Each time I stand in front of the camera, I realize afresh how hard it is to be photographed! I knoowww that John and I make it look effortless since we’re pro models (hahaha. just kidding. so not profesh), but it’s ridiculously hard work to be posed but not frozen, casual but not sloppy, lovey dovey but not forced while a camera points your way.
If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen my selfies and self-talk trying to calm myself while we drove to the shoot. It’s stressful not being behind the camera but maybe you will enjoy knowing the four mantras in my head that calmed me and let me enjoy our session. Ready? Ready.
No matter how excellent your makeup, it is only as good as your smile. Laugh. All the time.
Why do I act like a goof and make corny jokes? It’s to make you laugh. Why do I ask for ridiculous poses? It’s to make you laugh. Why do I tell you to laugh as hard as you can? So that you eventually laugh for real. The only thing more beautiful than a wholehearted smile is a face full of laughter.
If you’re feeling awkward and uncomfortable, just look at each other and laugh. (Try not to laugh at your spouse/fiance/fiancee – that doesn’t end well.) If you’re feeling nervous, let it out in a laugh. Whatever it takes, just laugh.
Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and beautiful.
As odd as it sounds, when you look back at your photographs, you’re going to remember how you felt almost as much as how you look. If you feel uncomfortable during your photo session, you’re going to feel those emotions when you see the photos. (Fun fact: there’s a decent chance your favoritest photo, maybe your Facebook profile picture, is blurry or grainy or at an awkward angle or poorly lit. Why is it your favorite, then? Because of how you felt while taking it and how you feel while seeing it.)
Instead of stressing about whether to wear the blue shirt or gray one, think about which outfit will make you feel both comfortable and beautiful. Wear that one.
Don’t stress about how to pose or what to do with your hands or where to stand. Trust your photographer.
Remember how I said I act like a goof and request ridiculous poses? It’s because I am guiding you into the pose that I want without actually telling you where to stand. Sneaky, right? I’ll eventually boss you around and reposition your hands and get persnickety in your posture and tell you where to point your chin, but my goal is to move you into the moment I want to capture. I create authentic moments full of real life and emotion that are natural to you by minimizing my bossiness and guiding you enthusiastically (and sneakily) right to where I want you.
On the other hand, though, if you have a specific request for pose or background: speak up! Communicate with me and then let me work my magic.
At the end of the shoot, the best compliment you can give me is something like “Wow! That was a lot of fun!” (better yet: “That was even more fun than I expected!”). Whether it was a stressful day at the office or a conflict in the car on the way to the shoot, leaving it behind and letting yourself have fun will ensure we all walk away with a song in our heart.
I love remembering the nervous tension of being photographed so I can better coach you through your portrait session. Coaching myself reminded me of all the ways I coach my clients: I tend to make corny jokes, ask for ridiculous poses, act like a goof, and pour out the compliments as my anecdote for on-camera jitters; my job is to make sure you feel comfortable so that you can look your best.
I am so thankful for Sherri’s excellent photographs of John and I! During our portrait swap a few weeks ago, she did a fantastic job photographing us and ensuring we have photos we love.
(For the record: know that these are her photos, my edits. I can’t wait to see how she processes the images in her own style!)