So we recently moved to the Washington DC area from Florida and got to experience our first #snowzilla , which brought about lots of excitement for the first two days. But after what seemed like the 100th snow day in a row, we needed to discover some new activities to do inside since the snow was getting a little old. So I pulled out the camera and we decided to have a “photo shoot”. Only this time, my children weren’t the subjects, I was. It started with them taking pictures of mommy’s growing belly and after looking at a few of them, I realized that I’m REALLY bad at pulling off “the natural look” in front of the camera. I was super uncomfortable, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, my posture sucked, I didn’t know where to look, do I smile or no smile? Gosh, it’s tough being the subject, especially when it was just me. I didn’t have my kids with me to help hit my insecurity. And then it hit me, how do my clients know what to do if I don’t help give them direction? And how can I give them direction, if I don’t know how to look natural? (Lucky for me, most of my clients are already good at this, so I really haven’t been challenged with giving tons of direction). I think a lot of us photographers suffer from this, we are so used to being behind the camera that we really don’t know what to do when we are the ones being captured.
So this triggered a series of exercises for me for the new year, sort of a new years resolution for my photography biz. With a handful of weddings on the book and a good line up of returning family sessions, I want to step up my game this year. I want to improve my skills, sort of reinvent myself in a more creative and unique way.
So the first of these exercises was posing. Like I said, I realized I’m really bad at posing myself, so I forced myself to be the subject…alone. It was a lot harder to be the only one in the image. I sat in front of the camera and turned, twisted, smiled, looked away and into the camera shutter, placed my hands in all sorts of positions…basically tried to make myself aware of every part of my body while my kids where having fun playing with mommy’s camera. After sorting through the hundreds of images that they took, I narrowed it down to a few below. It wasn’t an easy exercise and I feel I still need to work at posing, but it did help me to know what to be aware of when shooting. Shifting your shoulders, sitting up straight, turning your chin slightly, thinking happy thoughts and having a purpose for your hands make a huge difference in posing. Little tweaks make a huge difference. But most of all, putting myself in front of the camera and forcing myself to be the subject helped me to understand what my clients feel during a session. I hope it helps any of you who take the time to read this…