Tips for overcoming the pre-session nerves (and we all get them!)
If you're like most people (including me), the idea of getting in front of a camera is a little bit terrifying. There's a lot of pressure, and suddenly you're self-conscious and awkward so then you get anxious, and before you know it you've got a gallery of photos where you look like an extra from Revenge of the Nerds (if you don't get the reference, I encourage you to check that movie out - it's a cult classic).
So…how do you get over those nerves and get into a self-confident, I’m a bad-ass headspace? There are a few things you can do, actually. Check out these tips below:
First, it's important to communicate with whomever you're working with beforehand. If I'm your photographer, tell me what you're worried about. I've got a few tricks up my sleeve to help with nerves, but more importantly I'm here to listen to what you need. This session is all about making you look & feel your best, so that's what we're going to do.
Don't laugh, but I recommend that you take some time to practice posing and facial expressions in front of a mirror. You're going to feel like a crazy person, but I promise, it will help you feel more comfortable and confident in front of the camera. The more you know and understand what your body can do, the more you can control it. Same with your expressions. A lot of why we feel awkward in front of the camera is just not knowing "what to do" with ourselves. If you practice ahead of time and learn to control your facial and body movements, you'll feel TONS more comfortable once I raise the camera to my eye.
Choosing the right outfit can also make a big difference in how you feel during the shoot. Wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable, and avoid anything that is too tight or restrictive. For a more in-depth exploration into styling yourself (and your partner) for your photo session, check out my Instagram feed for some quick tips, or send me an email and let me know you'd love to see my styling guide. I'm happy to share!
If you booked a solo session and you're terrified you'll make a fool of yourself, bring a friend along! They can be your cheerleader, your security blanket, your comic relief - whatever you need!
Having someone you're comfortable with can make the difference between dreading your photo session and laughing all the way through it. And that, my friend, is what makes excellent pictures.
Think of what you'd do to comfort a friend or loved one who was feeling nervous - and do those things for yourself. Need some ideas?
* Take yourself out for a fancy coffee (or tea, if you prefer)
* Go for a walk in Nature (fresh air is sooooo good for the soul!)
* Put on your favorite playlist and turn up the volume (and consider sharing that playlist with me so we can listen to it during the shoot!)
It's natural when you're nervous to hold your breath, but if you focus on breathing - controlling your breath - your nerves will calm themselves and you'll be relaxed and ready for your closeup!
Finally, try to have fun and enjoy the experience! Remember that I'm here to bring out and capture you at your best, and I will guide you through the process to ensure we get the best results. Dance it out if you feel yourself getting stiff, laugh it off if you feel like you're being awkward and weird (you'll be in good company because that's how I am 90% of the time), and always - always - let me know if you need a little boost. I promise...I've got you!
Nancy Dinsmore is a Gainesville, Florida-based photographer specializing in Lifestyle Engagement, Maternity, and Newborn Photography.