If you’re anything like 99% of my clients, I’m guessing you don’t like being behind the camera. As soon as someone points a camera at you, you become awkward and start pulling strange, unnatural smiles. I empathise. I really do. I’m super uncomfortable in front of a camera too!!
I’m much happier the other side of the lens and after taking thousands of photographs I’ve learnt a thing or too about capturing natural photos of someone, so here are my top tips for you.
1. Carry out some research.
Set some time aside and look back through old photos of yourself and find the ones you like. Why do you like them? Are there certain angles you prefer? How are you smiling? What clothes are you wearing. How is your hair styled? Do you suit some colours more than others? You could also flick through some magazines, or some Pinterest boards and see if anything pops out as shots/poses you fancy trying.
Jot any ideas you have down and collect all the images you like together in one place. You can share these with your photographer and this leads me nicely onto my next tip….
2. Find a photographer you’re comfortable with
A photographer can make or break your portraits so I’d spend some time asking for recommendations and looking at different portfolios. Find someone whose style you like and then get in touch with them. I’d recommend speaking with them initially to gauge how you connect. If possible, I’d highly recommend meeting with them for a pre-consultation prior to the shoot, either in person or via a video link. Firstly, it means you can ask all the questions you have, brainstorm how and where you’d like to be photographed, discuss styling etc.. but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it means that you’ve already met and started to build a relationship which means you’re not meeting a stranger on the day of the shoot. A good photographer should guide you through this process. They should make you feel like you’re in safe hands.
3. Make sure you feel the bee’s knees!
It kind of goes without saying but if you’re looking good, you’ll feel good and this confidence will come across in your portraits.
If you need a haircut/blow dry/manicure schedule these in. Put some thought into what you going to wear. It should be comfortable and make you feel knock-out. Your photographer will be able to advise you what works well on camera ( and what doesn’t) - in a nutshell avoid thin stripes/checks - these create a weird effect in photos and avoid large patterns as they can distract from your face!! Ask them for stylist recommendations if pulling outfits together isn’t your strength.
On the day of the shoot, try and relax as much as possible. Believe it not you could end up having a lot of fun!! Put your trust in the photographer you have chosen. They are an expert and will direct and coach you through the whole thing. Remember, they want you to come away with images that you LOVE just as much as you do.
For lots more info on planning a personal branding session you could take a look at my Ultimate Guide to Rocking Your Personal Branding Shoot. You can download a copy here.