It took courage for you to reach out to the photographer of your choice. You did your research and finally found the one you hope will work with you the best. But it's your first time being photographed professionally, or maybe it has been awhile, and you're worried you'll look stupid; that no matter how good the photographer is or how well she lights you, you'll end up looking goofy, old or worse, fat, and it will all have been a waste of time and money.
This is not just a woman worry, this is an every person worry. Unless you're under the age of 16, or model professionally, you'll be dealing with "stage nerves." It's natural and a part of every photoshoot I've ever done. But there are ways to make things easier on yourself and turn what could be a flustered, deer in the headlights experience into something you'll remember with joy and newfound confidence.
First, you've got to establish even a passing rapport with your photographer. Don't go about everything via email and omit taking a few minutes of his time to actually speak with him on the phone, by Skype or better yet, over a quick coffee. It is so much easier to establish a more relaxed, trusting relationship with your photographer if you get to look into each other's eyes, assess his vibe and make sure you are on the same page about what you want from your shoot. You may not know this person yet but the pre-session consult should get you excited enough to move forward with the booking.
Second, wear clothes that make you feel good. Don't settle for the "I guess this looks fine" or the "I don't know, I'll just wear what is comfortable" attitude about what you bring to the shoot. Be self-loving and a little daring, and focus on items that showcase your assets. That dress might feel tight after a four hour date but for a few minutes of shoot time, it will do wonders for your confidence. Maybe choose one item you adore and speak with your photographer about how you want to incorporate that into the session. It could be a hat, or a string of pearls, or a pair of skinny jeans that make you feel like Shania Twain belting out, "I feel like WOMAN!". And if you aren't sure what you should be wearing and need a little help, consider using the services of a fashion stylist. Some photographers like I do, have one on staff or they can recommend someone.
Third, allow yourself to engage in conversation during the shoot. A seasoned photographer will always be ready to loosen up the atmosphere with some easy banter. Within a few minutes, you'll soon be relaxed enough to simply be present and not focus on the act of being photographed. The flip side of course is knowing when to be quiet and to listen to her direction. Let her guide you through the process or posing but never hesitate to ask for clarification if you aren't sure what she's requesting of you.
Finally, portrait photography is an act of communication not a performance. You aren't there to impersonate Cindy Crawford. You're there to be yourself and allow a professional - whose job it is to draw out and capture what is unique and beautiful about you, to hand hold you from start till finish while making you look good.
As much as you can, try to enjoy the attention and the well-deserved opportunity to have the world revolve around you for a couple of hours. And if all else fails, well, usually a sip or two of alcohol will usually do the trick.
For more information about booking a shoot with me, email nicolette@NJPphotography.com or call 310-622-4580