How to feel confident behind the camera lenses

Hello friends,

Taking good pictures of oneself is a challenge most bloggers face. Even if you don’t have to do it often, a good profile picture is a must on our digital driven world. Good pictures are not always defined by naturally beautiful pictures of yourself but pictures that says something behind the eyes. The best pictures emote feelings. Connects with the story been told.
To take a good picture of yourself you need to feel confident behind the camera, so today I am sharing a few tips based on my personal experience.
The best advice I can give before having a picture taken is to relax. 
 
That’s a big one. If you are not relaxed it will always translate over your pictures. I know… how can one relax as it’s so awkward standing in front of a camera and having multiple pictures taken ( in public is even worst) but learning what are the tell tales of “feeling tense” can help you control them. If you don’t feel relaxed than fake it!
Cameras can pick up thoughts going throughout your head. Most people do it involuntary.  Think about something sad and the person next to you will ask if you are alright.  Remember the days you felt the happiest and how many compliments you received.
Eyes: Most obvious one. “ has the camera taken my picture eyes” “I don’t know if this position works eyes” “I feel stupid standing like this eyes”
You got the message right? If you are thinking, we probably can read it…
Mouth: When we are tense our mouths close, our lips purse, we lock our jaws. Learning to have a “loose” relax face is learning to control your mouth. That is why most smiling pictures tend to be more successful as even if the smile is a little over the top.
Shoulders: When we feel tense we involuntary raise our shoulders.
Breath: We hold our breath when we are feeling tense.
I once taken a photography workshop that resulted on each student taking portraits of each other using the techniques learned. My light was working well, my background was good but my subject was standing there and I couldn’t get a good picture. I asked my model to get up and move, sing, do anything very silly. Ok, first I got a look of “are you crazy?” but I said: Trust me…
I took one of the best pictures of someone else. It wasn’t posed or extra smiley.  It was actually pretty thoughtful.
By being awkward and silly, by doing something that breaks the pattern of self consciousness you will not feel the same shyness by just sitting for a picture.
Move your face in front of a mirror: frown, purse of your lips, pretend to shout, notice how your face change when you vocalise each vowel separately “A” “E” “I” “O” “U”( Tip from Coco’s Rocha). Be over the top!  If you say “HEY” while smiling it will give you a natural happy expression.
Move your body: Jump, dance like a lunatic, sing out loud.
Find your feet: In the mirror try different ways of standing. Pick 3 and use them as base of your poses. Having a familiar stand will help you relax. You need to lengthen your body as much as you can. Think there is a rope pulling the top of your head up while keeping your shoulders low. Cheat: Squish an imaginary tennis ball  by your shoulder blades. That’s it! Breath!
Create shape. When the arms are next to the body you loose the contours making a “square”. Fluid body shapes look relaxed.
Now take”test pictures” while doing those exercises. That will desensitise the timer and the act of taking pictures while posing. A lot of my exercises prior photos get posted into the blog because they have so much fun and energy.
When I hold my stomach for pictures I exhale instead of inhaling and holding. That way I avoid looking like I am holding my stomach or tense.
These trick I learn during one of my physiotherapy session to strength the core muscles of my back. It was actually pretty cool. With an ultrasound machine over my stomach she asked me to contract my muscles. I did what everyone does, sucked in my stomach as hard as I could, my body complete tensed. While in that position she shown that the core muscles behind the stomach were not getting contracted. The ones that were important. It took a few tries for me to find them but the realisation that I was contracting my stomach but my body actually relaxed hit me. I can use that same method to contract all my stomach muscles. Because explaining “how to” do a physical exercise can be misunderstood so easily, If you want to learn this ask a qualified Pilates instructor. They will show you how to activate/ control your core muscles while breathing. Than apply that to your stomach.
Don’t try to make very shot perfect. Enjoy yourself.
Keep your hand occupied: position them or use props.
Respect your mood. Some days I don’t feel like taking pictures of myself but the weather is perfect, or is the only day I have free etc, the result generally ok-ish. The days I’m in the right frame of mind the pictures turn so amazing that I struggle to pick the best ones.
Feeling confidence in from of a camera is like training for a marathon. It takes time, commitment and will power. The more you practice the better you get. You learn a lot about yourself.
Happy posing!
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  • Being relaxed is the best advice I agree! Thanks for the tips. You pictures are always beautiful and creative.

  • I need to improve my photos, lots of sensible ideas here, thank you x

  • I try enjoy myself for photos and it certainly works. Thanks for sharing these tips Rachel 🙂

  • That is a really great post. Happy New Year in 2015 – I look forward to all your inspiration in the coming year. You are fabulous no doubt. God bless you and your great talent.

  • Great tips! I always try to think of something funny when taking pictures!

  • Thanks for the advice Rachel! Now I only have to comfortable posing outside, so that I don’t always have to stick to my living room.

  • Great tips and do believe that being relaxed is very important.I feel very awkward taking my own pictures and still have not found my way on doing it. I think it is better to do it at home were I feel more comfortable and don’t have the anxiety of other people staring at me driving me in crazy awkward situation.On the contrary I enjoy photographing others, wish it was that easy!

  • And that is why I take photos on my dress form! This is such a great post, though, thanks for sharing your experience and expertise!

  • Hélène

    I hate myself on pictures. If I can only get ONE good picture of myself out of these tips, I’ll be grateful to you forever, Rachel.

  • Awesome tips! I really like what you said about being able to read the eyes! 🙂

  • Great tips! I have always hated having my photo taken (even when I was still a little girl) – it was hard to get in front of the camera when I started by blog. It is still quite difficult but I am getting more used to it…your tips will help as well.

  • Great tips.. Your photos are always beautiful.

  • Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. Will be trying them out next time!

  • Great tips! I really should try to relax more when I have my photo taken. It shows when I don’t relax. telling my mom that the photos she is taking are for my blog might help as well. She doesn’t know that I’m writing a blog.

  • It’s ready when your pretty.. Great tips.. Happy breed year

    • Oh my typo city.. Sorry. I meant to say.. It’s easy when your pretty.. Great tips Happy New Year!!!

  • Great tips. Thank you so much.

  • Great tips, relaxation is definitely the most important factor in a good photo – I find it really hard to go outside and take photos of myself as generally I have to spend some time making goofy faces or saying silly things to make me smile before I take a good one. Its not something I need everyone to see! 🙂 Will take some of your advice to improve my pics in future.

  • Great tips! I’m definitely going to be using these. 🙂

  • What a great post – and how sweet you are to take the time! Thank you, and a happy new year to you and everyone out there!

  • Very interesting post!! I’m always afraid of the camera, above all when I’m in a place with a lot of people. On one occasion it took 2 hours for a decent picture… we were all exhausted in the end! It’s always very difficult to relax in front of a camera, but I’m agree with you…this is the only way to get wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing your exercises…I’ll try them! 🙂

  • Thanks for the advice! Your photos are always lovely so I am definitely taking notes