6 Tips on How to Be Comfortable & Confident In Front of the Camera
And gin and tonic does not feature on this list!
The photo shoot is booked. Maybe it's a bucket list decision, a family obligation or a work commitment. Regardless of the reasoning, you're now suddenly panicking. How does anyone feel comfortable, or confident when in front of the camera?!
Hands down the thing we hear the most as professional photographers, is how nervous clients are before their photo shoot. So, you're not alone. This is closely followed by worries about what to bring and a general hatred of being in front of the camera. But hopefully today, we can banish some of those demons.
Rest assured, professional Photographers are human beings (not monsters) and we want you to relax, enjoy your shoot, and actually have an amazing experience. Generally, clients who get the most nervous actually get the most out of their experience because when they see their unbelievable photos, they are speechless, completely stunned and quite often, in tears because they cannot believe how fantastic they look. All of that worry and apprehension becomes a distant memory, replaced with confidence, empowerment and the realization that they can do it.
How to Be Comfortable & Confident In Front of the Camera
1 Build a Rapport with your Photographer
Your photographer should be doing this anyway, but some people need a little more connection than most in order to feel comfortable. If this is you, chat to the person behind the camera. Ask for their name, where they are from, and generally just get a feel for who they are. Not only will this help you to relax and get the creative juices flowing, but the better the communication between you and your photographer, the better your photographs are going to be.
Do you often find yourself holding your breath? This is very common, especially when stressed!
Now that you’ve met your photographer, let’s get started by taking a few deep breaths and begin to concentrate on your breathing.
Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Continue to loosen up by rolling your shoulders up and back, move your head side to side, and then…shake it all out! Don't worry, you won't look crazy!
Should you start to freeze or tense up, repeat this process or maybe walk away for a moment.
3 Dress So You Won’t Think About it
You often read advice, “dress comfortably”, but that’s too vague. If you’re usually uncomfortable in front of a camera, it’s only going to get more uncomfortable if you’re not completely confident in what you’re wearing. You might have that feeling like you should wear all of your best stuff. But, wearing all of your best stuff might come with its own kind of discomforts, and self-conscious thoughts because you don’t wear that stuff all the time.
It’s often best to wear something tried and true. Basically, something you know looks pretty good, but more importantly, something that you won’t think much about once you’re wearing it. Of course, you want to avoid disregarding this altogether, so no football tops for your portrait photography session (unless you're actually, a footballer!), just don't stress about how smart your outfit is, be comfortable in what you're wearing & that will show on camera. Think family reunion, not wedding.
4 Move Your Body
When being photographed by a professional, if it’s anything other than a straight on headshot for your LinkedIn profile or a specific shot you need to engage your audience, you don’t always need to be looking directly into the camera.
Look away (into the distance)
Look down to your side (like someone just gave you a flattering compliment)
Engage with something tangible (a notepad, computer, coffee cup — you get the idea)
And MOVE your body!
Moving your body, not only frees up the nervous energy inside you, but it also translates into the actual photography.
5 Be honest with yourself (and your photographer)
The most important thing you can do to feel more comfortable in front of the camera is to be honest with yourself about how you feel. You should not pretend to be really confident and comfortable if you’re not. A professional photographer is almost definitely going to pick up on that, will likely misinterpret your behaviour, and potentially portray you in an inauthentic, or even unflattering way. Pushing down feelings of discomfort, rather than noticing them, is only going to maximize your discomfort.
What’s more, if your photographer doesn’t know how you feel, they can’t help you feel better in their choice of locations, style, and creative ideas. So, be honest with yourself and with them.
6 Bring a Friend
If it's possible, bring a friend with you. Having someone else around can help shake off the feeling that all the attention is on you! Now, while it is all on you, your attention isn’t all on you any more. When there are people in the background, cracking jokes, making faces or lending cues, it makes everything more fun, at ease and relaxed.
If you're planning a portrait photography session in London, or anywhere in the UK, please feel free to get in touch. You can browse my past portraits here, and also use my contact page to discuss your plans.