Regular Exercise
This goes hand in hand with the last tip since exercise is a great form of stress management. It can also enhance your mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of over-all well being – all things that contribute to healthy self-esteem.
Mind What You Put in Your Body
Since eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water can have positive effects on your appearance doing so regularly can give your confidence in front of the camera a little boost. Coming to your session well nourished and hydrated will also help your energy levels and sense of well-being, which in turn can have a positive impact on your mindset.
5 – Choose the Right Photographer
Having the right photographer for you and your brand will go a long way in boosting your confidence. Being in front of the camera is a vulnerable experience, so it’s important that you find someone you’re comfortable with and trust. I recommend you look for a photographer who:
Takes the time to get to know you and your brand
Building a relationship with your photographer before the session will help you feel more comfortable in front of her camera. Plus, the more she knows about you and your brand, the better she can create images that showcase your personality and what you do. This strengthens your confidence in the whole process.
Knows how to pose and direct you
One of the biggest things that will make you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera is not knowing what to do. Where should you look? What should you do with your hands? Your photographer needs to give you constant direction and feedback.
There are also numerous posing tricks that will help you look your best and create the desired look in the photos.
Works with you closely to plan the session details
There’s a lot that goes into planning a brand session and you don’t want to have to figure it out on your own. Having the guidance of a skilled brand photographer from start to finish will help you feel more confident about every part of the experience.
6 – Plan Your Session in Detail
This is so important it deserves mentioning again! A detailed plan for your session can go a long way in helping you feel confident. Feeling prepared and knowing what to expect will put you at ease on the day of your session. You can also be more confident that you’ll end up with amazing photos because of all the attention and care that’s going into creating them.
7 – Wear the Right Outfits
What you wear for your session is super important. Your outfits play a big role in creating on-brand images and helping you look and feel your best. I always give my clients the following tips for choosing their wardrobe for their brand session.
Wear Clothes That Are Comfortable
Choose clothing that fits you well, is appropriate for whatever weather is expected, and that you feel comfortable in. Those shoes you love, but make your feet feel like they are in a vice…keep those in the closet!
Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Confident
Choose items that you feel are flattering to your best features. This includes how items fit, as well as colors and style. The more you like your outfit and feel good in it, the more confident you’ll feel in front of the camera – and the happier you’ll be with your photos.
Wear Clothes That Feel Like You
Choose clothing that reflects your style and personality, as well as your brand. Only purchase new items for your session if you’ll wear them again. (And it’s certainly acceptable to work with what’s already in your closet).
When in Doubt, Hire Out
If you feel lost when it comes to picking your outfits, consider hiring a stylist to help you. I offer some styling help to my clients based on what I know will look good on camera, but if they need more help I’ll refer them to a pro stylist.
8 – Hire a Pro Hair & Makeup Artist
Having a professional do your hair and makeup is not an absolute necessity, but it can make a big difference in how you look and feel in your photos. They know what products are best to use (and not use) to make you look your best on camera. And their pro-level products tend to stay-put and last, which is especially important if you have a longer session.
Treating yourself to professional hair and makeup is a great way to feel relaxed and pampered before your session, helping you feel more at ease. It also takes the pressure off of you to create the right look for the camera. And as I talked about above, less stress means more confidence!
9 – Embrace the Awkward
Being confident does NOT mean you won’t feel awkward at all. Even if you arrive at your session feeling bold and fearless, it’s totally normal to feel a bit uncomfortable when the camera first comes out. But if you’ve hired the right photographer like I talked about above, you’ll be feeling at ease in no time.
There also may be some poses that feel a bit uncomfortable or awkward, but they always look great on camera. More on posing below…
10 – Think About Those You Serve
Yes, your brand session is about you, but it’s also about the people you serve with your business. The photos you’re creating will help you connect with your audience and create content that benefits them. Keeping this bigger picture in mind can help you not sweat the little details and relax into your session.
When you’re in front of the camera, try picturing a favorite client. Look into the lens like you’re looking into her eyes. Think about the relationship you’ve built, or how you helped her. This will not only relax you by taking the focus off of yourself (and the camera) for a moment, but can elicit a natural smile and expression.
11 – Pose Like a Pro
Walking into your brand session already knowing even a couple posing tips will help you feel more confident in front of the camera. Here are a few you can easily take with you.
Your posture can really make or break an image. In any sitting or standing pose, make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed and spine elongated. Just imagine there’s a string coming out of the top of your head pulling you up (like a marionette puppet).
Soften Your Hands
I’m not talking about bringing a bottle of moisturizer with you. When it comes to posing, ‘soft hands’ means they’re relaxed and natural. It’s not uncommon for there to be some tension in the hands, especially toward the beginning of a session when you haven’t warmed up yet.
Often just taking note of how your hands feel and shaking them out a little will release the tension and help you hold or place them in a natural way. Giving your hands something to do is also very helpful. You can hold a prop, tuck your hair behind your ear, or hook your thumbs in your pockets or belt loops.
Define Your Jawline
No one wants to look like they have a double chin in there photos! And it can happen quite easily if you’re not careful. I teach all of my clients the same trick to create a flattering jawline – pretend you’re a turtle and push your nose toward the camera. This helps create some separation and shadow between the chin and neck. It feels a bit weird, but looks great on camera, I promise!
12 – Peek at the Back of the Camera
Some photographers don’t like sharing images until they’re edited, or they can have a ‘big reveal’. I like to show my clients some images periodically throughout the session for two reasons. One, it helps me ensure what I’m capturing matches what they’re envisioning for their photos. Two, seeing how awesome they look boosts their confidence which snowballs into even greater images!
If your photographer isn’t offering a peek, it doesn’t hurt to ask for one.
The Most Important Tip
While I strongly believe all of these tips will boost your confidence, I think the one that’s most important is working with the right photographer. Because the right photographer will guide you and help you put them into practice!
As a brand photographer, I love being that guide for my clients! I’ve created an experience that helps you feel prepared and confident for your session and love how you look in your photos.
ARE YOU READY TO GO FROM CAMERA-SHY TO CAMERA-READY?
If you’re a business woman in the Sacramento area, get in touch with me today to learn more about how I can help you show up confidently as the face of your business.
Not sure what questions to ask to help you choose the right Brand Photographer? Check out this post: