Don't you hate that awkward feeling ... when you're trying to pose for a photo but you just feel sooooo stiff? You want fun images that capture your real personality but you don't know how to "be natural".
It's a common feeling. That’s why I’ve compiled my five best tips on how to feel more comfortable and look more natural in front of the camera.
#1 - CONNECT WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Feeling relaxed and comfortable with your photographer will come through in your photos. The best way to do this is to get to know the person behind the camera. They’re on your side and want to make you look great. Connecting with a stranger can take time, so resist the impulse to rush your photo shoot and get it over as quickly as possible. The more time you spend with your photographer, the more relaxed you’ll become.
This is why my pre-session 'get to know you' phone call is so important. It's an opportunity for us to make that connection and come together to make your vision happen. I also reserve the first 15 minutes or so of each session to just chat with my clients and make them feel more at ease.
Some people think they have to look or act a certain way at a photo shoot, but the best photos capture the real you! So let your guard down and allow your personality to shine through. It’s when you feel comfortable that real emotions will show in your images.
Now that you're connected, transfer that engagement to the camera. Looking into a camera lens is super weird. It’s like staring into a big dead eye. Trying to connect with that is a losing battle that will make you feel stiff and awkward.
Instead, engage in a real conversation with the photographer. Look at the photographer’s eyes while you talk and then imagine “transferring” their eyes to the camera lens and continue the conversation as if you’re still looking at the photographer.
#2 – ADD SOME MOVEMENT
The best photos are often taken when my clients are not expecting them. They’re caught up in a moment and not worried about their pose or smile.
Sometimes we look stiff because our pose is too stiff - loosen up a bit! An easy way to do this is to add movement. Try going in and out of a pose to make it feel more natural or just forget posing all together and do what feels right. Your body position is SO much less important than your facial expression. If you feel comfortable you'll look comfortable.
At my photo shoots, I give my clients some basic posing guidance to bring out their awesomeness and then I encourage them to move and play and make each pose their own. That being said, there are two posing guidelines that lead to more flattering photos:
Posing Tip #1: Whatever is closest to the camera looks the largest.
You can use this to your advantage! Try leaning slightly forward so your head is closest to the lens and avoid putting an arm or leg closer to the camera than the rest of you. (unless you're going for the massive muscles look!)
Posing Tip #2: If it bends, bend it. Slightly.
This mostly applies to limbs. Straight arms and legs look stiff. Try holding your arms slightly away from your body with a soft bend at the elbow to create space and make your arms and waist look thinner. Bending the front knee and shifting your weight to the back leg also creates a more flattering figure.
#3 – DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS
Suddenly hyper aware of your hands once you’re in the spotlight? Try loosely putting your hands in your pockets, smoothing your hair, or resting a hand on your hip or by your side. I love to give my clients something to do, capturing them in action doing what they love.
#4 – GIVE A GENUINE SMILE - OR FAKE IT, BUT DON'T FORGET THE EYES
There are two main elements of a genuine smile – the mouth and the eyes. Don’t forget the eyes! They should sparkle and squint just a little, otherwise the happiness will look false and forced. The best way to a genuine smile is to actually feel like smiling. Here are a couple ways to get there:
Enjoy yourself! Photo shoots are not torture, in fact they can be quite fun! So let loose and relax. I'll create opportunities to connect and share and have a good time. My goal is to set you at ease so you feel comfortable enough to be yourself and maybe even forget about the camera.
Relive happy memories Think about a moment when you felt genuinely happy – you earned that big promotion, you got engaged, your kid took his first steps, or even when your dog ran into the glass door. Let that feeling wash over you and show on your face – from your eyebrows to your chin.
Fake it until it's real Laugh as big and absurdly as you can - as if being photographed is the most fun thing you've ever done. Eventually this will turn into real laughter and after that it will soften into a real – and flattering – expression of happiness.
If you still can’t find a genuine smile, there is a way to fake it. First choose a smile of some sort – even a slight grin will make you look much more attractive and warm than a straight face. Then squinch or "smize". Just narrow your eyes slightly into a not-quite-squint. Squinching makes you look more appealing and interested.
#5 - GET LOST IN THE MOMENT
Photos capture a moment. The moment you’re trying to capture is not “that time you smiled at a camera”. My technique is to guide my clients into more fun, interesting experiences. Once you start playing, the photo session will feel more fast and fluid and full of emotion. Break out your silly side - laugh, dance, and have fun with it. Getting out of your head will create more natural, spontaneous moments which are exactly what you’re trying to capture.
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Like what you see? Check out my personal branding gallery or send me a message below to learn how your business can benefit from a personal branding photo shoot. I'd love to get to know you and hear all about your passions.
Sending good vibes and love!
- Kasey, Fractured Frame Photography