So, I've had a few photoshoots in recent years and it's fair to say I've got used to them now so I thought I would put a post together detailing how I get ready for them and how they help with my confidence.
I have come to realise over the years, that the saying "Failure to prepare, prepare to fail" is so true! You want a good result at the end, so it pays to put in a few days of prep beforehand. Simple things like practicing poses in the mirror, seeing which ones look best on you and figuring out which poses make you look taller or slimmer can lead to a great outcome. I have found a simple trick which helps me to always have a smile on my face - using my facial muscles to pull my ears back. It's something I picked up from model/blogger Lilly Kate France - someone I met at the 2017 Northern Blog Awards. She is absolutely gorgeous and really lovely so I couldn't not include her piece of advice.
Another part of preparing for a shoot is a bit of self-care the day before. I know I always feel better when I've shaved my legs and relaxed in the bubbles prior to a shoot. It just ups my confidence and that translates onto my photos.
Another piece of preparation you could do is look on Pinterest or Instagram for different poses to do, styles of clothing or locations. I find looking at certain hashtags (especially Instagram) for the place where I'm going to be shooting as I find it's a good way of finding the best places to shoot. Most people/photographers will location tag where the photo is from which is so helpful when planning your own shoot! Being on Instagram/Pinterest can also be a great way of finding a good photographer - I found Matt on Instagram and saw his portfolio of work, so contacted him about booking in a shoot. Not only was his work displayed on his profile, but I looked through the profiles of the bloggers he had photographed previously and saw the style of his work. Getting to know Matt this way really helped me relax in his company - even if I did back out of our first shoot together because of anxiety! Having a strategy in place may also help you when it comes to having a photoshoot. Recently I read a post by Violet Glenton (a gorgeous Hull based blogger & photographer) who shared how she changed her photos in 3 easy steps. She suggests having a strategy in place with clothes, poses and knowing your products, citing: "If you’re a little short of time and want to make sure you get the most out of your working hours I completely, whole heartedly suggest a strategy. This can come in a number of ways"
Violet also suggests learning your insecurities and making them your best assets which I wholeheartedly agree with! Prior to the photoshoot which created the photos in the post I was struggling with body confidence and didn't think I was 'slim enough' to have one, whatever that meant. I didn't think I'd look good in any clothes as I'd gained a little weight. How wrong I was because as you can see from these photos, I actually look quite good! So never worry about how you'll look in your photos because I guarantee you'll look beautiful!
Feeling comfortable in front of the camera is something which can take some getting used to but I do find that having something to hold in your hands or lean against really helps!
Having something physical to interact with really eases the nerves and stops me from fidgeting which is easily picked up on camera so grab yourself a take-out coffee (in your keepcup of course!), a bunch of flowers (real or fake), some balloons, your phone or simply putting your hands in your pockets. They are simple things which can help take the edge off my nerves!
Nailing that 'looking like you're walking but you're really not' movement is another little trick I've picked up along the way. It's called 'The Rocking Horse' and is used by everyone from top models to those of us trying to be!
All it involves really is rocking from one foot to the other whilst staying in the same spot. Once you've mastered this a whole lot of other possibilities opens up and gives you a lot more poses and positions to play around with.
If you're wearing a long skirt or dress then hold it and move it around, the same goes if you've got long hair - play with it and see where it takes you.
If you're feeling nervous, then this piece of advice from Sian may help you out:
"Imagine you're talking to your best friend"
I love this one because the more relaxed you feel, the better your photos are going to look, plus your smiles are going to be more natural and isn't that what we're here for after all!?
I've definitely found this to be true and I'm lucky that my photographer is now a friend, so I am more comfortable around him and always enjoy meeting up with him for a shoot. Having a natural conversation whilst shooting always helps me to relax as well.
Also, try not to worry about other people who may be milling around the area whilst you're having your shoot.
In the beginning I would worry a lot about what other people would think and whether they'd stop and stare, but now I generally just ignore them and carry on! I'm probably not going to see them again anyway so what's the point in worrying? Just smile and pose baby!
This is where my awkwardness comes in to play! I always feel really silly just standing there waiting for that camera to click but the more shoots I've had, the more aware I've become of having a few go-to poses which always look really good at the end.
Putting my hands on my hips, one foot in front of the other, leaning back against the wall and simply pulling my elbows/arms backwards always work for me. It's just a matter of practice and working out what looks best.
Something which I've picked up on recently is having a fake laugh! I know it sounds ridiculous and you might feel it the first few times you do it on a shoot but trust me it works! Getting photos back where you're scowling in half of them will really help to ensure you don't ever go to a shoot without a smile on your face again!
Thinking of something which previously made you smile, a joke, or perhaps something in the environment are all good ideas for ensuring all the photos turn out right. * This also leads back to having a good relationship with the photographer, your smile/laughs will be more natural if you're already comfortable with them. *
Choose Your Location
Being in a fab location always helps me out on photoshoots. If I absolutely love where I'm shooting, then that's going to come through in the photos.
Living in Yorkshire I am spoilt for choice when it comes to organising a photoshoot, most of the time though I stick to either Harrogate or Leeds because I don't have a car here so it would make travelling to a different location quite difficult unless I was travelling to the shoot with the photographer. But with that being said, sometimes it's worth making the trip for getting some of the best shots ever - plus the end results are always worth it.
The photos in this post were taken by my very talented friend Janet in a village very local to us. We had some time and a car to be able to travel so it made for a fun day out for us both as well as giving my feed/blog some sunshine. It felt really good to be exploring a new area, picking places to shoot in and reacting to them.
If you have a favourite area this will be a good place to start as you will instantly be more relaxed and *hopefully* not too worried about having your photo taken!
Since having more shoots in Harrogate, not only am I finding new places which I didn't know about before but during shoots I am also more relaxed and at ease because I'm in my hometown and already feel safe here.
It's important to be aware of how much time you have during your shoot so you're not flustered or rushing around.
Usually, photographers have a set amount of time they can shoot for in relation to how much they charge, this is set out at the beginning so come shoot day you'll already know how long you have and can work location and outfit changes around it.
At the beginning you may want to start off with just 30 minutes so you can get used to having a professional shoot without worrying about having to pose for a long period of time.
Once you've built up the confidence you can always have a longer shoot until you're comfortable posing/moving around for a full 90-minute shoot!
Shoot With Friends!
A fab way to start out or just to get a lot of shots in between your professional shoots is to meet up with other bloggers/influencers and have a fun afternoon taking photos of each other! You'll know exactly what kind of shots you're after and you'll be more relaxed because there's no stress which can come with having a photoshoot with a photographer.
I know I always have fun when I'm shooting with a friend because I can just let loose and have fun which I don't tend to do when I'm having shoots with Matt! That doesn't take anything away from him but to just meet up with a friend and have a fun hour taking photos really does make me smile and is good for building up my confidence. So, I suggest that if you're wanting to start having professional photoshoots and you have local bloggers in your area then why not put a tweet out and see whose around?!
So, I think that's all for now, thanks for sticking with me to the end of this long post! I hope you've learnt something from it!
Please do let me know in the comments below if you have any tips for me so I can share them with everyone!
Love, Sarah xoxoxo