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How to Feel More Comfortable Being Photographed – My Story

Its been nearly a year now on my path of feeling more comfortable in front of a lens. Its taken a while – and I have learnt a lot along the way, and want to share these tips with you.

Why is it so confronting to have our photographs taken? Why is it so hard ? Have you experienced this??

Having a lens pointed at you can quickly cause feelings to rise:

against the “model style media” and “posing“;

reluctance to have the spotlight on us;

we might be scared to how others will perceive us if we invest in professional photography;

are we being a “show pony“;

we won’t look “good/ beautiful/ handsome enough”;

 the photos won’t work out in our favour, or

we won’t be able to perform to create the certain “look” we are after.

Its definitely a skill…and its one that I have been learning – of release, trust, breath work, connection (with self and photographer) and alignment with the feeling that one wants to portray. See my tips below.

My journey didn’t start well – actually I felt a bit traumatised…but this story ends well. I have learnt a lot of lessons, and now I actually like to have my photo taken.  How did I get to that spot? Read on my friend.

One of the best ways to portray a polished edge to an online business is through getting professional photographs taken. They say, you can save on a lot of costs in setting up an online business. But photographs shouldn’t be one of those that you skimp on.  Being able to connect with potential clients with images that capture what you are about – your why, your temperament, your personality…and particularly connecting with your eyes….is very important. So professional images are the way to go.

I was nearing the end of my life coaching qualification in October last year, and many of my peers were getting ready to launch their business websites – and had gorgeous photos to boot. And my goal was also to launch by the end of the year…..so getting some professional photographs done was on my list to do too.

How was I going to do that?

No idea where to start, I thought I would begin with a trusted source of all things “stylish” – my “on trend” hairdresser. Telling her of my imminent business launch – she said “I have the perfect person. A friend of mine who does a lot of photography of children….she would be ideal“. So I looked her up, and loved going through the images of babies and children, and a few corporate shots. After about 6 emails back and forth, and sending her lots of images that I liked – we agreed on price, date, time and photos to be taken in our backyard (which is huge, with many different little habitats to choose from).

Morning of Photoshoot #1

She arrived.  Along with her a full makeup and hair kit – so that I could be prepped for the images to be taken.  Back then..I actually owned no makeup other than a lipstick – so i needed the help, as i was told it takes make-up to look “healthy natural“. I offered her a cuppa (in my effort to connect) – but no…”lets get straight into it“.

{Tip 1:  Don’t be rushed. Ensure you take the time to emotionally connect with your photographer}.

She “made me up“. I looked into the mirror. Big shock. I didn’t recognise myself under the caked makeup and heavy heavy eyes. EEEEW I thought. I looked like a painted lady…actually I was.  Anthony reading my reaction, quickly reassured me “she knows what she is doing….trust her. Images get washed out in photographs, so you need that makeup and colour“. So on we went.

{TIP 2.:  Make sure you feel comfortable with how your make up looks. Don’t trust someone with your make-up because “they know what they are doing“.}

I was ready to be photographed physically (according to my photographer). Not mentally or emotionally – as I would find out. So we started the shoot at the kitchen bench. It didn’t feel natural to just “pose“. A few photographs in…I could see a bit of distress or frustration on her face. That made me tense, and “try” more. She went straight for a silly dance in front of me, trying to get me to relax and lighten up. So I adopted a “I’ll  humour you” laugh style of face. The relationship between the photographer and me didn’t feel like an empowering one for me. That “I’ll humour you laugh style face” face didn’t leave me for the next two hours….around the yard, in the veggie garden, lying on the lawn with the laptop. I looked the same in each shot.

{TIP 3: Make sure you take time out to “feel” the way you want to feel and project in your business].

That evening she sent me a selection of the shots. I was devastated. I didn’t like a single one of them. I didn’t recognise myself and I certainly didn’t like what photographs were telling me. All I saw was heavy make-up (not me), forced smiles (not me), not feeling the way I normally do & tense (not me), and posed photos (not me). Yuck yuck yuck. I felt terrible about giving her that honest feedback…but thankfully after many carefully written emails back and forth she understood. I didn’t want to go through that experience with her again. So we called it quits…and I was able to back out of my contract with her.  Phew.

{TIP 4: Be completely honest with your photographer at all stages of the photographic process. Let it all out. You need to be happy with the shots.}

Now what?

Enter serendipity.

The very next week, at my little ones local primary school, one of the mums – Katische Haberfield – came up to me and said “Chantal – I am wanting to capture a few shots of families doing Xmas kinds of activities for my business in the lead up to Xmas. No charge. Would you be interested in that? I could come over and take some shots in the next few weeks.” I told her about my recent experience. And she totally got it…and understood where I was coming from.  We altered course a bit…and she offered to come over and take some images of me for my blog….so we went ahead with it.

Now to prepare a differently.

Katisches suggestion about make-up was to just get a highlighter style eyeshadow – even just a shimmery beige, and any lipstick I like.   Determined to make the most of my gifted photoshoot – I went to the local shopping mall, and found little cosmetic shop that stocked a completely organic range of makeup (Zuii Organics). GREAT INVESTMENT. I told the girl serving me my “traumatic photoshoot story” – so she gave me a complete make-up lesson there and then. Probably a great sales technique as I walked out with powdered foundation, blush, 2 x eyeshadows, mascara and a lipstick.  So I walked out of the shop with a feeling of confidence with skills and tools that I can do this myself. (Thanks Tip 2)

Morning of the Photoshoot #2

I invited a friend over to help look after Miss almost 2 – so I could be freed up to concentrate on the photography. Katische kindly brought along some presents for Miss E -some old books which were a hit.  We sat and had a cuppa and conversation for the next 30 minutes.”Nice make-up” Katische said.  A very good start. (Thanks Tip 1)

Katische made it known she was happy to take the time, and follow me through a normal day of me cooking, playing with Miss E. Hanging at home basically. So no rush – and would capture shots throughout the day. Natural shots. This helped ease my mind a lot.

I was still feeling quite shy of the camera…and I didn’t trust what it would capture – we went along with it for the next few hours. I didn’t even want to look at the camera (see photos below)…..and just focussed on whatever I was doing.  I cooked, I played, I gardened, I engaged happily with my gorgeous little one.  I still felt a tad uncomfortable, but Katische was so non intrusive  and hands off….it felt great to have her around.

I mentioned to Katische “Gee its so hard to relax in front of a camera. Facial muscles are so hard to fully relax…models must be super skilled at this…how do they do it?” She mentioned “its all about deep breath work and connection to self“. Of course !!!! Why didn’t i think of that!!!!!  I relaxed my body through breath work to birth two babies naturally…..in bikram yoga…..why didn’t I just do that for this situation too?

{TIP 5: Use deep breathing work to centre ones self, and be present in your body, and not “in your mind” – helps to relax your muscles quickly}

What a difference this made.  I loved what Katische was able to capture in these shots….and felt huge appreciation of her skill as a photographer. She also made a video of the shots of the day (makes me cry every time).

Photoshoot 2

Faith in how I could be captured in photos was restored. Phew. I had actually never seen myself look so “nice” in photos before. Big big gratitude to this woman – who I have assigned magician status to –  to capture such gorgeous images.

Website launched. Chantal Roelofs Coaching & Consulting was born mid December 2014.  Kombucha Making Course conceived and born early 2015. Many images that Katische captured have been coming in mighty handy over and over again.

{Tip 6: Make sure you get a variety of images taken, with different backgrounds. The diversity will do you well for a variety of blog posts and other online presence purposes}

Photoshoot #3

Fast forward 6 months. I had just had the concept for a “Mindset Boosts” article accepted to inspiredCOACH – a magazine written to support the community of coaches world wide. Distribution around 15,000 peeps. Excitement level in me = sky high. I needed to get professional photographs to accompany my article, so I got straight onto Katische to see if she would be my photographer. Yes she was available for me.

I sent Katische a very early rough draft I wrote (which dramatically changed…but she “got where I was coming from”).  I let her know the feelings I wanted to capture  – calm, centred, mindful, reflective, connected, aligned, & natural and she suggested the Japanese Gardens, within the Botanic Gardens as a location. Perfect. We planned herbal tea, books, picnic rug, changes of clothes and other props.

We got there, and had a cup of herbal tea together – and it felt good. Having a clear idea on the article by then – and the feelings I wanted for the reader, it was easy to be photographed.

My relationship with Katische had deepened. Over several conversations, and many similar interests in personal development and contemporary “thought leaders”, we found we had many similar philosophical outlooks on life. Even one of those Facebook tests declared us “Soul Mates”.

This growing relationship, the deep regard and respect, and most of all the trust I had developed with Katische…made for an extremely good photoshoot. I was so relaxed. I could look at the camera and really wanted to connect with the woman behind that lens. Again there was no insistence on a “performance” on me…..and we went from rock, bench, picnic blanket, pathway and lawn as different locations for the shoot. I found when I was looking at Katische or others….and really connecting (which is what I love to do personally and professionally) – these resulted in my favourite shots. Again Katische was great to work with…and my confidence at being photographed is continuing to grow. Saw these shots. Very happy customer right here.

{Tip 7: Really get to know your photographer and what makes them tick. What is their approach & why do they photograph is a good place to start}

I couldn’t wait for the release of the article, so started to use the images on my Facebook profiles. Holy Dooly….didnt expect the number of “likes” and enthusiastic “comments” to come my way…that was a huge bonus, and felt very nice to receive.

{Tip 8: Invest in professional images for your Facebook and other social media profiles. People NOTICE – it gives you a professional edge that many people don’t have}

My article was published early September 2015 – and I received so many gorgeous comments about the photographs and the article.  Again…thanks Katische.

In April this year I decided to incorporate an essential oils line into my business, which dovetails nicely into self-care, emotional and physical support that I can offer my clients. As Katische has become a close friend I naturally wanted to share these pure and potent oils with her.  She wanted to come over and take some images of the oils one morning. How lucky am I !! The photos she captured were crisp, gorgeous and so useable for many social media avenues.

Photoshoot #4

Next challenge….VIDEO ! The fear of appearing on video is one that I share with many of my peers….but I know I will wade into this space soon enough.  I think its a matter of “just do it”. Watch this space !!!!

If you are located in Brisbane – and would like the services of a talented, professional and down to earth photographer ….I can’t recommend Katische highly enough. Contact her through her website at Katische.com – enjoy a cuppa with her and say hi from me.

If you would like assistance in getting crystal clear on your “why”, how you want to appear in images, or even just someone to help you to get into a comfortable mindset when it comes to photography – I am your person !! Contact me through here.

Have you had a journey feeling more comfortable in front of a lens ? I would love to hear your story ? How did you get there ?

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