I am wearing a white denim jacket, a sparkly pastel rainbow dress, and a pair of Mouseketeer ears. I am spinning so my dress is twirling and my hair is flipped out to the side.

8 Tips on Feeling More Comfortable in Front of the Camera

During my journey into making content, one of my biggest apprehensions starting out was getting in front of the camera. I had never been the one to like all the attention on me. However having a small shop kind of put me at the forefront to modeling my own shirts and products. Needless to say, I had to learn quickly to get over it. And now I want to share with you my eight tips on feeling more comfortable in front of camera.

My Journey to Feeling More Comfortable on Camera

Donna Gail posing and laughing in photoshoot - feeling comfortable on camera
One of my first shoots with John back in 2017! I was always so nervous and often looked down or closed my eyes for pictures.

It took A LOT for me to even start getting in front of the camera. One of the biggest things that helped me break out of my shell was taking pictures with my photographer friend, John (or @dizmagic on Instagram). Having a friend as lively, active, and talented as he is made getting in front of the camera so much easier because I knew I would be comfortable in front of him and that he would bring out the best in me!

But the flip side of having a friend like that also meant that he would yell at me to loosen up, and to “do something different with your face!”. Of course I didn’t appreciate his loving remarks, but he was right. I was always so tense in front of the camera and it definitely showed in the pictures. So before one of our shoots we would go get some food and alcoholic beverages. And let me tell you, the liquid courage found at the bottom of any one of those beverages is probably what made my face start to do some different things! But.. alcohol is not the best way to go for long-term solutions.

Donna Gail posing near Dumbo ride in Disneyland - feeling comfortable on camera
This Dumbo photoshoot was one of my favorites! I loved my themed outfit so much and it made me feel so cute that I just radiated (despite the fact that I was being watched by many people).

Fast forward a year and I met Ashley (or @ashhtaylor). She gave me some tips on how to feel more confident, more smiley, and less fake-feeling in front of the camera. With both John and Ashley’s help, I have developed my own confidence in getting in front of the camera and it’s not as scary as I once thought! But to be fair, any time I have to start taking pictures in public, it can still be fairly weird.

Anyway, I know how hard it is to have that confidence to step in front of the camera. Especially when it feels like everyone you follow on Instagram is naturally photogenic. I’ve been there, and now I want to pass on my own tips that I developed for feeling more comfortable in front of the camera. Or these can even just make your picture-taking more fun.

Here are my 8 tips on feeling more comfortable in front of the camera:

1. Wear what makes you feel beautiful or handsome

Whether that is makeup, no makeup, high heels, jeans, a bowtie – whatever! Wearing something that you don’t feel comfortable or confident in will only result in a picture that you look uncomfortable in. I have changed my outfits for photoshoots specifically because I wasn’t comfortable with what I was wearing and it definitely showed in the pictures I was taking. If you feel uncomfortable then you will look uncomfortable – trust me.

2. Look up posing references

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with your body (especially your hands!), but by looking at what other people are doing, it might give you some direction. I personally like to ‘save’ some posts on Instagram when I see someone doing a pose that I want to keep in mind when I am taking pictures. This also becomes very helpful to do for me when I need ideas for posing with products for a campaign. I don’t want to make it look like I am just holding products at the camera – it’s more fun if I am more involved obviously!

3. Don’t try to pose

This is kind of a disclaimer for the above point. Everyone you see on those posts or in magazines developed their own personal style of posing for what feels natural to them. In other words, they have already developed their own confidence and comfortability on camera. Don’t go in front of the camera trying to mimic EXACTLY what someone else did, just use those poses as a reference. You’re you! Act and react as YOU would otherwise it may look fake. Sooner or later you will develop your own natural way of posing that looks and feels 100% you.

4. Play music

Honestly, I still play music when I have the chance to without disrupting other people in public. I play music that makes me feel fierce, invincible, and what puts a smile on my face. Playing music will help loosen you up and it will help you have something to react to – pose-wise and facial-wise. I have a lot of songs that help me pose and portray the feelings of the theme of my picture. (Listen to my curated playlist on Spotify to give you the confidence you need to take some great pictures)

5. Get your photographer involved

This sounds weird, right? But trust me, if your photographer is having fun with it, you’ll find that you don’t feel so uncomfortable. It will feel less like they are taking your picture and more like they are just hanging out with you. My fiancé, Cody, loves doing this by saying things like “oh girl, get it. POSE POSE WORK IT!” Having someone like this behind the camera definitely brings a smile to your face. And that smile will be so natural that it just radiates beauty for miles. Not to mention that your pictures will come out looking stunning!

6. Don’t be afraid to dance

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the music tip. I found it easier to pose when I was dancing at the same time because a lot of my poses were just dance moves that I stopped doing for a split second for the picture and then kept right on going. This will also help you loosen up your shoulders. If you’re tense or nervous, it will show in your shoulders.

7. Wear sunglasses

I found it much less intimidating to be in front of the camera when I was hiding my eyes. Especially because I could look down or to the side and the pictures would look like I was looking at the camera. My sunglasses were able to hide my shy eyes and the pictures came out looking a little more confident! Not to mention with the current times of wearing a mask, that also helps tremendously! There are still some people I feel self conscious taking pictures with, and wearing a mask helps me to not have look like I am faking a smile in front of them for a picture.

Going back to my OG days of taking pictures, I know this will help. I’m sure we all know the effects that a drink has in boosting confidence, plus it will get you feeling a little bit loosey-goosey and not so stiff. Pair this with wearing your favorite shades and playing music if you’re still feeling nervous, and I promise this will work!

Donna Gail twirling in a pastel rainbow dress - feeling comfortable on camera
Getting my sister involved with helping me take pictures brought out a beautiful, natural smile to this shoot
Donna Gail posing for Mardi Gras photoshoot - feeling comfortable on camera
While listening to “Almost There”, I was able to feel so comfortable getting my whole body involved for this fun Tiana Mardi Gras picture
Donna Gail overlooking the Las Vegas Bellagio fountain - feeling comfortable on camera
Wearing a mask or sunglasses definitely helps to hide possible insecurities about posing in public
Donna Gail Disney Bounding as a Stormtrooper in Galaxy's Edge Disneyland - feeling comfortable on camera
When you feel fierce in your outfit options, you are sure to create equally as fierce content

Practice Makes Perfect

After a few years of working on my own style to take pictures, I can now take pictures in almost any setting naturally and happily. It takes some time to feel comfortable on camera whether it’s picture or video so give yourself time. Change does not happen in one single photoshoot.

With these 8 tips, you can be sure to feel more confident in front of the camera. It’s not so scary and it’s not that intimidating once you get used to it because practice makes perfect! I hope these tips help you take pictures next time you need content for your social media. Work past those uncomfortable feelings because once you get past that, you will start to glow on your own.

Find more helpful tips on www.donnagailblog.com

Feeling confident and comfortable on camera


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