Overcoming fears around having your picture taken

In today’s media centric world, it may surprise you to learn that many people have some form of camera shyness. Whether it be full blown hiding themselves when a camera is present, to avoiding updating their profile photo on LinkedIn (which is many years old), the thought of having someone take a picture of them can create fear and anxiety, or at best simple avoidance (people often compare having their picture taken to having root canal surgery…).  Interestingly, when these people overcome their fears, they actually photograph very well. For those of you who have this fear, here are some tips on how to overcome these fears:

·         First, understand and identify what the real fear is – is it that you don’t like how you look in general? Are you concerned about how your skin looks? Are there specific features (face, body, teeth, nose, etc.) about yourself that you don’t like?  Rather than lump everything together, try to be specific.

·         Next, determine what you (and your photographer) can do to mitigate these concerns – if you have bad skin, makeup can help (yes, even for guys – at least for the photo shoot). If you are concerned about your teeth, you can smile without showing your teeth, etc. Experienced photographers can help you by making suggestions around dress, hair, makeup, and posing that are more flattering and don’t highlight things that you are concerned about (lighting plays an important role here as well). There are also post processing (e.g., Photoshop and others) tools that, when applied correctly, can address some of your concerns without looking fake.

·         Speaking of dress, be sure to wear something you really like and are comfortable in – you want to feel good about yourself and what you’re wearing.

·         A trip to the beauty salon or barber just before a shoot can help you feel like you’re looking your best – and indeed your hair will likely be at its best.

·         Talk about your concerns with your photographer prior to the shoot and jointly develop a game plan, including things that can help you feel more comfortable – coffee, tea, water, your favorite music can often be used to help calm jittery nerves during a shoot.

·         Talking about things other than the photography session itself can also help you relax – family, friends, work, etc. are all good topics – again, an experienced photographer with good people skills can help you relax while directing you in ways that will help you look your best during the shoot.

·         Some people bring a close friend to a shoot to help them feel more comfortable.

Many people have some level of fear or concerns around having their headshot taken - having a great headshot taken can be fun and interesting by preparing and having a plan (and certainly better than root canal!).