I've heard it countless times, "I hate being in front of the camera, I just feel so awkward!". If this is you, know that you're not alone! Take a deep breath and prepare yourself - because after these tips, you'll be ready for America's Next Top Model (.....or at least your next iPhone shoot with your bff):
1. Don't Pose
I sincerely value authentic moments and genuine emotion. These things are difficult to manifest in posed shots so I rarely work that way. Instead, I give my model direction as to what kind of feeling I want them to have. Consider the character you might be playing and think of it more like acting than posing. Who is your character? How do they carry themselves? How do they act when no one is watching? What is most important to them? These questions can help you establish a starting point for how to act in front of the camera.
The Massaband Family
2. Know What You Look Like
One of the best ways to be prepared for your photoshoot is to put in a little bit of practice. We're not all professional models but we can definitely work to become more aware of how we look. Start by staring at yourself in the mirror - and really look at yourself. Tilt your face from side to side then up and down and notice how these angles change the appearance of your facial structure. The other thing that seems to be really helpful is taking selfies (I know....but hear me out). Selfies are a zero-pressure way to see how you look on camera and if you take one that's less than flattering, just delete it!
Ultimately, catching your best angle is up to your photographer but if you come prepared, you'll feel more confident throughout your session. Depending on the photographer, you can also request to see a few frames during your shoot so that you have an idea of what you're looking like as you go!
Cat Cogliandro - Professional Choreographer
3. Don't Overthink It
In the age of digital photography, we have the freedom to experiment freely without wasting materials. This is excellent news for you as the subject because if an image doesn't work, we'll simply discard it - no harm and no foul! So laugh loudly, give your best model stare, or be a little weird! The last thing you want is for your images to be lifeless, so show some personality and don't be afraid to exaggerate. It's important to remember that not every image will be a winner and that you have to break out of your comfort zone and take a few chances to find those truly special shots. The more relaxed and open you can allow yourself to be, the better the images will turn out.
Therese Curatolo - Professional Singer
4. Loosen Up
I think movement can bring such a breath of life into an image so I encourage lots of it! You don't want to look like a barbie doll (or maybe you do..?) so make sure to bend your joints to avoid looking too stiff on camera. Similarly, be aware of your posture because it can completely change the feeling of an image. It's also important to recognize where you're holding tension in your body. The most common things that I see are tight or raised shoulders, tension in the jaw, and the holding of breath. Don't be afraid to take little breaks throughout your session to shake things out.
Sydney Newton - Aspiring Professional Dancer
5. Find a Photographer Who Makes You Comfortable
This is perhaps one of the most important factors in feeling at ease in front of the camera. If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of an overly creepy photographer, or one who insults your physique in any way, etc., then you know what I mean. Find a photographer who makes you feel not only comfortable but great about yourself! Do your research and get to know your photographer so that you can find someone you get along well with.
Jackie Ondrusek - High School Senior
I hope these tips help you feel more prepared for your next photography session. Let me know if you have other tips or techniques that you'd like to share in the comments
Thanks for Reading!