Today is an exciting day, because I’m trying something new here on the blog: The wonderful and very knowledgeable Presentation and Camera Confidence Coach Heather Jeffries wrote a guest article for you to enjoy.

Heather and I met through a female founders community called Found&Flourish and collaborated on a few projects last year. This year, she’s not only agreed to write a brilliant post about how to get more comfortable in front of the camera (you know, the one you’re about to dive into), she’s also part of the amazing team I pulled together for my Epic Branding Giveaway.

More on that later though. Let’s first hear about Heather’s tips on camera confidence and calming nerves.

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Cultivating confidence

Tap into the breath and body to feel comfortable on camera

Having a camera lens pointed at you for an extended period of time isn’t something most of us encounter in our day-to-day lives. It’s common to feel nervous, hesitant or just a bit uncomfortable! However, for many of us, having professional photos and video that represent us and our business is an important and essential aspect of running a business.

As a presentation skills coach and a trained actor and choreographer, I use techniques from the world of theatre to connect my clients to their breath & body, so they can communicate with confidence.

Body language – especially in static photography – conveys a huge amount of information to the viewer. With a photographer like Anja, you’ve got an expert eye behind the camera, so you’re in safe hands as she guides the lens to feature you at your best. But here are four ways you can support her by tapping into the body and breath to bring your most authentic self to your photoshoot:

1. Get clear on your ideal outcome

Before your shoot, think about these prompts:

  • Identify A. how you’re feeling
  • Identify B. how you want to come across

From here, you can use your physical body to shift your energy to get you from A to B.

Example #1

If you’re feeling:
A. Anxious, antsy, with lots of energy

But you want to come across:
B. calm, composed and relaxed

Try: Vigorously shaking out the nervous energy or even better, get your favourite tunes on and allow that nervous energy an outlet. Wrap up with several deep breaths to return to stillness and calm: inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 5 and repeat.

Example #2

If you’re feeling:
A. Lethargic and shy

But you want to come across:
B. Warm and welcoming

Try: Firstly, get warm yourself! Ignite your energy by doing a few jumping jacks or running on the spot. Then take some nice, big, exaggerated yawns (don’t forget to reach up and stretch your arms too!) Doing so will release tension across the chest and face. Tension can inhibit you from being as expressive as you’d like to be, which is important to communicate a sense of welcoming & warmth.

2. Set up a strong and open stance

The Ladder is an exercise I created to find calm and composure before any presentation scenario, and that includes on a photo shoot. It’s effective because it does two things at once: firstly, it connects you to your breath and prompts you to slow it down, helping you dissipate any nerves. And secondly, it guides you to set up a strong, open stance and
posture. This will help convey a sense of confidence and ease to your audience. You can access The Ladder here.

3. Use movement to create flow and freedom

Staying static can create or exacerbate tension on a photoshoot. And as tension often manifests physically, it’s important to stay moving. From little on-the-spot movements to stay relaxed (like swinging your arms, bouncing up and down, shifting your weight from side to side, rolling your shoulders back) to larger movements (like going for a walk or having a 15-second dance party), ensuring you routinely get out of your head, and into your body is key.
It will support you to communicate as naturally as possible to your audience.

4. Release those smiling muscles

Have you ever found yourself smiling for so long or so hard that your cheeks hurt?!
Try this quick routine to relax and release your facial muscles before (and during!) a photoshoot:

  1. Give your face a little massage. Use your fingertips or knuckles (if you prefer stronger pressure) to draw little circles around your face. Pay particular attention to the jawline and the brow bone.
  2. Open your eyes, mouth and face wide like a lion and then squeeze your face into a teeny shape as if you’ve just bit into a lemon. Repeat this a few times, stretching the muscles of your face.
  3. Pretend you are chewing a giant ball of chewing gum. Keep your lips closed, but allow your jaw to stretch and move in all directions.
  4. Finish by taking two deep, decadent yawns. You should feel a sense of release, ready to get smiling again!

Remember, however you feel before a photoshoot, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Use your breath and body to support you to shift your energy. So that you can feel confident that the photos and video you’ll capture during your session reflect you at your best. And enjoy!

How was that? I hope you enjoyed Heather’s tips?! Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts, please!

While being a photographer myself, I absolutely understand how intimidating it can be to have your photos taken. The next time I hire a photographer or do any video work for my own business, I know I’ll definitely revisit Heather’s suggestions! And if I get to work with you one day, I’ll make sure to remind you of the golden nuggets from this article!

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