I hear it at almost every engagement, and I myself am guilty of it when I get my own photos taken: “just so you know, we’re super awkward in front of the camera!”
This statement used to make me so sad (I don’t want my couples to feel awkward!), but over time, I learned that this is actually a GREAT line to hear because it reminds me of one of my most important roles as a photographer – making my couples feel natural and comfortable in front of the camera!
The statement that you’re “awkward” in front of the camera is a lie because it places the responsibility to be “normal” on you, not the photographer. When you think about this, it’s kind of crazy. Honestly, who is comfortable in front of the camera? Professional models, actors . . . it’s a pretty short list, and I can confidently say that 95% of my clients do not fall into this category. But even the very few professional models I’ve had as clients need direction!
As a photographer, my job is more than to just stand there and snap photos. Excellent photography involves building relationships, understanding personalities, and bringing out your genuine, natural characteristics – the beautiful qualities that make you, you. Of course you’re going to feel awkward if you’re photographer fails to get to know you – and that is totally not your fault!
Engagement sessions are the best way to start feeling comfortable with your photographer. While I don’t do an engagement session with every couple, I always encourage it because it’s an opportunity to get comfortable with each other and the camera before the wedding day. We get to laugh together, share stories, and work through the types of photos that you are and aren’t comfortable with.
However, feeling comfortable in front of the camera truly starts when you’re choosing your photographer. It’s surprisingly important to have chemistry with the wedding photographer that you pick! If possible, have a quick phone conversation or meet in person with the photographers you’re interested in booking. Ask questions about her style and who she is, and pay attention to whether or not she does the same for you.
Since I’m a wedding photographer myself, I don’t want to give the false impression that this is a sales pitch for my service. To be honest, not every couple is a good fit for me. It’s really important to me that I work with couples who I click with and whom appreciate my style of work. I also want YOU to feel comfortable with me. I love when couples ask me tons of questions because I can tell that wedding photography and the personality of the photographer are important to them!
So, if you’re worried about feeling awkward or uncomfortable at your engagement session or your wedding, consider your choice for photographer carefully. You may absolutely love their work or style, but their personality doesn’t fit with yours at all. Remember that it is TOTALLY ok to give a photographer (even if it’s me!) a “no” after you talk to them or meet them, and know that being picky about who you choose will ultimately make you so much more comfortable and happy on your wedding day!