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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Top Tips to Feel More Confident in Front of the Camera & Enjoy Your Photoshoot!

Hands up if you've ever excitedly booked a photoshoot but then felt so nervous in the days before it, your excitement turned to dread, and you even considered cancelling it?

I hear ya... but let me reassure you, nerves are totally normal prior to a photoshoot. Sadly, lots of us are guilty of putting too much focus on our personal hang-ups or self-perceived flaws; the thought of standing in front of camera and having these 'flaws' photographed can leave you feeling less than thrilled.

However, I have so many clients that say to me at the end of the shoot "I wasn't looking forward to that, but I actually enjoyed it", or "that was so much easier than I expected".

Here's my top tips to embrace that nervous energy and turn into positive energy!

  1. Dress to impress...YOURSELF!!

When booking a session, usually one of the first things that might pop into your head is 'what will we all wear?!'

Whilst I'm happy to advise what *I think* works best colour wise in front of the camera, the key to getting it exactly right for you and your family is to PLAN! Don't leave it to the day before the shoot to decide what you're all going to wear! Think about the colour palette that you want to go for, whats practical, what the forecast has given out (as if that's ever right!), and most importantly of all, WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE IN?! If you're in clothes that you don't feel good in, or make you feel more self-conscious, chances are its going to negatively affect the way you feel and the mood you're in on the day. Find an outfit that is both comfortable and makes you feel great! Put the outfit on in front of a full length mirror and practice your poses, your smile and repeat after me * I LOOK AMAZING*. A little bit of planning goes a long way!

2. Forget the world around you and lose yourself in the moment!

How many times have you smelled a certain smell and it instantly transports your mind back to a place, or you've heard a sound that triggers a memory and reminds you of a happy time? Well photographs have this power, only so much stronger!! Not only do they visually give you the memories you want to remember forever, they remind you how you felt at that moment! And no one wants that memory to be a stressed-out, uncomfortable, negative one. If you're in a busy public place like the park try and forget the people around you (half the time they're so wrapped up in what they're doing themselves they won't even notice you) and focus on getting all the up close cuddles in with your loved ones! If you're feeling self-conscious try see yourself through the eyes of someone that loves you! They think you're gorgeous, and so do I!

Confidence isn't always easy to feign, but happiness is easy to photograph, and what is there that's more confident than a truly happy smile.

3. Let go of what you can't control on the day.

So you've picked the perfect outfit, you've brought the confidence, you've practiced your best smile and the day of the shoot brings nothing but grey skies and clouds...typical! Your photographer will usually make a decision about whether to postpone the shoot (cameras don't like rain) or if they think the weather and the location will still work. If you don't get the perfect sun you're hoping for, and the shoot still goes ahead, please do not worry or be disappointed. Your shoot will be just as gorgeous...the focus of the shoot is YOU and your family, the weather is just a minor detail.

Alternatively, you might find yourself faced with a non-compliant toddler (we've all been there), or a grumpy teen that isn't keen on joining in.... a good photographer will have lots of tricks up their sleeve to entice interest and pull in even the grumpiest of teens. Most family photographers who work with children regularly will know that lots of children don't like having pictures taken...but a little bribe goes a long way! All my jobs before being a photographer have been with children of various ages, and I feel like the skills I built in those jobs really helps me out now when photographing children!

The key to getting the best out of the day, and the session is to relax. Go with the flow, work with what we've got and make the memories of the shoot happy ones.

4. Find a photographer that you trust and get a good vibe from.

Before you book your photoshoot, do YOUR RESEARCH; look at portfolios, make enquiries, ask friends who they recommend and consider different styles. Word of mouth is SO powerful! I know personally, I would be so much more likely to book someone or to buy something based on a good recommendation from someone I know! In a sector as over-saturated as photography, where so many photographers have so much to offer, I always think returning customers are a good thing to look out for.

Obviously, I hope you choose me to take pictures of you and your family, but ultimately you should opt for someone that you get a good vibe from. I pride myself on making my shoots relaxed and fun, as when a family is relaxed you get the best image opportunities.

5.Communicate with your photographer.

Before the shoot, talk to your photographer about your session. Make sure you're clear on where and when you're meeting, and make sure you've let them know anything you deem crucial to the session beforehand. Be sure to let them know of any specific shots that you would really love, as well as any things you would like to avoid capturing. If you've got a burning question, no matter how silly you might think it seems, ask it! As I mentioned earlier, my aim is to make sure my clients are relaxed on their session; I would hate to think they had something that they wanted to say or ask but didn't feel like they could.

On the day of the session, try to follow the guidance given by your photographer; they work with lots of families, and know what looks good, what works and what doesn't. I always ask my clients to let me know if there's anything I've asked them to do, or a prompt i've given within the session that they really don't like or feel comfortable doing. If someone isn't happy being tickled for example, it's not going to make a great shot, and is probably going to put them off be quite quickly. I try to use lots of silly, or funny prompts in the first 10 minutes of a session (who's the loudest snorer, everyone look at the person with the smelliest trumps etc) as I feel it helps people (especially kids) to relax, loosen up and begin to actually enjoy the shoot.

Don't be surprised if your photographer is just clicking away when you're not expecting it; a mixed of prompted and candid images make up the best galleries. Also don't be surprised if lots of these candid shots don't make the final gallery cut. Often I take around 700-900 images on a session, but the finished gallery might only have around 25 edited images. Communication is key and will really help with maximising the productivity of the session, and the content captured.

So that's it, my 5 top tips! Have you got anything to add to my list? I'd love to know your own personal experiences...what parts of a photography session you enjoyed most (and least), and any ways you helped yourself max out your confience?

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