I get it, it’s awkward to be in front of the camera. You’re the center of attention, and someone’s snapping pictures of your awkwardness, and you’re thinking, “These are going to turn out awful, and this is useless”. Or you’re self conscious about the way you smile, or the way your nose is shaped.

Here are some useful tips to overcome these challenges during a photo session:

  • Relax. I know, that’s what everyone says, right? Easier said than done! But really, get to know your photographer first. Before the session, sit down together in a relaxed environment and chat. Talk about the vision you have in mind for your dream photo shoot, and any insecurities you may have. Talk about life. Joke around. Break the ice. Loosen up. That way, during your photo session you are already comfortable with who’s behind that camera that’s pointing at you, and you’re confident they’ll capture your vision. During the shoot, relax your shoulders, and for the ladies, relax your hips. Don’t stand straight as a board, but make your body curve. This gives a more flattering look, and an over-all relaxed and comfortable feel to the photos. And don’t forget to just have a good time! Don’t force a smile, but make some jokes and laugh. Genuine smiles are really the most beautiful, and nothing can beat that.

  • Get real. Don’t pretend you’re someone you’re not. Be yourself. This is why getting to know your photographer is important, is because not everyone is comfortable to loosen up with someone they don’t know very well.

  • Use a prop. Hands are very useful tools, but not when it comes to taking photos. You’re constantly changing positions, and you’re just confused and at a loss for what to do with them. If you don’t have pockets, that only makes the struggle worse, and you just end up letting them hang at your sides like limp noodles. But think about how you stand and where you naturally put your hands when you’re talking with a friend or listening to a conversation. Do you fold your arms? Do you put one hand on your hip? Do you play with your hair? Natural is always better. If you still don’t know what to do with your hands, or forget what comes natural to you (like me), bring a prop to your photo session! Something that’s meaningful to you that you wouldn’t mind in your photos. I mean if you love food, bring a bowl of soup or a bag of Doritos as a prop! Also having an object nearby is handy, too. A wall to lean against, or a hay bale to sit on. If you’re photographing with a friend, a family member, or a partner, interaction with them gets genuine reaction and connection that allows more authentic, candid photos. Whether it’s holding hands with your fiancé and joking about how much you hate photo shoots, or hugging your sister from behind and blowing in her ear, interaction with someone close to you will automatically make the poses more relaxed and genuine.

I hope these tips will be useful for when you’re planning for your next photo shoot! What’s most important is to have fun, and don’t make it a drudge.

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