Monday, 9 January 2012

The Importance of Being In Front of the Camera

I love taking peoples pictures, even more so when they claim that they've never had a good photo taken or their not photogenic at all. All this changes when clients see their photos and realise that actually, they don't look that bad, and in most cases I get replies exclaiming how much they love their pictures.

Thats why I do it, because I love that reaction, and its possible for each and every person who steps in front of my camera.

Now, being a photographer, I'm rarely in front of a camera. Unless its a party and there is drink involved. (which lets be honest, never happens anymore because I'm getting old and staying in, plus even in those cases I usually take over camera control!) It's not even because I hate having my photo taken because I don't, in fact I value photography highly (hence my job) and so any opportunity to invest in pictures or have impromptu photo shoots with my family or friends I'll jump at the chance for. I love having pictures to look back on in order to remember events in my past, to take me back to places I'd forgotten about and re-hash all those feelings I had at the time.

So when Julia and Ian of Modern Photographic offered my boyfriend and I a couple shoot I did just that and jumped at the chance. Not only because I wanted to have that experience with Russell but also because I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to learn what it feels like to be my clients. This photo shoot also means I get to tick one more goal off my 101 in 1001 list! #23 - Have photos taken by another professional photographer.

Before this photo shoot I had never had my photo taken by a professional photographer. I'm not engaged or married and so there was really no reason or occasion for me and Russell to have a photo shoot together. I was like most of the people who get in touch with me for their own shoots. Completely unexperienced in front of the camera.

In the lead up to the shoot Julia and I emailed back and forth excitably sharing ideas for props and locations. We poured over Pinterest pinning anything we loved and pulled together our thoughts.

It was only in the week before the shoot that I began to feel nervous. I had a spot break-out, couldn't find anything to wear in my wardrobe and noticed that my hair could really have done with a root touch up. All of the excitement suddenly became worry because, I didn't know what to do in front of a camera! Plus what if I ended up looking stupid/ugly/awkward?

Also Russell and I had never actually met Julia and Ian. That throws up a whole host of more worries, even though I knew of them and had seen their work there was no guessing as to whether or not they would like me.

All these thoughts were entering my mind before the shoot and thats when I realised all my couples probably feel exactly the same. Anxiety about your upcoming photo shoot is normal because the whole experience is completely out of the ordinary.

Lucky for us, Julia and Ian didn't laugh at us or make us feel stupid/ugly/awkward at all during the shoot. They directed us well and told us what to do and where and how to stand. We dealt with the situation that most couples hate during their shoots because it equals instant embarrassment - hoards of passer-by's. In our instance a rambling club of about 50 people walking past staring in our direction whilst posing on this log! Also later on after setting up our tent we had dog walkers, runners and cyclists passing right by. Rather than getting embarrassed by it though we cracked a joke with them and carried on, remembering that we'll never see those people again!

As a photographer I also get nervous before every shoot I do. Most of the time it's for the same reasons I was nervous to be in front of the camera. I always worry that my clients will think I'm stupid or refuse to pose how I think is best for them. As soon as I arrive though and start chatting those fears subside, fun over takes the fear and I just get on with it. I'm learning that actually my nervousness is a good thing, it gets me in the zone and just shows that I really do care about what I'm doing.

Feeling those nerves in the lead up to the shoot, the embarrassment of passers-by watching whats going on and of course all of the countless personal appearance issues has only resulted in making me much more aware of how my clients feel. If I felt like that after having conducted many shoots myself, then I can only imagine how everyone else feels coming into a photo shoot situation for the first time.

However, a good photographer will always make you feel comfortable straight away, and make the shoot fun for both of you. At the end of the day you're paying for fantastic pictures and the experience is what makes that possible. 

*All pictures courtesy of Julia and Ian of Modern Photographic*


  1. Gorgeous images as usual from Julia! You guys looks running! Get married already!

  2. haha! don't say the M word you'll scare him off!!

  3. Lovely photographs and someone as photogenic as you should be in front of the lens more often!