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When you think about stepping in front of the camera does your stomach start to hurt a little? Do you have visions of forced smiles, cranky children, and miserable partners? Trust me, I totally get that feeling, I've been there myself! Having someone taking your photos can feel very uncomfortable, unnatural, and totally awkward.

These feelings can make you want to run in the opposite direction of a camera or simply just stay behind it and take the photos yourself. Maybe you'll decide to settle with selfies of yourself with your children and partner and look back in 10 years and wish you felt more comfortable and confident in front of the camera.

Well you're in luck, because after being in that situation myself, I began a journey as a photographer determined to make the photoshoot experience a lot less intimidating and a lot more fun! The truth is that your kids want to see YOU (and not just your head at the corner of a cell phone screen!). So let's ditch the awkward poses and forced smiles and get into my top four, tried and true, tips for feeling less awkward in front of the camera!

#1 MUST DO - Pick a photographer that you feel comfortable with.

I put this one first because I truly think it makes the biggest impact. There a a TON of photographers out there, all of them with equally beautiful images. However, photographers are humans too after all, and just like you may not vibe well with every person you meet at the gym, you likely won't vibe well with every photographer you meet. We all have our different styles and personalities and will translate that differently into imagery. How we choose to translate that will effect the feel of your session. I am a very vibrant and up beat person and like to keep my sessions fast paced, lively, and silly, while other photographers I've met are more quiet and subdued during their sessions. Neither one is "wrong", but it's worth considering which you prefer when selecting a photographer.

Ok Stephanie, but how do I do that? How will I Know if someone is the right fit?

We are fortunate to live in a world where getting to know someone without physically meeting them is super media! Head to their IG or FB account and spend some time there. Read through their posts and watch their stories. You'll likely get a feel for how they like to interact. You can get a pretty good idea on how they view the world, their values, and what's important to them to capture on film. Ask yourself if you connect with what they are saying and how they are saying it. If you like what you see, shoot them an email and ask some questions. You'll quickly find out if you easily can bounce off of one another or if it seems like a struggle to have that conversation. Most importantly, trust your gut, selecting the right photographer is a HUGE step in feeling more comfortable in front of the camera!

#2 Don't look at the camera, Unless you're asked to.

Lets get back to the vision of forced smiles, cranky toddlers and miserable partners. No one, and I mean NO ONE wants to be staring at a camera for an hour being asked to smile. That leads to feelings of awkwardness and discomfort. That's a recipe for a family wide meltdown and photos that end up being a flop. So just don't do it. It's really that simple. Maybe you think that a good photo means everyone is looking and smiling at the camera but we all know the reality behind that photo(yelling at the kids, husbands giving major eye rolls, Mom starting the sweat) hear me on this one it is all unnecessary!

If you've chosen me as your photographer (YAY!) and you've done your research on me like I suggested in step one, you already know that I value connection and genuine emotion and hopefully have noticed that no one's blankly staring at the camera smiling in my photos. That's because I've specifically asked them not to. And the ones that are? I've gotten thier attention and captured that eye contact in an authentic way. Rest assured I'll tell you when it's time for everyone to quickly look at the camera and smile for that photo to send to Grandma, but otherwise just focusing in on spending quality time with your family is what matters most. And I promise, it will feel a lot less awkward!

#3 Dress comfortably and confidently!

Aaah another important one. Lets address the comfortable part first shall we? I am not a heels person nor do I like things that feel to tight and stiff. Actually I just thought of the perfect example to explain this one. My husband recently took me out to a super fancy restaurant for Valentines Day, I rarely get dressed up so I took this opportunity to throw on a pair of heels, a lacy blouse, dress pants, and a blazer. While I looked the part, I was soo uncomfortable. That discomfort left me constantly re adjusting my top, slipping my heels off under the table, and feeling really miserable. I wasn't able to relax and focus on being in the moment with my husband and quickly wished I had worn something else. The same idea applies to your photoshoot. While I understand you want to look your best, make sure you and your family dress in clothes that are comfortable and easy to move around in. You won't want to be fussing with readjusting your top every two seconds and if you put your t-shirt wearing spouse in a stiff button up, they are likely to become unhappy.

With all that being said, you're having your photos taken after all and will want to choose something that makes you feel like the true goddess you are. Take some time to really pick out an outfit that checks off all of the boxes...comfortable, stylish, coordinating, and makes you look like the bad ass b***h you are! I promise you that this will instantly help you feel more confident in front of the camera!

Need more tips on what to wear? I've got you, I've created a whole blog post about it here!

Lastly, let go and have FUN!

You've chosen the right photographer, you're rocking a comfortable outfit, you aren't staring into the it's time to let go of the expectations, just let loose and enjoy. Let go of the fear of how you look and snuggle on your babies (I promise you look beautiful). let go of the expectations that your toddler will behave and embrace their crazy. Tell your partner to take a deep breath and give you a big old smooch right on the mouth. Laugh. Play. Move. Snuggle. Love. Let loose! Your photographer will guide you through this experience and if they are doing their job right, you'll forget that you're in front of the camera and dive deep into having a fun and enjoyable outing with your family. I promise you, if you can let go of the idea that everything needs to be perfect and trust what your photographer is telling you to do (no matter how silly and crazy it may seem) you're guaranteed to have photos that look and feel a lot less awkward!

Ready to book an awkward free session? YAY, lets have some fun! Click HERE to get started!



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