Monday, January 21, 2013

3 Simple Tips to Help You with Family Portrait Day Anxiety

Let’s face it, most folks dread the notion of having themselves photographed.  Most are simply not accustomed to maintaining poses and smiles for so long.  When the time comes to pose for the camera, we all tend to tense up and become uncomfortable.  The nerves start to take over, stirring butterflies in our stomachs and producing sweaty palms.  Add in unfavorable factors such as unpleasant weather, thirst, hunger and fussy kids, and it’s no wonder people feel anxious.  The bad news is being in a state of anxiety during your session will certainly be conveyed in pictures. 

One bit of good news is that your photographer will try to put you at ease. Often this comes in the form of encouraging words, jokes or instructing you to take deep breaths.  Getting great looking pictures is a collaborative process between the model and photographer.

But on your portrait day, you really want those very special and important photographs to be perfect.  These are the photographs you show to your friends and family.  These are the photographs that will serve as your historical documentation and the legacy you leave behind.  Your children and grandchildren will get to know these photographs well. 

Don’t worry, there are solutions:  As a portrait photographer, I tell my clients that a few minutes of preparation will help ease those nerves and stir up your creative posing ideas.

Here are three tips that will help calm those nerves and sure to have you relaxed for family portraits! 

1.  Clip And Save! Prior to your family portrait, flip through a few of your favorite magazines and determine which photos contain poses and expressions you enjoy.  Study the elements of these photos:  How are the body, arms and legs posed?  What is the expression in the eyes and mouth?  Clip your photos and continue to study them when getting ready for other events and by the time your portrait session arrives, you will have a mental file of poses and expressions that you enjoy.  You should feel free to strike a few of those poses between shutter clicks!  Some might want to bring along their clippings for visual assistance.

2.  Snack & Sip: On your big day, it is so very important that you cater to your body.  Running on an empty stomach only compounds any discomfort.  Plan to carry a few fruits, granola bars and bottled waters.  On the way to your portrait session, find a moment to eat a quick snack, drink water and serve your body.  This will help ease and comfort your stomach and you’ll be in better spirits naturally!

3.  Mini-Meditation: A few minutes prior to your shoot, ask your photographer for just a moment of alone time.  Remember that portraits are forever and taking a moment just prior is very well worth it.  Now, find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably.  Close your eyes and keep them closed for the duration of this exercise:  Take 5 deep breathes.  Inhale deep through the nose and exhale out through the mouth.  Allow your muscles to gradually release.  Now as you begin to relax, create a mental picture of yourself posing for your photos.  Visualize yourself looking into the camera in a very relaxed manner.  Briefly envision yourself effortlessly flowing through many poses.  Bring to life a mental vision of you looking at the resulting photos and loving the outcome.  Imagine that you are naturally aware of which angles are complimentary and automatically take the best stance to enhance your look.  Continue with a few more supporting scenarios.  Then, allow this image to fade. 

You want more?

OK, let’s take the mini-meditation it up a notch by creating a mental Happy Place that can be summoned later in your actual session.  It’s easy and useful: Think of a very happy moment that took place in your life  (It only works if you select an event that you remember clearly) and relive the details … Where are you?  Who is with you?  What is the time of the day?  What is the weather like?  Remember the happiness and joy of the moment.  Continue to hold this great feeling.  As the feeling reaches it’s pinnacle, rub your index finger and thumb together to lock in this Happy Place.  Then you can allow the image to fade.  By the time you open your eyes, you should feel more relaxed.

If your nerves start to get the best of you during your photo session, rub your index finger and thumb together to recall your happy moment. The power of positive thought is immense. Maintain that a positive thought while your photographer is clicking away.

It’s that easy!  Now you can say goodbye to thoughts of stiff cardboard-like photos and say hello to easy – and beautiful – portraits!


FotoNuova is a family portraits photographer providing services in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County and throughout all of Southern California. For more information, please visit our website at: Family Portraits Photographer | FotoNuova or call 626-588-2445 

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