Are you camera shy? So many of my couples have shared with me that they feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m a bit camera shy myself! Even as a photographer, I don’t always feel comfortable on the other side of the camera! My job as a photographer is to make sure that my couples feel comfortable and confident in their engagement sessions and during their weddings. A camera is no reason to be nervous. Over the years of photographing weddings, I have come up with a few ways as to how to be more comfortable in front of the camera. So, if you’re a bit camera shy, like me… keep these points in mind before your next photo session.
Feeling Comfortable in Front of the Camera
Try to Relax!
Firstly, it’s important to understand that being camera shy is a typical initial reaction. Most people don’t enjoy being in front of a camera. The idea itself induces anxiety. Many people haven’t had a professional photo taken since the dreaded school picture day! But a photo session with your partner should be fun, not stressful. Rather than treating a photo session as a chore, think of it as a date! Its time spent together, often in one of your favorite environments. Whether your photo session is indoors or outdoors, try to enjoy the environment and use it as a time to connect with each other. A photo session with the right photographer should be fun, not stressful!
Give yourself time to relax, don’t force it. Usually, it takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes to relax in front of a camera. Some people find it easier to feel comfortable in front of the camera than others. If you’re especially camera shy, it might take some time to feel better.
A photo session is not a continuous picture after picture experience. It involves walking around, engaging with your photographer and your partner and taking breaks. It’s not sitting in one place awkwardly in front of a camera. In fact, you won’t even be posing most of the time. Some of the best pictures are candid moments that happen naturally between you and your partner. It might be in the quiet moments between poses or the way you walk together, naturally holding hands. My job, as your photographer, is to see and anticipate those moments.
Be thoughtful of the time you might need to relax when choosing the length of your photo session. If you are especially camera shy, give yourself enough time to feel comfortable in front of the camera. People who have never had a photo session don’t know how it goes. Typically, an experienced photographer sees the dynamic and will engage with the couple in a way that will help them to relax and guide them to know what to do.
Talk to Your Photographer
The best advice I can give to help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera is to communicate with your photographer. If you’re nervous about how you look, tell your photographer. If you really don’t like the way your chin looks, tell your photographer. Do you think that your smile looks fake in pictures? Tell your photographer. The combination of light, lenses and a professional photographer’s skill might surprise you!
Don’t worry about what to do with your hands, where to look, or how to pose. Leave that to your photographer. Try not to worry about your angles that are less flattering (or rather, the angles YOU think are less flattering). Be open about your concerns and share them with your photographer. The more your photographer knows about your photography anxieties, the better they can coach and pose you to look your best!
When it comes to being camera shy, the key is to get comfortable. That means that you should wear something you feel good wearing and be somewhere that makes you happy. Don’t wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable. No matter how beautiful the shoes are, if they hurt—don’t wear them. If you’re worried about your dress bunching up or sliding off your shoulders, wear a different dress. Don’t force it. Wear something that makes you feel like a million dollars.
Choose a location that means something to you. Or choose a location you’ve been curious about to explore and enjoy together. It might be a favorite park or your favorite beach. Think of locations that are personal and relevant to you and your partner. Engagement sessions can be anywhere from a bookstore to an abandoned factory; from a sandy beach to a windy mountaintop. Of course, as a California wedding photographer, I can find all kinds of locations! The most important thing is that the location is important to you.
Minimizing Your Camera Shyness
When discomfort arises, understand that it will pass, or at the very least… it will lessen somewhat. From my experience as a photographer, most of the couples I took pictures of admitted that they were anxious about the session, but it turned out to be a great experience. I would like to say that I am a miracle worker… but the truth is: it’s usually the anticipation is worse than the reality.
What’s interesting is that men typically hate being photographed more than women! In general, men don’t like to be exposed. It’s harder for us to feel comfortable in front of the camera. But, without exception, men have the biggest surprise once they start relaxing.
One of the best ways to make sure you look great in your wedding photography is to have an engagement session. Choose the photographer that you feel comfortable around and ask him how an engagement session goes. On the wedding day, it will be very easy if you already had an engagement session with the same photographer. You already know each other and have a rapport built which might make you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. If you haven’t had an engagement session, the same rules apply: give yourself and your photographer enough camera time, be present, keep calm, and enjoy the experience.
In the end, it’s all about getting over your discomfort. Don’t take it too seriously. Think about how many times we overcome our discomfort in our lives. We are built to handle and adapt to almost any situation in life! I hope these thoughts will help you feel more comfortable the next time you find yourself in front of a camera.
If you need more tips, send me a message or give me a ring. I’m happy to help.