As a photographer, one of the most common things people tell me before a session is that they don't think they're photogenic and they're nervous about their photos. This is a hard thing to hear as a photographer because I thrive by capturing the joy, love, and cherished memories of my clients. I love to see photos where my clients look relaxed, happy, and at home in who they are so they can look back on their photos with pride for years to come.
For this reason, I've compiled a few ways you can enjoy your photoshoot and leave feeling proud of and joyful about the memories we captured together. With these tips, you can rest assured that you'll look great in your photos and you'll end up with some amazing memories to enjoy for the rest of your life.
(When Possible) Plan Your Wardrobe In Advance to Look Great In Your Photos
It's not always possible to plan your wardrobe ahead of time. Life can get busy and sometimes photo sessions are scheduled at the last minute. But when possible, I do recommend putting some thought into the outfits that you and/or your family will be wearing during their session as this is a simple obstacle that you can remove so you end up with photos you love!
Your outfits don't need to be completely coordinated, but having a general idea of what everyone plans to wear will allow you to make sure that there aren't any clashing colors during your session that will distract from your beautiful, happy faces!
This blog post offers some helpful tips for planning your family photo outfits.
Follow Your Photographer's Lead
No professional photographer should expect you to walk into a photoshoot and know exactly how to pose – you don't do this every day! It's our responsibility as your photographer to help guide you into natural poses that look great on camera.
But take note – some poses won't feel natural in the moment! Posing is all about angles and movement and lighting, so if your photographer asks you to pose a certain way, trust their judgement and trust the process. Your photos will turn out beautifully if you can relax into what they ask you to do and trust that they know what they're doing.
Don't Compare Yourself to Others & Don't Set Expectations
The phrase "comparison is the thief of joy" is a popular phrase for a reason. Social media forces us to compare our lives to the lives of others, rather than embracing and loving the unique complexity in our own worlds without judgement. Your photoshoot is no different.
Rather than setting high expectations that your photoshoot will look exactly like Kim Kardashian's, instead, try to keep an open mind and an open heart. Make creating memories the only goal of your photoshoot and don't worry about what anyone else is doing with theirs.
Years from now, when you're looking at your photos with your kids, you'll remember how you felt at your photoshoot and in that time in your life more than what your friend's photos looked like.
Embrace Your True Self
For some reason, when we step in front of a camera, it's human nature to want to act differently. It could be that we feel nervous or that we want to put on a specific persona in order to get the photos we think we want, but at the end of the day, the most beautiful photos are the ones where you feel FREE.
Going into your photoshoot, try to embrace who you truly are and be your full self in front of the camera. If you're naturally silly, lean into that. If you're naturally more reserved, own it! However you feel most comfortable and most like yourself, be that. It will help you feel most relaxed during your session and you'll end up with photos that feel most like you.
Forget About the Camera – Be Natural
This may be one of the harder things to accomplish, especially depending on your photoshoot style, but try your hardest to pretend the camera is not there. Instead, focus on the reason for your photos, whether that be your growing baby bump, your partner, or your wonderful family. Embrace the candid shots. Lean into the love you see in your family's eyes or place your hands on your growing belly and cherish that feeling.
The more natural you can be in your session, the more your photos will feel like reality. You'll have happy memories to look back on, rather than feeling judgmental or critical of your photos. Forget the camera and enjoy the moment!
It Helps To Giggle
If you find that smiling in photos just doesn't ever come naturally to you, one tip that I love to share is that if you smile and then add a giggle, your smile will brighten in your photos. When you giggle, the smile spreads from your lips to your eyes and becomes more naturally you.
So next time you get your photos taken, think of something funny that made you giggle recently, and your smile will go from forced to fabulous in the blink of an eye!
Remember – The Photos You See Online Have Been Edited and Curated
It's easy to set unreasonable expectations for ourselves, especially with the world of social media so prominantly displaying photos that all look so perfect. But what's really reasonable to expect from your photoshoot?
I often remind my clients that not every photo will be perfect. A lot can happen in the time that a camera shutter clicks – a gust of wind can blow your hair out of place, someone can blink or look away, a smile can become tiring for your child and fade momentarily... There will be photos in your album that aren't picture perfect, and that's COMPLETELY normal. Don't be discouraged by the few photos that aren't perfect. Instead, look for the photos that capture joy and excitement. Look for the photos that are a perfect collection of your family's personalities in one shot. Those are the ones worth keeping. Because they're perfect just as they are!
And Finally, Relax!
Photo sessions are supposed to be fun and special. So do yourself a favor and RELAX. Find a way to embrace the moment, no matter what that moment looks like. If you can do that, you'll end up loving your photos and the memories they helped you make.
(Parents, if you're nervous about your upcoming photoshoot with kiddos, read this blog post on how to enjoy a photoshoot with children!)
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