How to Prepare for being in front of the Camera

A man kisses a woman on the forehead while the sun sets below the horizon in the distant background.

How to prepare for being in front of the camera for your engagement session or elopement!

Camera Jitters, it is a thing folks

Guess what?! It is TOTALLY normal to be nervous in front of the camera. Almost all of my clients tell me before the session that they are nervous or super awkward in front of the camera. Every time, they are totally fine and have a blast during their session! So how do you get over the nervousness or camera anxiety?? For engagement sessions, weddings, elopements or anniversary sessions this is so easy, because you are not alone! You have your best friend, life long partner there by your side! Sounding much better already right?? Nervous or not here are some things that will help ensure a fun, smooth time:

  • hydrate the day of and day before, especially if your session is taking place in the desert
  • be well rested, do not stay up super late the day before
  • try not to stress about the session or event, it is a fun day together just remember that
  • show up in a good place with your partner, things will for sure be way more fun and easier if you arrive to your session excited to share this experience together

Some things that may calm the nerves:

  • envision your session – if you are a planner do your natural thing by pulling some images of things you know you like and plan your outfits
  • jam out in the car with your lover to your favorite tunes on the way to your session
  • select with your photographer a location that you will feel comfortable at and be excited about being there
  • chat with your partner, how are they feeling about the session? knowing how each other feels about being in front of the camera may help you feel secure by confiding in each other
  • just get in front of the camera! I once had a couple where they told me they wanted to do a shoot just because they had never been in front of the camera and wanted to get comfortable with it before they get married some day
A woman photographs a couple standing on a rock in Sedona.

A lot of how you calm your nerves for a session also has a lot to do with your photographer. Each photographer runs a session differently and has their own ways for getting their couples at ease. Also, each couple is different so being a photographer that can read and adapt their game plan to match their couples vibe is key. Here are some of my personal tips and some ways I run a session to help my couples get over their camera fears:

  • This is just a date with a third wheel tagging along. Seriously, this is my favorite thing about working with couples. I am here to just document a really epic, adventurous date you two are on. Be yourselves, have a freaking blast and let all of your love for each other out. Staying in tune and connected with each other will make you almost forget you are in front of the camera.
  • Building up the intensity. I start almost every single session with my couples pretty far away from me, walking towards me. This is something every single person can do confidently and it helps you two get into the photo shoot mindset and start to feel at ease in front of the camera. Sometimes walking will turn into jumping, running or dancing. The moment is yours to do what you want and have as much with it as you want!
  • At almost every session we pop champagne at the end, but hey! life is short. If you want to pop champagne at the start of your session I am down. A little bubbly to calm the nerves and start everything off with something so fun is sure to set the tone for the rest of the session.
  • Talk to me! Often times during sessions we chat a lot before we start shooting, between shots or locations. This way you’re getting more comfortable with me and the whole situation. Sometimes while I am shooting I will have you tell me stories on how you met, how the proposal went down or just some of your favorite memories. Now it’s like you’re not being photographed at all and you’re just reminiscing together.
  • While most of the work I do with couples is very movement based and natural posing sometimes I will pose couples to help give them some direction and build confidence. Even when working with couples freely and not posing I will still give little direction as we move through things. Sometimes, all you need is a little reassurance that you are totally killing it 🙂

I hope this helps all you out there with a session coming up that you are nervous about or those of you who haven’t booked your session due to nerves. I am always here to help, so feel free to reach out!

I promise it’s not as bad as the dentist 😉

“Jenn and I were nervous at first, but Traci was quick to get us feeling relaxed and before we knew it, we were laughing and joking with her while she was taking our pictures. The session was thorough, and we left it excited and eagerly anticipating the final pictures. Before we knew it, our pictures were ready and my fiancée and I spent longer than I’d like to admit scrolling through our pictures to try and find a favorite among all the amazing pictures.We both highly recommend Traci and cannot wait to have her shoot our wedding, too! ”
— Ben —

A man holds his woman in a field with smoke from a fire in the distant background and they share a kiss while he dips her back.