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Overcoming Photo Shoot Jitters

Let’s face it, photo shoots can be intimidating. You have a team of people behind you, but when it’s all said and done, it’s you in front of the camera..every eye is on you..and the reality is, every move you make will be documented in the form of photos. To say that I’ve been nervous about photo shoots is an understatement. There can be a lot of pressure to produce worthwhile content for the employer. As an eighteen-year-old, reserved young lady just beginning in the business, I can recall intense feelings of anxiousness about traveling to unknown places and meeting new people, all while meeting or exceeding the client’s expectations. And while I continue to have strong feelings before each photo shoot. These feelings have evolved from nervousness to anticipation. How has this evolution occurred? Well, being older and more mature certainly helps, but I’ve also learned how to channel my anxiety in a healthy way that can help as opposed to hinder my performance.


Tip 1: Be prepared. The best way I have found to avoid those nagging before shoot feelings is to be as prepared as possible. This means that I have wardrobe selected and packed. I have researched the client and determined their style. I have discovered some pose options that I can use if necessary. And most importantly, I have prepared myself physically for the shoot. I’ve completed my workouts, eaten balanced meals, drank water, and gotten plenty of sleep. Then there are the less impressive things, like shaving my legs, having nail polish on, and conditioning my hair. It sounds silly, but I find solace in knowing that I have done everything that I can.


Tip 2: Find ways to relax. Relaxing means different things for different people. Personally, I find physical relaxation techniques to work most effectively. I tend to get stiff when I’m nervous, which doesn’t translate well in pictures. To counter this, I always exercise and run before going to a shoot...even if it’s an early one. While in transit, I take deep breaths and practice relaxing my face as well. In addition, I like to stretch and shake out my muscles once I arrive on set as well. I really focus on my arms, fingers, shoulders, and neck when I relax since these seem to be the places where I hold tension. Whatever it is that helps you decompress, do it before your call time so that you are ready to bring your best.


Tip 3: Put it in perspective. This tip has really developed through maturity and experience. Unfortunately, life isn’t always pretty. So when I start to feel overwhelmed by any situation, including modeling, I remind myself that this is just a sliver of time. It’s not a life or death situation. Regardless of the outcome, I will endure. I’ve been through more difficult times. Even if I fail miserably, I can use it as a catalyst for future opportunities. Success isn’t measured by perfection. When I played high school basketball, my coach, who also happened to be my dad would tell us to leave it all on the court. When you give your best effort, win, lose, or draw, you gain something. And while my competitive nature is a driving force, it’s also humbling to experience some failure that will help you grow for the future.


Tip 4: Speak positively to yourself. It’s easier said than done, but words have power. And while I’ve struggled with insecurities my entire life, I’m getting better at speaking kindly to myself. I’ve always striven to be perfect, and I beat myself up because I can never live up to my own expectations. I have even noticed that I struggle to accept compliments. I often discredit my hard work. So, I have to be cognizant of this shortcoming. When someone gives me a compliment, I am training myself to say, “thank you,” even when my instinct is to explain to them that I am really not all that great at all. I’ve made mental notes of assets and qualities that I like about myself.


Tip 5: Know you are worthy. Remember, the photographer or client chose YOU! In the entertainment industry, there are lots of people in the pool of applicants, but you were the one they chose. They obviously saw something special in you, something you may not even see in yourself. Relish in the realization that we all have different qualities to offer. Focus on assets, and don’t focus on perfection. Sometimes it’s our imperfections...our weaknesses that allow us to reach our audience.


If I’m being completely honest, my modeling career would have ended a few months back if it was just about taking nice pictures. While I’ll be the first to admit that I like taking a pretty picture. A picture without a message is likely forgettable. And when people become critical or judgmental, it would be easy to quit. But if there is another driving force behind what you do, giving up no longer becomes an option. So my message to women about pursuing their dreams regardless of age and taking time to lead healthy lives, it resonates through the pictures and gives me a purpose that’s deeper than the pictures themselves. And it’s because of the message that I find solace and purpose that helps me eradicate the jitters.

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