Hello and welcome to the month of fire, explosions and ghouls and if that isn’t an unintentional analogy of what is going on in the world right now, I have no idea what is!
Yes, it is November. Already. As I write this, I really am trying to let not let my head spin – aka Regan in the 1973 film, The Exorcist. Christmas is approaching like the proverbial bullet train (note how I didn’t mention HS2) and that is not to say that I don’t adore Christmas. It is just that if I start too early then I end up buying way too much stuff, not to mention the stuff I’ve forgotten about and find while clearing out a cupboard in February! I love the lights, the fire-lit evenings and candles. Not to mention the stollen, big hearty stew and dumplings and crumble-topped puddings and stollen.
Whoops, I mentioned stollen twice – Oh, well – that is how much I love it!
Last month, I talked about the importance of branding photos and how keeping it real, consistent and authentic would, most definitely, be my advice. In this blog, I am going to provide you with not only my top tips for getting in front of a camera, but for practicing being in front of a camera and building, ‘your best comfortable’, when in front of said camera.
So, grab a mug of something soothing and hopefully some cake, and join me as I wax lyrical about my plans for this month, my intended ‘festive’ plans and a heads-up as to how you can hush that inner nay-sayer and stand up to the fabulousness within.
Firstly, or No. 1…Confidence!
Achieving anywhere near the remotest sense of ‘being confident’ whilst in front of a camera, for many of us, and yes, for those regular readers, I am talking about myself too, can seem a tad unlikely.
And that can be for a vast variety of reasons – fill your own in here – but for some, it comes down to self-esteem. As in, we have none, so how about we do something about that right now! Sit or stand up straight. You know, as if someone has tied a rope around your middle and is gently pulling you forwards. If you are standing, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Shoulders back, chest out and look up. Not to the ceiling – I’m still expecting you to finish this blog. Then breathe deeply.
Our posture is one element of the day that ought to be included in self-care, but like most things in that bundle, it is left out. Other stuff gets in the way, but holding ourselves upright has soooooo many benefits, healthier internal organs to name just one. Plus, just by standing properly you will appear more confident, so it has to be worth a try.
No.2 Practice Makes it Easier
Whether we like doing it or not, practice is key when it comes to achieving any kind of comfort in front of the camera.
Getting comfortable in front of a camera often starts with finding your best angles and poses. So, get experimenting in that mirror. There will be poses, along with posture, that you will find suit you best and will make you feel good.
Ever considered how models do it – and don’t go thinking about those blumin emaciated types – I mean the real women and men models.
I think it is all about finding a groove and letting yourself go a bit. Dancing and some crazy-ass movements often do the trick in this house. My girls can be as self-conscious as the nextteenager, but after a few minutes of staring aghast at their mum twerking her way round the kitchen, they both start laughing and join me for some good old-fashioned fun.
Don’t be afraid to try as taking that first step is usually the hardest part.
With this in mind, I have set about taking my own photographs – my aim, to simply be more comfortable with what stares back at me from an image. And truth be told, it really does get easier the more you take.
No. 3 To Smile or Not to Smile
Smiling must be one of my biggest tips when getting in front of a camera.
A genuine smile is your secret weapon, ‘but, Fiona,’ I hear you cry, ‘how is it possible to produce a genuine smile when you are nervous as hell and would rather be cleaning the toilet, any toilet!’
Relax, for I have a potential remedy! Think about your happiest moments – you know the ones where joy and laughter combine to erupt from your very being. The idea is to capture that and let it shine – believe me, it is the very best make-up you can wear.
Take that smile to the mirror – you will soon see exactly what I am saying.
Oh and no worrying about those laughter lines – they are there for a reason and are testament to a life well-lived!
No. 4 Own that Style
Think about what you’d like your images to say about you. Those things can be conveyed through clothing – our overall outfit, if you like.
Your chosen outfit(s) should promote that feeling of confidence that I have been talking about, while letting you stay comfortable. Embracing vibrant colour and bold patterns, while choosing styles that suit your skin tone and body shape will combine to enhance the experience.
I have had clients rock up and be wearing one outfit, or maybe they’ve brought a couple of options, right through to those that arrive with a suitcase! However, remember, that there is an allotted time so be sure to bring just your ideals and not the entire contents of your wardrobe.
‘But, Fiona, I still Feel Anxious!’
Bringing me neatly to my last tip
No. 5 Calm those Pesky Nerves
I understand. God, do I ever, but nerves show in photos. They sneakily, despite our best efforts, reveal themselves in our eyes. So, it is a great knack if you can learn to subdue them.
This is where some breathing exercises, repeating a comforting mantra to yourself, or just holding your head up and shouting to the sky, ‘I AM BLOODY MARVELLEOUS’ can work. The latter one certainly seems to have proved valuable for one of my friends.
Whatever you choose, and I heartily suggest yelling some positive affirmations at the sky whenever you want – think of the expressions from the people around you in the queue for the loo, food aisle or coffee shop – I know anxiety is not something that can just be mentally banished, but by thinking positive you can sometimes trick the mind into letting some of those apprehensionsgo.
It’s that word, ‘confidence’ again – be unapologetically you and embrace those quirks, knowing that you are more radiant than ever before.
And if all else fails - Fake it till you make it, my friends!
November provides us with a plethora of exciting things to test.
Obviously stollen is high on the list – my daughter is aiding that by bringing home the mini variety of those joys from an Aldi next to her college, while I have purchased and sampled some offerings of mince pies. I will be giving you the results of my findings in next month’s blog, as well as any other snippets of Christmas joy I can spread.
Take care, dear reader, until next time.