Alright, so today we’re talking our nerves… specifically about what to do if you’re nervous in front of the camera. When you get that you get creeping feeling in the pit of your stomach, (you know the one, it feels like butterflies or the body vibrations you get after drinking a few cups of coffee) before stepping in front of the camera.
And let me start by telling you, I get the feeling too! For me, it translates into me feeling like I’m going to retract into myself. My body gets stiff, I want to put my hands in my pockets to seem more casual, and I usually start awkwardly laughing at everything. And I really do mean every. thing.
Its completely normal to feel nervous in front of the camera! But the biggest advice I can give you… It’s all about confidence.
I’ve seen it show up differently for all of my couples. Often times it really comes down to self-beliefs— like, “I’m not photogenic.” or “I always look ill-prepared” or “I’m not a model….”
So let’s talk about this before we even get into the tips for prepping yourself for a photo session. I want to knock down some walls right now!
You are uniquely beautiful, and 50% of your finished product with photos actually comes from self-confidence.
Models have owned their look, and often times understand the concept of “ugly pretty”— when they release their inhibitions, loosen up, and just look into the camera with their raw emotions. They’re not worried about looking silly— and neither should you!
That being said, let’s move on to number three! Its not that you aren’t photogenic! I can almost guarantee that you just haven’t worked with an amazing photographer who understands how to find your best angles, and make you feel comfortable in your own skin.
Finally, and this is especially true for couples… your photo session is about you, being present with your partner, and showcasing your love. So, if you’re not really a picture person, just remember this— these photos aren’t going to be posed and stiff. You’re going to be spending time sharing a fun experience together and loving on your partner. These natural moments will be beautiful to capture. So its really best to focus on them, and try your best to just forget the camera! (quick aside, if you’re doing a boudoir session, this final comment is still true. Just, instead of focusing on your partner, you’ll be focusing on yourself. And don’t worry, I’ll have bubbly and lots of queues for you to use, so its not weird at all!)
Now let’s get started with some tips on what to do if you’re nervous in front of the camera!
Most of these are things you can actively work on in advance, though I do have a bonus tip that I always have you implement during the session! It works every time, so make sure to stick around for that:) Here’s the quick breakdown:
- Your wedding photographer should be someone you trust and enjoy being around.
- Tips to practice in front of the mirror.
- Try meditation!
- Catch a few breaths.
- Trust the process!
- Special BONUS TIP🖤
Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
Your wedding photographer should be someone you trust and enjoy being around. I mean, not only are you and your partner going to be spending a good bit of time in communication with and around them, but you’re about to share some very intimate moments together too. Do you really want to be doing that with someone who is just super boring, awkward, and disinterested in your life? So above all else, get yourself a damn good photographer! and make sure you vibe with them. This is a huge tip for what to do if you’re nervous in front of the camera.
I can say that even as an Atlanta wedding photographer, I know this is so important. I actually try to help by also vetting my clients. Like, I know I can only offer my best work if we get along well. And I don’t want tons of bookings and clients that won’t love working with me or the photos we create together. That takes the joy out of the job! Of course I know that I can find your best angles, and hopefully I can make you laugh and have fun too. But if we’re not getting along via email or phonemail ahead of time, its definitely not a great sign.
Tips to Practice in Front of the Mirror
I know this seems like a given, but I want you to try a few looks. First, look into the mirror and say “oh hey girl. you’re looking mighty fine today” Ok, I know that sounds stupid, but go ahead and hit on yourself. Flirt a little— and if that doesn’t get you in the mood, then hopefully it makes you laugh.
Second, I want you to run your hands through your hair, shake it out, and meow at yourself. Seriously make it silly. And all the while, hold eye contact. By now, you should hopefully start to see yourself laugh and feel really free. No one is watching you, but your smile is beautiful. your natural relaxed state is free and lovely. If this got you in the mood, then stick with it for a minute. Play with your angles, and see how you feel your best and look your best. It will help later. 🙂
Finally, wrap your arms around yourself for a hug. Then look into the mirror and tell yourself “I love you __say your name__”. Sound crazy? Its not. Its part of the process of rewiring your brain. As you look in the mirror, look for things that you love, or like, about yourself. It might be your eyes, your mouth, your skin, or something else— focus on those things for a moment. Admire them.
Then walk away WITHOUT criticizing yourself. Doing this a few times really help rewire your brain to be less critical and more loving on yourself. I know its a hippie move, but this method I’ve developed hasn’t just helped me, but several of my other clients who dared to try.
I’ve got a few apps that I enjoy using for mediation, including the tapping app (tapping meditation is awesome for people who struggle to meditate, and SUPER effective) and the calm app. Taking a few moments to release tension from your body and boost confidence is a MUST. Check out the show notes for links to these apps. They have free options.
Catch a few breaths
Whenever I’m feeling nervous, I like to take a moment to close my eyes and breathe in deeply through my nose (expanding the diaphragm) and release through the mouth. 5-10 of these slow, deep breaths will do the trick! Doing this before your session, even in the car, will help.
Plan your outfit, do your nails, get a facial…. possibly even hair and makeup beforehand! Seriously, any form of self care that will make you feel more comfortable.
Finally, trust the process! This is my biggest piece of advice that I can give to my own clients— I’ve been photographing people, in particular for boudoir, weddings, and couples, for over ten years. I’ve seriously got all the tricks up my sleeve! Once you start to get into the flow of taking photos, you’re going to forget all about the camera— and I’ve got prompts to help you feel at ease for literally every single step of the way.
One of my biggest tips that I use as a prompt for my clients during the shoot is actually really simple, and something I learned from Tyra Banks (yes, I watched America’s Next Top Model as a high schooler, don’t judge me).
First, I want you to shake it out. Close your eyes and relax…. then take a deep breath in as you open your eyes and look up at me. While you’re doing this, think about your favorite food! Seriously, envision the most delicious version of this meal you’ve EVER had. It will make you smile with your eyes.
After you do this, release alllllll the breath from your body, and possibly even let your mouth go slack. This works for LITERALLY everyone, and you’ll be looking like a model in a matter of seconds!
Sound a little nerve wrecking? Its ok— I’ll show you how to do it in person at our next session! We’ll have a great time taking photos together.
I hope these simple tips can help you beat the butterflies for our next photo session together. And help you know what to do if you’re nervous in front of the camera!
My goal as a wedding photographer in Atlanta GA is to preserve and capture each of my couples beautifully and authentically. I’m privileged to help you tell your love story, and I can’t wait to be a part of it!
No matter where you are in the journey, wether you’re dating, engaged, or married, and wether you’ve booked me to be your wedding photographer yet or not, you can know I’m here for you. Because I believe (and know) that you are beyond worthy of beautiful memories. Let’s create magic together.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Wether about this podcast episode, a wedding venue, or something else. I have over 10 years of experience as a couple and wedding photographer in Atlanta. And, I’m more than happy to be your resource! Feel free to drop me a line HERE.
While you’re here, feel free to check out these other resources I’ve created for you!