One of the things I often hear from my couples is that they wish they could be more photogenic. They’ll say things like:
“We’re just super awkward in front of the camera.”
“It’s hard to get me to really smile.”
“You’re going to tell us what to do, right? We need all the help we can get!”
Trust me, I get it. I’m the worst when I have to take photos! I get all nervous and freeze up, and I start making funny faces just to try to make myself laugh so I’ll feel more comfortable. And even though it’s easier when my wife Micaela is in it with me, it still takes me a while to get used to being on camera.
Micaela and I have been binge-watching How I Met Your Mother lately, and we just watched the episode where the group finds out that Barney Stinson always looks good in every single photo. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing just before the photo is taken! He always has the same pose and the same smirk, and he always looks awesome! Wouldn’t it be great if it was like that in real life?
But what really happens is that as soon as a camera is pointed at us, we start to get nervous, and all of our insecurities run through our minds. We worry about how our hair looks, whether we chose the right outfit, and what to do with our hands!
It’s easy to think that some people are born photogenic, and that we weren’t that lucky. But that’s not true! Anyone can be photogenic! It just takes honesty, trust, and a healthy sprinkling of confidence.
So here’s how you can be more photogenic the next time you get in front of the camera!
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Recognize that it’s normal to feel awkward.
One thing we tell our couples is that the first 20 minutes of any photo session are always awkward. It’s just a fact! Micaela and I have been in a total of seven photo shoots together, and no matter how many times we do it, it always takes time to feel comfortable.
The truth is… It’s kind of weird to stand around hugging your fiancé in a field while a photographer captures your every move. But that’s okay!
It’s totally normal to feel awkward, nervous, and self-conscious. Everyone feels that way. Yes, even the people you think were born photogenic! If you can recognize that, it’ll give you the freedom to just let the awkwardness happen. Accept the fact that you’re going to be a little nervous and self-conscious, and don’t worry about it too much!
And if you push through the initial awkwardness, you’ll find that after a few minutes you’ll begin to relax. You might even start having a little fun!
Acknowledge your insecurities.
We all are insecure about something. Even my wife, the most confident person I know, has a favorite side of her face and worries about how she looks on camera sometimes!
If we’re being honest, most of the time our insecurities are ridiculous. No one else notices the things we see in ourselves! But even if they’re all in our heads, to us they feel very real. And when someone points a camera at us, it feels like our insecurities are being put under a magnifying glass!
While in a perfect world we would all be 100% happy with our real, imperfect selves 100% of the time, we can’t always just ignore our insecurities. Sometimes the best thing to do is acknowledge them, realize that they do exist, and ask ourselves if anything can be done to make us feel more comfortable with them. For example, if you’re worried about the way your arms look, think about whether wearing something with sleeves will help!
Another thing you can do is let your photographer know. Most photographers don’t do extensive Photoshop work without extra fees, but there are easy tricks we know and quick changes we can make during the session to help you look your best. If you prefer one side of your face, for example, your photographer can be sure to photograph that side of you whenever possible!
It takes time to overcome our insecurities and be comfortable with ourselves the way we are. But it’s not a bad thing to feature the parts of us that we love, and to draw attention away from things we are insecure about! It helps us to feel more confident in ourselves, and when we feel confident, we look confident!
Wear something you feel INCREDIBLE in!
Micaela is currently reading a book called Anne of Green Gables, and the main character once said, “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”
We’re not saying that fancy clothes will make you a better person…
But when you buy a new piece of clothing that is comfortable, fits you just right, and flatters your body, don’t you just magically stand a little taller and smile a little bigger? It’s because you know you look good. And the whole day long, everywhere you go, you just feel confident!
I’m a big fan of making a special occasion out of any professional photo session. When you get photos done, you should dress up! It’s not an ordinary day, so you shouldn’t wear ordinary clothes!
Buy a new dress that flatters your best features and draws attention away from anything you’re insecure about. Get your hair and makeup professionally done. Break out those heels that make you feel invincible!
And for the gentlemen… If you want to look as good in every photo as Barney Stinson, you know what you have to do.
Trust your photographer!
After all of this, remember that it’s your photographer’s job to make you look good! As long as you’ve chosen an experienced professional, you can (and should) trust them.
A great photographer will put you in poses that flatter your features! They will make conversation, find ways to make you laugh, and tell you how awesome you are! And behind the scenes, they’ll be making all sorts of decisions about light, posing, and other things to make sure you look amazing.
This takes the pressure off of you. You can relax and feel confident knowing that all you have to do is show up! Your photographer will do the rest!
During the session, your photographer might ask you to do things that sound silly. They might tell you to laugh over your shoulder at a random tree, or to nuzzle your fiancé’s hair. Whatever they tell you to do, as long as you’re comfortable with it… Do it!
True story: someone once told Micaela “to scratch my face like a teddy bear” during a session! It wasn’t something normal that we do every day. Let’s be real – it sounded straight up weird! But not only did it turn out super cute on camera, it also got us to laugh. REALLY laugh!
At first we were laughing because of how awkward we felt, but the more we laughed, the more comfortable we got! And true laughter makes people look amazing in photos!
It’s not your job to worry about whether or not you look good, it’s your photographer’s. So take a deep breath and trust them!
Confidence is the number one way to be more photogenic!
The way you feel about the photoshoot and about yourself—your confidence level!—is directly tied to the way you look in the photos.
Think about it. If you feel nervous and self-conscious, if your clothes don’t fit you right, and if you don’t think your photographer knows how to make you look good… You’re going to feel super uncomfortable. And what do we do when we feel uncomfortable? We get stiff, we fidget awkwardly, and we force out fake smiles. When you look back at those photos, you’ll see the fake smiles and the stiff limbs, and you’ll focus on every insecurity. Because all you’ll be able to remember is how awkward you felt, you’ll hate how you look!
But if you’re highlighting your best qualities and drawing attention away from your flaws, you’ll be more comfortable and confident! When you wear something that makes you feel like a rockstar, you’ll look like one! And if you trust your photographer, you’ll be able to worry less about whether you look good—that’s their job! Your smiles will be genuine, your body will be relaxed, and you’ll be free to really have fun during the session.
And now when you look back at your photos, you’ll remember how much fun you had and how awesome you felt. Seeing your genuine smile and all your best qualities on display will make you forget your insecurities. You’ll see your best self!
Confidence doesn’t always come naturally, though, and that’s okay! If you’re not feeling confident yet (like in those awkward first 20 minutes), remember that it’s totally normal, and don’t worry about it too much.
But there is a way to trick yourself into feeling confident.
Fake it till you make it!
Pretend you do this every day! Stand tall and proud, even if you’re worried about how you look. Laugh over your shoulder at that tree like it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen!
The more confident you act, the more confident you’ll feel. And I promise, it’ll get so much easier!!
You’ve got this.
Quick tips to be more photogenic:
- Posture is everything! Stand tall, keep your shoulders back, and you will look more confident and more photogenic!
- Remember that there is a difference between a camera smile and a real smile. At the beginning, you’ll probably only be able to pull out your camera smile – a forced smile that doesn’t quite reach your eyes. But as you relax and get more comfortable, it’ll be easier to find your real smile! Also, sometimes faking a laugh turns into real laughter, especially if the people around you are laughing too!
- If you have to kiss on camera, close your eyes and smile on the way in and on the way out. Another lesson from How I Met Your Mother… Sometimes the build up to the kiss is as good as the kiss itself! Or at least it looks just as good on camera 😉 (Oh, and the camera doesn’t want to see your tongue!)
- If you’re in it together with someone else, it can help to look at them instead of the camera. Remember that you’re in this together, and that they feel the same way you do! Try to make them laugh when they’re having a hard time finding a genuine smile, and help them feel comfortable even if you don’t!
December 28, 2018