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How I Overcame My Uncomfortableness in front of the Camera | Personal Brand Photographer Chicago

The #1 objection I hear to getting brand photography is that “I hate getting my picture taken.” I hear it over and over again from my clients. Raise your hand if that’s you too! Most of my clients are surprised to hear that I also hate getting my picture taken but guess what, I still get my picture taken.

After hearing so many of my clients, and potential clients, say the same thing, I decided to write a blog series about how I “somewhat” overcame my uncomfortableness in front of the camera.

But before I get to that, I have to share why I don’t like being in front of the camera.

Growing up, I always hated my smile. Despite routine dental care my entire life, my teeth are discolored from antibiotics I needed as a child. I’ve also always wanted braces because my teeth are not straight whatsoever (seriously, what kid WANTS braces). I had a noticeable gap in my front teeth for the longest time until my wisdom teeth came in and helped close that.

Despite my self-consciousness about my teeth, it was something no one ever made fun of me about when I was a child, yet I was very aware of them.

Every time I smiled in a picture, I could only focus on my teeth. I went for a while where I would “close smile” for pictures so I didn’t show my teeth but it always looked awkward and never felt right.

Then something happened when I was 16 years old that would later change how I viewed my smile.

I was working at a restaurant and a customer told me I had a “lovely” smile. At the time, I just continued to smile and said ‘thank you’ but I was dumbfounded that she would compliment my smile. I mean, did she SEE my teeth?!?!

This entire exchange maybe lasted 10 seconds but I often think of this woman and her kind compliment. The impact that simple compliment has had on my life has been so profound. However, it wasn’t until I was well into adulthood when I finally knew what she meant by her compliment.

She was never complimenting my teeth but my PERSONALITY.

I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I am such a friendly, happy person and that I’m always smiling. I believe my smile is an extension of my personality and happy people just smile a lot!

Personal Brand Photography Chicago

I also have a client with the same self-consciousness. Before his session, he told me he doesn’t like to show his teeth when smiling because he has one tooth that is out of place and he prefers a closed smile.

Now, I have to explain that this client is the type of person that walks around with a smile glued to face. His smile is infectious and you start smiling as soon as you start talking with him. He is positive, upbeat, and happy.

When he told me he didn’t want to show his teeth, I immediately told him that it wasn’t going to work (in a nice way). People know him as a happy, smiling guy and a closed-mouth smile doesn’t present the same way as a full smile does.

During his session, I took some images of him with both types of smiles. I even positioned him so his troubled tooth wasn’t front and center when I asked him to give me a full smile.

And you know what happened… He loves his full smile picture and is using it on his website and email signature because he knows that a full smile represents him and his brand better than a closed-mouth smile.

Sometimes you have to see the results before believing them and sometimes you have to have a complete mindset change, which is what I had to do about my smile.

One of the ways I prepare myself for a photo shoot is to give myself a little pep-talk and remind myself that people are not scrutinizing my teeth. People want to see who I AM – my personality. Most people are like the kind woman who just sees a happy, smiling person.

We all have our reasons why we don’t like to be in front of the camera – whether it’s your teeth, a couple extra pounds, other physical features, humbleness, etc.

What it really should come down to is confidence in your personality.

So the next time you have to get your picture taken, remember that your smile is more than your teeth…It’s an extension of your personality!

Read Part 2 of this series: How to Choose Your Wardrobe for Your Photography Session.

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Sarah R Peterson Photography Chicago Branding Photographer

1802 N. Division Street, Suite 307, Morris, IL  60450  |  (815) 416-9022

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