For many people, myself included, having your photograph taken is rather uncomfortable. Most people suddenly become aware of the way they look, their body language, the tilt of their head, and all these little things they normally take for granted and never think about. That leads us to look stiff, uncomfortable and unnatural.
The reasons for this fear are numerous - just count all the bad snapshots of yourself and you can come up with a number. We know from past performance that future snapshots of us are going to make us look unattractive. Plus a large camera can just look scary.
Why do we all have so many bad photographs of ourselves? There are a couple of reasons. The first is the quality of photographer. Cruddy photographer = cruddy pictures of ourselves. Please everyone, learn to make the most of your gear - your friends will thank you! The second is quality of light. Most bad photographs have bad light. If you see the photographs with your face super bright and the background black, where you looking at the sun and had to squint, when your face was sickly green from being next to a neon sign, that is bad light. Another thing that kills the spirit of a good image is point and shoot cameras (and their even worse cousin the camera phone). All you have to do is point and shoot and you too can have another horrible image of your friend.
So now that we know why we have a fear of cameras (experience), let’s look at reasons and ways to get comfortable with the camera. Let’s face it, people that are relaxed and having fun look better in photographs. However, even if you are relaxed and having fun, there is still a reason to be scared of your friend’s cameras anytime the clock is past midnight!
Here are some good ideas to make your time in front of the camera more enjoyable
- Choose a good photographer. If you can find a photographer (namely me, but I suppose it can apply to someone else), that you love their work and the way people look in the photographs, it can reduce your stress and help you relax. We don’t want to show you a bad photograph of you. It is in our self interest to make you happy and look good. That way you will tell your friends how great I am, how good I made you look, and how wonderful I was to work with. :)
- Choose hair, makeup and clothing that you think you look good in, and you feel comfortable wearing. If you feel like you look your best, that confidence comes through. At some point, it doesn’t matter how great the shoes look if your face is a mask of pain.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Little annoyances, unexpected events, and the unplanned will and do happen. Don’t expect perfection. These things happen and they can be cause for tears or laughter. Choose the laughter.
- Expect misbehavior. Little kids and groomsmen always choose the worst time (namely photograph time) to act like children. Don’t worry, we can make it work for us. Some of the photographs I’ve taken when kids were running around acting like complete goofballs (or groomsmen) have turned out to be some of my favorites. When you kind of expect that sort of “show-off” behavior, it makes it funny rather than annoying.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Genuine feelings show through and authentic emotions rock.
- Have fun. Make jokes, laugh, and enjoy your friends and family, and it will show in the images.
- And finally, be open to ideas. If you have chosen a great photographer, let him come up with ideas for you to try. Let yourself be guided. Even some of the things that you don’t think will work, can turn in some amazing images.
Let me know if you think of something that should be added to the list!