How to Overcome Photo Anxiety and Camera Shyness
You can’t write a sonnet if you have to look up the spelling of each word as you go. ―
Camera shyness isn’t at all uncommon, even though having our photograph taken has become a day-to-day activity in our modern lives with Instagram. There are lots of reasons people become camera shy. Perhaps they dislike the way they look or hate seeing a particular feature. Maybe their camera-shyness is a product of social anxiety or a simple aversion to being the center of attention. Like most anxiety triggers, being camera shy is fine most of the time, but crops up at the most inopportune moments. Like on your wedding day while you need to take your beautiful, once in a lifetime, wedding portraits.
Too often we hear our couples say they aren’t photogenic or they’re not “ready” to be photographed. The truth is unless you’re a professional model, it’s not that you aren’t photogenic, you most likely just don’t know exactly how to pose in front of a camera. And why would you? It is completely normal. It’s not your job to know how to pose — it’s a photographer’s job to instruct you and when the time comes we will make sure your wedding photos look amazing.
Camera Shyness happens to us too – Even though we know posing, lighting, angles, you name it. Our approach is that communication is key. On your wedding day, we are on top of things and we’re next to our couples every step of the way. We will help you feel at ease and relaxed, giving us the editorial and romantic shots you chose us for. 99.9% of our couples are not models and we know how difficult it is standing in front of a camera. After all, occasionally, we as well get in front of the camera to understand exactly how our couples feel, experience the same anxiety but navigate through it in the same way we will help them when the day comes.
There are certain things you can do to prepare for a photo shoot that will help you feel empowered and more comfortable in front of the camera. Here are our tips to conquer awkwardness and overcome your fear of being photographed!
Identify Why You Are Feeling It and Trust Your Photographer
First, ask yourself why you are afraid of being photographed. Is it something tangible or concrete, or general self-consciousness? Keep in mind that it’s normal: Most couples that aren’t models find being in front of a camera quite intimidating. Don’t worry…it’s completely normal to feel uneasy in the process. Whatever your reasons, we can assure you that everyone else feels the same way at some point. It’s normal to be nervous in front of a camera. The key for us is communication. Through communication, we are grooming our couples all the months leading up to their wedding day. We can address the issues one by one — we’ve dealt with all of them before.
After that, you should trust your photographer and their skills. We always work with our clients in a way that allows us through communication to find out their likes and dislikes ahead of time. This helps us naturally pose you and accentuate your favorite features. We ask the right questions, our clients communicate their needs, and we deliver high-quality and timeless portraits with a touch of authenticity!
Prepare for the Photoshoot
This is where you can be proactive in ensuring your photoshoot is successful. Learning about the process of the shoot and what you need to do ahead of time will help you to relax. Ask as many questions as you can. How can you prep the week or even the night before? For starters, and to take one thing off your list, your wedding day will be the day when your professional makeup artist or stylist will make sure you look like the best version of yourself and won’t make any drastic changes to your appearance before the shoot.
Keep in mind that practice makes perfect: Whether you have a list, mental bullet points, or just a general idea of the way your images want to look like making sure to practice. Our advice is that having a pre-wedding photoshoot or an engagement session will give us a broad idea of how things will be on your wedding day posing-wise and help you relax. Pre-wedding shoots are the practice that will make your wedding day perfect and ease your nerves, so if you can book one, we highly suggest them! The more you repeat an experience, the more predictable it becomes. When a situation becomes predictable, it becomes safe, and the anxiety surrounding it is reduced. Your practice might look different, depending on the source of your camera-shyness. If it’s a body image issue, the best thing you can do to prepare is to teach your brain to see yourself positively. Don’t focus on the negatives, not even try and make them seem less of a problem. Instead, highlight the features you like about yourself.
The problem with a lot of the photos we’ve seen is that when someone is nervous about having his picture taken, he ends up with a rictus grin instead of a nice, natural smile. Keep in mind that the more you smile, the more you will relax and seem natural on camera. The more natural you feel, the better you will look on camera. We will be there to instruct you so your smiling and posing are natural and effortless without cringing, over posed moments. The thing is, that when you’re asked to hold a pose you become very stiff. But when you drop out of a pose, you lose posture. Our little secret? Try to land somewhere in between. An easy-peasy way to do this is to turn so that you’re facing a 45-degree angle, cross your legs, and stand with your weight on your back foot. If you’re not holding something, put one arm on your hip. This is a natural pose, and it’s easy to remember how to do it. While it may not seem easy at first, try relaxing and thinking of something funny or pleasant or maybe that your love is on your side. Let this illuminate your time. You’re married!
Let us not forget, that you’re not alone in this. We will be there, giving you advice constantly and helping you relax and simply enjoy it. When you’ve seen as many wedding days as we have, you realize that posing comes naturally to couples if you simply know how to say the right things, and give the right little tips so they can let go, feel comfortable and genuinely have a good time together. Don’t worry, we will help you.
Tackling Hair, Makeup, and Outfits
We cannot emphasize just how important professional hair and makeup are. It’s not often you’re having your wedding day portrait taken, so invest the extra money and look your absolute best with a professional makeup artist that gives you a natural and polished look. You will go into the wedding day feeling confident and you won’t have to worry about being both the subject and the stylist on the day of your wedding. Even for men, makeup can fill in under-eye bags and discoloration in your skin. The purpose isn’t to look like you have a face full of makeup, it’s to look like your best self. Best Advice? Leave it to the professionals! Moreover, your wedding dress and all your beautiful styling bits and bobs will help you get excited about the shoot, you will feel like a million bucks and you can be sure that your ensemble will photograph well. Perfect tailoring to your wedding dress and suit is key.
Food for thought: Check out our Perfect Wedding Photography Schedule!
We Will Choose the Photos and That’s a Great Thing
Let’s get real for a second: not every photograph from a shoot is going to be flattering, no matter how hard you try. There will be photos where you blink, where you moved just as the shutter went off, where you started talking at the wrong moment. When you’ve worked at overcoming your camera anxiety, you’ll be able to look at those photos and laugh, or at least brush them off for the unlucky incidents they are, and delete them without a second thought. Right now, though, if you’re camera shy the last thing you need is to see photographs that seem to confirm what your anxiety was telling you all along.
A good photographer will only show you the pictures where they think you look great. Maybe there’s only one or two that you can stand to look at, but trust your photographer’s instincts. In our experience, the bigger deal you make out of something the scarier it becomes. Like how in therapy we can explore our phobias in safe, comforting environments. So it follows that to reduce the anxiety of sitting in front of a camera, you need a safe, comfortable photographer. We will guide you through the process!
It’s a sad fact that when you have body image issues, you can’t trust your gut instinct when it comes to pictures of yourself. You might think that your smile looks forced and your skin is too shiny, but your friends (and even strangers) will see a happy, friendly face. Most importantly, remember why you’re taking this picture for. At the end of the day, it’s just proof that you’re a human being celebrating one of life’s best moments! And that’s a reason to take a deep breath and enjoy the process of trusting us.
We hope these tips get you started on the right path to overcoming being camera shy. As a couple, we know the struggle and how you’re feeling. But as photographers, we know that listening to the doubting voice in your mind is no option, especially if we’ll be there to help you along the way. Trust us when we say that almost all couples are self-conscious and we know how to handle it. We dare you to take a look in our galleries knowing that pretty much all the couples felt this way. Can you see it? No! This is because we have the know-how and you have the love, and this makes magic! Trust us.