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, and 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! But somewhere along the line, I wanted to get a little more creative with my posts – little did I know that it would help me into my role today as a content creator!
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 for those of you on Instagram!). He is an extremely bright, enthusiastic, and hilarious person and he very easily brought out the best in me when I didn’t think I was capable of taking good pictures. Having a friend as lively, active, and talented as he is, along with all of our similarities (especially for our mutual obsession with Tron!) it was pretty easy to develop a friendship, and that 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 called it! I was always so tense in front of the camera and it definitely showed in the pictures, so usually before one of our shoots we would go get some food and alcoholic beverages at Cove Bar (now it’s the Lamplight Lounge). 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.
Fast forward a year and I met one of the most incredible human beings on the face of planet Earth, Ashley (or @ashhtaylor). She is also a content creator and she was killing the picture game long before we met. Sooner or later we started having our own Disney days and 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 “modeling” in front of an entire line waiting to get on a ride, it can still be fairly weird. I mean for reference, all of the pictures I took with this Dumbo statue right outside of the exit for the Dumbo ride were in front of the longest line for both Dumbo AND Casey Jr.
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 little tips that I developed for getting in front of the camera more or to just make your picture-taking more fun:
- 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 certain posts I wanted to make, 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.
- 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!
- 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. 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.
- Play music! Honestly, I still play music when I have the chance to without disrupting other people’s experience. I play music that makes me feel fierce, invincible, and what puts a smile on my face. My go-to is Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato! 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 whole lot of songs that will help me pose and have the certain facial expressions that I want out of the theme of my picture. (CLICK HERE for my full playlist of music that I use during a shoot)
- Get your photographer involved! This sounds weird, right? But trust me, if your photographer is having fun with it and being a dork or talking to you during it, you’ll find that you don’t feel so much like they are taking your picture as much as they are just hanging out with you. My boyfriend, Cody, loves doing this by saying things like “oh girl, get it. POSE POSE WORK IT! You fierce girl, you fierce!!” Having someone like this behind the camera definitely brings a smile to your face that is SO natural that it just radiates beauty for miles. Not to mention that your pictures will come out looking stunning!
- 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.
- 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 come out looking 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.
- If all else fails, get an alcoholic drink (if you are of legal drinking age)! 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!! YOU GOT THIS!
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! My next big step is learning to feel more comfortable in front of the camera during videos. A good baby step into this has been my constant videos on my Instagram Stories! Learning to get used to the sound of your own voice and how important it is to be lively and active while on video has helped me be able to record other content.
With these 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, after all, practice makes perfect! I hope these tips help you take pictures like a freaking boss next time you need content for your social media! Work past those uncomfortable feelings you may feel at the beginning (I know I had to!!) because once you get past the initial feelings, you will start to glow on your own! And I hope that you can tell me about your success soon and share some tips that you found helpful to do for yourself.
Now get out there and take some pics!!!
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