WHY WE SHOULD PRACTICE BEING PHOTOGRAPHED
Most photographers that I know (including me) don't have their own photos taken very often. Why is that? Shouldn't those of us whose livelihoods revolve around photography have our own photos taken? Some of us avoid it because we feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in front of the camera...and those feelings are completely valid! But how can we create an amazing client experience if we don't even know how people feel on the other side of the camera?! If you haven't had your photos made in a while...it is time to change that!
I now believe that all photographers should have their own photos made--often, and by several different photographers! A great way to put this into practice is to agree to do a trade with another photographer! I have done this a couple of times and it is SO fun. I have actually done this with a photographer whose work I had followed for a long time, and we met on the day of the shoot we arranged! (I'm looking at you Elli McGuire!) ;) Our fun photoshoot trade turned into a coffee date!
If you like someone's work and you're going to be in their area, or if they are local to you, send them a quick email to reach out and see if they would be interested in doing a trade shoot. It's super fun to do this as a couple too, if you have a significant other! AJ & I did this with Kelly & Bryson of Moving Mountains Photography and it just felt like a super fun double date! :)
I had a photo session with the lovely Ashley Bean last week, and it was so much fun! I was seriously blown away by how much I loved the images. She captured my personality so well! I wanted to take some time to share some things I have learned from the past few times I have had my photos taken:
1. Praise and affirmation are SO important.
Everyone likes to feel good, right? We all love to hear positive things about ourselves--it makes us feel confident and empowered, which is exactly how you should feel when you are having your photos taken! When other photographers have complimented my eyes, or my smile, or my outfit...it usually makes me smile even more, and I am able to get comfortable with my own personality in front of the camera. Tell people that they are doing a great job, and be specific! "I love how your hair falls when you brush your hand through like that--it looks so good!" is way more empowering than just saying, "you're doing great." Silence is uncomfortable, so keep talking to them and building them up so they have something to listen to, and a reason to smile!
2. Seeing yourself in photographs can help you pose your clients.
There are two ways this can help you. I have seen certain photos of me that I have loved and thought, "wow, I love this one--what did the photographer do to get that expression out of me?" Most of the time it's because they said something that made me smile or laugh, or they posed me in a way that made me feel confident. Maybe I would not have thought to pose someone a certain way, but because another photographer did that with me, I'm going to try it with my clients! Another way that seeing your photos can help you pose your own clients is through understanding what you don't like about your posing. For example, I know I tend to bring my chin down in photos. I don't know why. It just happens. And I usually hate it afterwards, but I never realize I'm doing it! Ashley very gently and politely asked me lift my chin up a few times during my session with her, and I'm so glad she did! I know that I wouldn't love the photos nearly as much if my chin was down in all of them! Now I know to take that tip to my own clients, and by gently directing their head position, I can make them feel so much more conficent.
3. It's okay to not look at the camera all the time.
Some of my favorite photos are ones that I am actually looking away!!! I love the sweetness and innocence of looking slightly off to the side of the camera, or even down at the ground! It gives the photos a somewhat candid look, which can be really nice! It's a great way for people to warm up to the camera. If you sense that someone might me a little more shy or timid, have them look down for a few shots, and THEN bring their eyes up toward you!
There's still a part of me that gets very nervous and uncomfortable in front of the camera, but with the right photographer, you can warm up to it very quickly! I think it so important that those of us who photography people ALL THE TIME be photographed as well. I learn something new every time that will only enhance my client experience! And, the more I get my photo taken, the more confident and comfortable I am! I plan to have my photos taken much more often!