Trust me, I get it. Having your photo taken can be awkward and challenging if you’ve never done it before, hence why I stand behind the camera. With that said, there are a few simple ways which you can become more relaxed and comfortable on camera in no time. These tips have nothing to do with posing rather creating an environment where you can feel more comfortable.
Meet your photographer First
This may sound obvious, like “yeah of course we have met our photographer.“ If this is you, well done, you have cracked the code. The majority of people who go to have their photos taken, even on their wedding day, have never met their photographer prior. It’s no surprise then that the first 30 minutes of taking photos can be awkward. Let’s be real, meeting anyone for the first time is awkward, let alone having them take photos of you. So if you are going to have your photos taken, try getting there a little earlier and meeting with the Photographer first, just to chat and break the ice. You’ll be surprised how much this can help.
If you are getting married, a great way to calm the nerves before your wedding day is have an Engagement Session. Not only is this a great way to break the ice and meet your Photographer but it also gives you a taste of what it will be like to have your photo taken for an extended time. Better to get used to it now rather than in front of your whole family on your big day!
Find comfort in your partner
This sounds trivial but it doesn’t always come second nature when a camera is pointed at you. A lot of people freeze up, get stiff and forget that their partner is right next to them. The best way to become comfortable on camera is to remember that you’re not doing this alone. Look at your partner, interact with them and crack your own jokes (because mine aren’t that funny) whilst trying to forget that the camera is even there. Trust me, these interactions will photograph very nicely.
Choose a secluded photoshoot location
For me, this is the holy grail. I do not want to have my photo taken in front of other people, especially people who I may know. If you’re like me then make sure you plan your photoshoot in a more secluded location where no one else is likely to be. This may involve driving a little further to get to the spot but it’s definitely worth it for the care-free photos.
It’s all about confidence when taking photos so make sure you wear something that you feel super comfortable in. If you’re worried your dress is too short or you can’t walk in your heels then I guarantee that discomfort will come through in photos. Of course, this means less on your wedding day because you should feel like an 11/10 but do take note of other things like your hair, make-up and jewellery. You want to feel as confident as possible in the clothes you are wearing.
Staged photos can look incredible if done correctly but they are super awkward and difficult to pull off. Couples aren’t models and being made to pose for magazine style images is always going to make you look uncomfortable especially if you’re not used to having your photo taken. Instead, try moving around more and just interacting with your partner. Unscripted moments always make for the best images so try to just have fun with it. Of course there is only so much moving around that you can do. Once you’ve gotten used to the camera being there, that’s the time you should try for those fancy editorial shots.
Start further away and slowly come closer
This is one for couples as well as photographers. Starting further away and slowly coming forward creates distance between you and the camera which makes you feel more comfortable. As a Photographer, I love to give my couples space early in the session by using a longer zoom lens and standing a good 20 metres away. Then as everyone becomes more comfortable you can move in nice and close to the camera to capture those more intimate portraits.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, in fact when constructive feedback is couples tend to become more relaxed because they are doing a good job. If you are ever unsure if you look awkward, just ask. Sometimes it’s better to be honest about these things so you can change it next time. A good photographer is usually giving you loads feedback on the run as they know how important it is that you know you’re doing a good job.
Put Some tunes on
Another great way to let your hair down and get comfortable is to throw your favourite playlist on. Nothing makes people more relaxed then jamming out to some of their favourite music. A lot of photographers I know will take a portable speaker to their sessions so be sure to ask them if you can put some of your music on.
pick the right Photographer
After everything you have read here I hope you can see how important the right photographer is to making great images. Make sure your photographer is someone you feel comfortable to be yourself around and who isn’t going to judge you when you want to take silly photos. Make sure that they vibe with your energy and can create the best images to portray you. If you’re getting photos at the beach then choose a photographer who shares your love of the ocean. If you would feel more comfortable with a female photographer then choose a female photographer. Do whatever makes you more comfortable.