I have seen this scenario on multiple occasions: A woman, who is incredibly self-confident, beautiful, and very expressive decides to have a photo shoot. She comes to the studio has her hair and makeup done, the entire time incredibly chatty, vivacious; it’s time to start shoot…and she is freezes…like a deer in headlights!
There are many reasons for one to be camera-shy! Standing in front of a camera is no easy tasks, there is a lot going on during a shoot, and it can become incredibly intimidating the first time around! The key to not freezing is pre-preparing for a shoot. These tips work at any stage of the process that you are in; whether you are still deciding to plan a shoot, storyboarding, or it’s weeks before a shoot and you are starting to feel nervous.
Tips and Tricks to becoming Camera Ready:
- Visualization Imagine (eyes open or closed), that you are standing in the woods, it’s a breathtaking sight. There is a babbling creek that flows in your direction, the colors are vibrant, trees are tall, and there is patch of flowers blooming under a gorgeous weeping willow. The day is perfectly warm, with a slight breeze, you smell the richness of the earth, the sun peaks through the trees creating these streaks of light, your bare feet connecting to the ground, there is a life energy to this place that feels mystical. Looking down you see that you are wearing white, this allows you to connect to all that is around you. Every sensation is heightened. As you take a deep breath you begin to feel as though you are being watched, not in an eerie way, just that someone or something is observing the beauty of your soul. As you look across the creek you see a deer, this deer is looking at you intently. At first it stays back for a bit, slowly the two of you become more comfortable with each other, the deer feels it is safe to observe you and your actions closer, so it approaches you. There is a tenderness between you and the deer as it captures, and observes you. As you explore this beautiful patch of woods, you being to feel more comfortable and vulnerable with the deer. Your movements become less rigid as there is a rhythm between the two of you, a bond. Now, take the deer, and replace it with a person holding a camera.
- Look in a mirror When you get out of the shower, are getting dressed in the morning, doing your makeup, really LOOK at yourself. Point out one thing that you love about your body or your face and SAY IT OUT LOUD!! Observe how you comb your hair, or apply mascara, and then slightly change the action. Go from combing your hair straight down to bringing your hair to the side and slightly forward and then drawing the brush through it! Make silly expressions in the mirror. Make serious expressions, happy expressions. Be over the top with them! Say your vowels (A, E, I, O, U, Y) and watch how your expressions change, take those expressions exaggerate them and then shrink them back down. The more you do this the more you become comfortable making faces.
- Strike a pose Whether you’re doing the dishes, folding laundry or getting into bed. Take a moment, and like Madonna says in her song Vogue ,”Strike a pose”! Get sexy, get silly, get serious. Get moving!! Get in front of a mirror, pose, take a selfie. Learn your body. Learn your movements, just like with expression. The more you figure out how your body works the less awkward you will feel in front of the camera!
- Stretch Eventually I plan on putting together a stretching series to do before, and after a photo shoot, but until I am cleared by a doctor that will be waylaid. So for now I suggest checking out different stretched that work your neck, arms, mid/lower back and legs. This will help with your posing. Going into a shoot feeling tight will make certain posing positions uncomfortable. This will help to alleviate pain, pinch and possible injury. Stretch early, and often, you will see results.
- Allow photos- Give friends, and family permission to start taking photos of you where ever you are (within reason, and appropriately), ask them to send the photos to you and study them. This let’s you learn about yourself in photos, and it get’s you comfortable with having someone take photos of you. Look at the way you move, your expressions, learn what you dislike about your movements, and go back out and have them do it again.
- Take a dance class I started dancing when I was about 4. I have trained in all different style from lyrical, ballroom, ice dancing, all the way to pole dancing, and burlesque. Dancing has helped me with my modeling tremendously! Unfortunately do to a neck injury I have been unable to dance for almost three years. I miss it very much. The benefits of dance go hand in hand with modeling, you learn about how to move your body, muscle isolation and control, you strengthen and tone all areas of you learn breathing techniques, it helps with posing, concentration, energy, following a movement through! I could go on! There really is no downside to dancing, unless it is recommended by a doctor that you should stay away.
- *Point your toes (and turn out)- this is called finishing/ following a movement through. Again, this can be done doing pretty much anything, and the more you get in the habit of it before a photo shoot, the less your photographer will comment on it. It’s a simple movement: look at your foot, it naturally points up, ever so slightly take it from pointing up to pointing forward, and out. Now that your toes are slightly pointing forward, turn your foot slightly out. This creates a more finished look.
- Posture- Imagine that there is a string that goes from the bottom of your back to the top of your head, and there is someone who is pulling the string, forcing you to stand tall and put your shoulders back.
- Get outside-Get outside, go out into nature, feel the sun or the rain on your skin, feel life inside of you, get in touch with the world around you. Feel. Play with your pets, take your dog for a walk. Be present! Be in the moment! See the beauty of life!
- Breathe- Breathe deep. Take a deep breath in, let it fill your diaphragm, hold it, now let it out while counting 1, 2,3, 4. And again. Let it center you.
These are some tips that help me pre-prepare for you shoot. Again, they can be used before, during and after a shoot. These are just some of the I do to get ready to stand in front of a camera! If any one has a different process please let me know, I am always open to learning! Don’t forget to follow Persephone’s Pinup!!
*I will be demonstrating how to point ones toes in the article Posing 101.