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“I’m nervous about having my picture taken, any advice?”

Hey, it’s absolutely natural. And I'd be surprised if you weren't nervous. Seriously, every single person I’ve ever photographed has been nervous beforehand. Doesn’t stop them looking great.

We all feel self-conscious and vulnerable when in front of a camera. We can feel like we’re being scrutinised, judged, that all people will see are our features we’re not so happy with. Stop right there. I can help, and here’s how.

Firstly, my advice is to reframe your thinking, something I’ll help you with at your discovery consultation and on the day. The term ‘taking’ your photograph has no place here. Together, we’ll be ‘creating’ portraits of you. A very different experience. And honestly can be loads more fun than you imagine. Rather than feel vulnerable, you’ll soon be coming up with your own ideas and getting creative. The experience is more akin to being pampered – it’s all about you!

My sole purpose is to help you portray an authentic version, convey self-worth and self-respect for the person you are and celebrate the life you live. Self-worth and self-respect are far more powerful than a simple likeness, self-esteem or beauty. They're the traits that will provoke an emotional response and connect with an audience. Remember, the wonderful world of digital means we delete what doesn’t work – you’re safe, they’ll never see the light of day!

Secondly, you’ve spent your lifetime perfecting non-verbal communication. In fact, you're probably quite the expert. Subconsciously everyone is projecting their personality, mood and feelings. We do it without thinking. Day in, day out. It gets us what we want. Influences people. Maybe tells them to keep their distance cos it’s been a ‘helluvaday’. Says ‘heck, I love you soooo much!’. It’s what we don’t see of ourselves – the subtle expressions that communicate more than words. But we do it without even trying. And projecting and being present are the magic for a great portrait! However nervous you are, we’ll create a safe environment where you can simply be yourself.

So, now you know it’s not rocket science (and actually you’ve been an expert since you were knee high to a grasshopper) here’s a suggestion for building confidence in front of the camera.

Stand in front of a mirror. Clear your mind and aim for a neutral, expressionless look. It’s your starting point. The blank canvas. And funnily enough, the closest thing to what a nervous person looks like when they first sit in front of the camera!

Then, imagine you’re meeting a new client for the first time. As you warmly greet them watch the subtle way your expression changes. Your eyes, eyebrows, mouth. The attractive warmth you convey. Imagine watching the infectious laugh of your kids playing, or the joy of reminiscing old stories with dear friends. Just watch your face change with your thoughts. Try flipping it. Now imagine getting a parking ticket for being a single minute over! Watch your expression change dramatically. Okay, so we’re playing with extremes. Believe me though, you’ve thousands of truly engaging expressions in between. Subtly (or maybe not so subtle), and without even trying, you’re projecting; you’re visually expressing emotion and feelings that can be read by virtually any human anywhere in the world. If you've something you want to portray, create the thoughts and narrative in your head and let your expressions rock their stuff.

You’re not 'alf bad at this are you! You're ready.

But before moving on, take a moment to look into the eyes of the incredible person in the mirror. Value yourself like you value others. Nerves or not, you deserve a professional portrait as much as anyone. See yourself in a new light.

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