How to feel confident in front of the camera

As a professional photographer, I often get asked for advice on how to feel confident and comfortable in front of a camera.  This has also been something I have struggled with in the past and has taken me awhile to feel happy with someone taking photos of me.  I mean, we all agree its awkward right?  You just standing there, trying to look cute and pose naturally, all the while feeling as though everyone is staring and judging you.  It can be downright nerve racking to say the least!  Since I have been in your shoes and have experienced this first hand, I thought it might be helpful to talk about a few tips I have learned in how to feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera!

 

Get to Know Your Photographer

Before your photo shoot, try to get to know you’re photographer.  Take some time to check out their website and social media page.  If they have a blog, take a few minutes to read what they write about and share with the world.  Once you can get a feel for who your photographer truly is the far less intimidating they will be!  If your photographer is going to be the one shooting your wedding, it’s a great idea to have an engagement photo shoot with them before your wedding.  By doing a shoot prior to your big day, it helps make you and your partner more comfortable in front of the camera, as well as makes a great opportunity to get to know the person that will be capturing some once in a life time moments! Some photographers will offer package deals with engagement and wedding shoots, so be sure to ask for additional details!

Wear Something You Feel comfortable In

If you’re not naturally comfortable in front of the camera, I highly recommend choosing an outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in.  I have worked with clients before that have picked out a more “daring” outfit that was out of their comfort zone.  When we took a look at the photos the client did not like how she looked in what she had picked out and the way she had posed in it.  She stated to me she had felt uncomfortable and lacked confidence.  By choosing an outfit that you absolutely love and feel really great in will allow confidence to naturally shine through!  When you feel great about how you look and feel in something, your smile becomes so much brighter and your body will pose more naturally!

Know Your Angles

Speaking of posing naturally, do you know your best angles?  Obviously it’s my job as a photographer to know what angles compliment the best, but you knowing how you like to look really helps with confidence in front of the camera!  Taking a few moments to stand in front of a mirror to see what angles you prefer on your body is really beneficial before your photo shoot!  Take a few pictures of yourself, pose a little, get creative and review what you look like.  Trust me, once you get used to this it will make it much easier when someone else is taking photos of you! 

Understand the Light

If you have ever worked with a professional photographer before, I am sure you have heard them go on and on about evening light.  I know it sounds strange that we always seem to want to photograph in the evening on a warm summer night, but it’s totally normal.  The light is far more flattering and soft when the sun is setting.  By having your photos taken midday when the sun is at it’s highest peak in the sky, leads to unflattering and harsh shadows on your face.  Be sure to stick to the golden hour.  We want the glow of the radiance you have within, to be what shines brightly!

Ignore the Rest of the World

All too often it is so easy to let the little voice inside take over when you’re having a photo taken.  It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by a lot of people or in the middle of nowhere, just you and me, doubt will start to creep in.  You may feel concerned about what others are thinking of you but in reality, most of the time, people aren’t even noticing that there is a photo shoot going on.  Most photographers won’t mind if you are shy either, it’s their job to help make you feel more comfortable!  So try to forget about the rest of the world and who is around you and just enjoy the moment at hand!

Have Fun

Similar to above and ignoring the rest of the world, it is so important to try and have fun while you’re being photographed!  As a photographer I do my very best to try to keep the mood light, entertaining and comfortable.  I may not be the classic comedian but I’ve learned a thing or two about making people laugh and loosen up!  The more relaxed you are and can let yourself go in a photo shoot, the more confident you will feel and the nicer the photos will turn out!

I hope these pointers will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera and help build your self-confidence!  Put on that perfect outfit you absolutely adore and work your best angles!   Photography is meant to be fun and creative so enjoy the experience!

Parent's Guide to make it through Senior Year

The time is here, the official countdown. Six months out, from a soon to be empty nest.  Your first thought and temptation is to spend the year in a sad state of mind, thinking about all of the “lasts” you will be experiencing.  The last first day of school, the last varsity game, the last prom picture or the last birthday at home (this one is the real heart stopper).  It’s easy to feel overwhelmingly sad at such a monumental moment of your life after all, you’ve been there from the start!  As emotional as this moment will be for all of you, I would like to pull you out of the rabbit hole that’s so easy to fall into and instead create a Parent’s Guide to making it through Senior Year, perhaps better known as a “bucket list”.  So here it is!

Hire a professional photographer.

Senior and family photos are two very important moments you want to capture, and you want them to turn out flawless.  Try for that one perfect set of family pictures or that one unique senior pose that captures the heart of who your son/daughter truly is.  I know it seems like the kids are all grown, that the need to document their gorgeous faces has lost its urgency as the transitions slow.  Wrong.  That just-finished-childhood-not-quite-adult look is fleeting.  Get someone who knows what they are doing to capture it. 

Failures - talk about them.

Open up and talk about your own failures and how you recovered from them.  Don’t be afraid to be honest and detailed.  We loom so large in our children’s lives as the people who once held superpowers.  Let them know how those powers often failed you as both an adult and a parent. This will be a conversation that sticks in their mind and that they will thank you for. 

Give a gift they won’t forget.

This moment, these last days, are worthy of a gift you both won’t forget.  Although jewelry and watches seem to be traditional choices for senior year, you can also expand on this and choose something unique and original.  Remember, beauty and meaning, not expense, are the key factors in this purchase. 

Share some of your secrets.

This is the time to disclose what they just might not know about you, things about your life that you glossed over, but now realize that they are old enough to understand.  You will be letting them know that things may not always be as they seem, and that they are now a trusted near-adult, worthy of sharing family secrets. 

Before they are gone, let them go.

Some parents keep their children on an insanely tight leash their senior year.  Monitoring their every move, making them check in constantly.  This behavior drives them crazy, also making them feel they are not worthy of your trust.  Once they are on the downhill slope of their senior year, and that college admission check off list is complete, go ahead and let them take a few victory laps!  Let them go out on a school night here and there or stay out a little later than normal.  They need a little taste of freedom after all, they earned it!

This is the time, for those painful talks.

This is the time to sit down and have the discussion, the one you will wish you had if, God forbid, anything was to ever go wrong.  I’m not talking about where your will is or how you would like to see your possessions disbursed.  I am speaking of the talk where you recognize that you are speaking to a near-adult and you tell them things like, why you love or loved their other parent (this goes for divorced parents also), what makes a good marriage, how shocking it was to find yourself a parent and yet how amazing, what kind of wife/mother husband/father you hope they will one day be.  Keep in mind this will feel sad, but while you are still in that day-to-day high school routine, take a moment to talk about the really big things in life. 

Grab them tight and hold them close.

This is the time to revive some of the things that slipped away from what was once, your everyday normal routine.  Go ahead and give them that morning hug, or kiss on the forehead that was, for years, a nightly routine when they were little.  Don’t be afraid to sit by their bed with a hand on theirs.  This is the moment when we clench them even tighter, hold them close enough to take our breath away, and then, we let them go…

Your child’s senior year is going to be filled with many “lasts” and it’s going to be one of the most difficult times of your life.  This will also be one of the most important teaching opportunities as a parent you will ever have.  Pull strength from within, stand up and face this hardship and make every single moment count.  No one ever said parenting was easy, but it sure is worth it!  You will never get these moments back, so make them count!

5 tips for having a career and a side hustle.

I don’t know how you do it all. People tell me this all the time when they see me, because they know I am a full time 3rd grade teacher as well as running a photography business. I was “doing it all” and that resulted in  horrible insomnia, and a 70 lb weight gain in 3 years. So doing it all isn’t going to work for me anymore. As I come off an amazing 2 week vacation and hit the ground running with teaching and coaching, I am sharing 5 ways that I have learned to lighten my load when it comes to having a career and running a business.


  1. I get up early.  Real early, before the roosters early. When I was in high school and had aspirations of playing college basketball, my go to quote was “If you are not practicing, somewhere, someone else is and when you meet in competition, they will beat you.” So I have always strived to be the hardest working person I know. Since this business is in addition to my full time teaching career, I treasure those quiet  morning hours.

  2. Get good in camera. I try to get it right in camera, so there is less editing on the back end.

  3. Outsource. I have a virtual assistant, and a housekeeper.  Many photographers outsource various aspects of their business. I cannot outsource my editing because it is my saving grace, but I do outsource a few of the “business tasks” part of my business, so I have more time to spend with my family. I could do those things and I actually enjoy doing those things, but I also enjoy spending time with my children. They are more important.  I don’t mind cleaning and organizing. In fact, I enjoy it, but when you spend your week in the classroom, run a busy side business and are raising 2 children, there just isn’t time to get to the deep cleaning. I still clean daily, I mean I have two children and 21 students who all for some reason can’t seem to see the granola bar wrapper on the floor or the million pencils under their desk. ( I guess only I possess that super power). Also during my busiest month of April when I am shooting multiple sports leagues my husband helps me with the ordering portion of my workflow.  Last year I shot around 60 teams in the month of April. He was my life saver.

  4. Batch Tasks- In order to avoid stress, I batch various tasks. I batch my editing, and lesson planning. I also batch grading papers and weekly meal prep. My goal this year is to also batch my social media content, and blog posts as well.

  5. Angela Watson- She is an educational consultant who trains teachers on how to have better time management and has great tips.  She is AMAZING and has saved my life. I could not have a career and run a business without her 40 Hour Teacher Workweek professional development course and Truth for Teachers podcast.


I hope you may have learned something from reading this post that could help you with your side hustle. What is your side hustle?


Parky's Pics Photography 2019 Senior Reps

I just spent the last couple of weeks working on my 2020 senior magazine. I have loved going through the images and seeing what I have accomplished this past year, as well as what I am planning for next year. I am currently accepting applications for 2020 senior Spokesmodel’s. Senior spokesmodel’s help represent Parky’s Pics Photography. We do a fun get to know each other mini session shoot with hair and make up and boutique clothing. You also get a full senior session as well as other styled sessions and perks. These seven ladies below were the 2019 senior spokesmodel’s. We met together and they got pampered with hair and make up and wore clothes from the Boot Leg in Garberville. Once they were feeling beautiful, we did a short mini session. Once all of the mini sessions were finished, we shot a camping themed styled session. We all had a blast. Seniors and their moms included. : ) If any of this sounds like fun to you, contact me to learn more about the program. Message me at Parky’s Pics on Facebook or DM me on Instagram or email me at parkyspics@gmail.com and I will send you all the deets in an online guide and if it sounds perfect for you, I will send you a link to the application! This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on!