Category: for photogs

3 Ways You (Yes, YOU!) Can Look Natural in Photos

Filed in engagements, for photogs, weddings shot by on at

If there’s one thing I know for sure about our couples after all these years, it’s that they feel a little bit awkward in front of a camera. 99% of the time, I hear at least one of the following phrases: “We just aren’t photogenic. He blinks in every photo. We’re so awkward in pictures. I never know what to do with my hands.”

I think our very relaxed, documentary style of photography tends to attract people who want stunning wedding photos without having to do much “posing,” because let’s face it, “workin’ it” in front of a camera can, in fact, be super awkward, even if you’re not an awkward person.

I mean, I don’t consider myself to be an awkward person. I am an extrovert through and through; but I am SO camera-awkward that it hurts. The first time that Ben and I were photographed as a couple, I was so nervous that I downed an entire pitcher of margs before heading out. Thankfully, we had awesome photographers who made us laugh a ton and look natural despite the fact that I was basically drunk throughout our entire shoot. #notrecommended

Over the years, I have really perfected my “posing” skills, and have mastered techniques to make even the most camera-awkward people look and feel like they get photographed for a living. The secret is to work them in and out of “poses” quickly, before they have time to think about feeling awkward. I keep the excitement level high by giving lots of “actions” to carry out, and shooting the moments in between. I will typically run through anywhere from 10-15 “actions” every time I photograph a couple, and they have become such an important part of the process I use to make everyone feel completely relaxed and at ease.  You get constant direction for what to do along with a ton of positive reinforcement, so your brain never has a chance to wonder how you look on camera, and that, my friends, is when the real magic happens.

So, if you’re self-conscious about your camera-awkwardness, welcome to the club, my friend; you’re in good company. And this is your lucky day, because I’m going to share 3 of the most effective tricks I use during shoots that relax my couples into looking totally natural EVERY SINGLE TIME!  If your engagement session or wedding day is fast approaching and you’re dreading being in front of a camera, screen-shot these tricks and make them your go-to actions; I promise you’ll feel at least 97% less awkward immediately. Ready? Let’s dive in!!

  • Mindreading – Stand facing your partner with your arms around each other. Close your eyes and think (to yourself) of a number or a color or whatever you decide. (I usually go with colors!) Then, open your eyes (looking at each other) and take turns trying to guess what your partner thought of! This is a fun exercise because whether you guess correctly or not, it will still make you smile. ;)
  • Whispering – Whisper in your partner’s ear very quietly, “If you were a food, you would be…” or “if you were an animal you would be…” These might sound ridiculous, but they are hilarious, and I have the photos to prove it.
  • Dance – You can slow dance or fast dance or crazy dance or whatever makes you happiest! The important thing is to connect with each other. Make eye contact while dancing. Laugh!! Show off your best moves! I use this one at almost every wedding and every engagement session, because the results are always so, so good.

No matter who is behind the camera, you can use these 3 strategies to kick your camera-awkwardness to the curb, and make yourselves look natural, relaxed, and completely in love anytime, anyplace! Whether you’re a bride-to-be or a photographer interested in capturing more natural, joyful moments, I’d love to hear what you think of these 3 tips. Let me know in the comments below!!

Feeling better about being in front of the camera?? Great! Now it’s time to choose where to go!

Click here for tips on how to find your perfect photo-op spot!

3 things you must have on your about page

Filed in for photogs, mentoring shot by on at

Ah, the dreaded “About Me” page; making people feel awkwardly self conscious since the dawn of the Internet. It’s never easy for us to talk about ourselves. I can write about other people all day long and twice on Sunday, but when it comes to writing about myself, who I am, my values, etc., writer’s block swoops right in. I’ve gotten much better at it over the years, though; it just takes practice. It also really, really helps to know who you’re talking to so you can speak directly to that person, but that’s another topic for another time. It used to be okay to have a website stating what product or service you offer and how much you charge for it, with a few photos mixed in to give your potential customers a “visual” of what they’d be getting. Well, friends, those days are gone. With all of the options available today, we have become much more choosy about where and how we spend our money. People want to know WHO is behind the product or service, and if your product or service requires them make an emotional investment (i.e. wedding photography), then it’s absolutely essential that you introduce yourself to people properly when they visit you online.

My favorite analogy for this is taking a night time stroll through your neighborhood. Stay with me…I promise this will make sense. So, imagine for a minute that you’re taking a walk through your neighborhood later in the evening on a warm summer night. It’s totally dark out, and you walk past a house where the living room lights are on. Your eyes are attracted to the light and the flickering TV screen (because it’s dark out), so you take a closer look. You can see the people very clearly doing whatever people do, and it’s really hard to look away when you get a glimpse like this because it’s totally normal to be curious about how other people live. We ALL have that natural curiosity. You notice that one person is watching Jeopardy while another is on their laptop. You think to yourself, “Huh, I like Jeopardy, too. Great show. Hey, I have the same MacBook! I wonder what they had for dinner?” You notice they have floral wallpaper, a green couch just like your Grandma used to have, and a wall filled with family photos. You find it all very interesting, and in a way, you now feel like you know those people a little bit better, or at the very least, you feel like you can relate to them a little bit. Next time you see them out raking their lawn, you might even say hello. Do you see where I’m going with this? Your “About” page, and really your entire web presence as a whole, should be a window into your life that invites curious onlookers. You want people to notice things about you that resonate with them, and make them think, “I could totally be friends with her.”  You also want people who are not your ideal clients to peek into the window and say, “what a weirdo – NOPE,” and keep on moving. Both of these scenarios are perfectly ideal.

So, now that we all understand why it’s important to create an interesting window for people to peek through, what do we want them to see? Here are THREE things that I believe are necessary for the about page of any small business owner:

1. You need a recent, professional photo that clearly shows your face. At least one is mandatory, but more than one is great, too. We need to see your face so we know that you’re a real person. And really, it should be a professional photo so we know to take you seriously. If you’re not able to currently invest in a branding session, ask a photographer friend if they’re willing to work out a trade. Creatives are excellent at utilizing the barter system.

2. You need to tell us WHY you do what you do. This is a chance for you to show us what you’re made of. How do you feel when you’re immersed in your work? Why should I work with you? What kind of person are you? What value will you add to my life? I prefer to see people introduce themselves in the first person on their websites, but I do understand that there is a time and a place for the third person narrative. It all depends on who your client is. If your target audience is primarily large corporations, then an introduction in the third person makes sense. However, if the product or service you offer requires people to make an emotional investment (i.e. wedding photographer, family photographer, yoga instructor, massage therapist, nanny, daycare, etc.), then you should absolutely be introducing yourself in the first person. Speak directly to the people who “peek into your windows.” Make us feel welcome. Tell us a story. We don’t need to know every award you’ve ever won; we need to know the story behind how you invented yourself and what motivates you to keep going.

3. You need to share 3-5 things that make you unique and allow us to easily connect with you. While I don’t recommend that your entire “About” page be filled with random facts about you, I do think it’s important to have a few things that will help your dream clients see how much they have in common with you. This will also repel people who you definitely do not want to work with. For example, the fact that I’m an animal lover is WAY out there on my About page. That’s a big part of who I am, so naturally, I want to attract people who love animals as much as I do.

In addition to these three tips, I also recommend that you give people something to “do” when they are done reading about you and are ready to learn even more. Examples of this would be a link to your contact page, a newsletter opt-in, a link to your Instagram, or a link to your business FB page. Wherever you most want to connect with them is where you should direct them to go.

I hope these tips were super helpful to you!  If you’re feeling like your “About” page isn’t up to snuff (i.e. isn’t helping you reach and connect with your ideal clients or doesn’t represent you well), then it might be time to give that puppy an overhaul.  If the thought of sitting down to write a bunch of captivating stuff about yourself seems scary and overwhelming and you’d like some one-on-one help, not to worry; I’ve got you covered.  I created my “Online Presence” Mentoring Session with you in mind. :)

Click the link below to learn more!