Photo Confidence

A lot of people do not have photo confidence. They would rather not have to be the subject of a photographer’s camera. I’m often one of them.

Smartphones with great camera technology built-in are allowing many of us to be less camera shy. However, this isn’t true for everyone, especially when it is for a professional photo session.

So you aren’t a fashion model and that is o.k. There are reasons for your lack of confidence in front of a camera. And there are things you can do (besides avoiding the situation altogether) that may help you in the future.

When I worked in the recording industry, I often had to have my photo taken for trade magazines. It was not something I looked forward to, I can tell you that. Somehow, one day, I figured out how my face felt which would increase my chances of a decent picture. When I left the music business, I didn’t get my photo taken as often and I forgot my secret. I would give just about anything to remember what that was, my secret sauce photo confidence trick! Alas, no such deal (so far anyway).

So enough about me, let’s talk about you and gaining photo confidence!


These are things about yourself, your body and how it affects your photo confidence.

Mirror image

Some people regularly feel they don’t look like themselves in photos. This can be a legitimate issue.

Think about it. Photos are going to look like how others see you. In other words, they will not look like you see yourself in the mirror, but actually the opposite. That can feel odd and lead you to feel you don’t look “right”. Just knowing this when you are looking at images of yourself can be useful.

Lend me a Hand

Hand photo confidence

Interestingly, for a lot of people, it is the hands that cause a lack of photo confidence. Simply put, these folks just don’t know what to do with their hands and it causes stress.

Your photographer should be able to help you with this one (feel free to let them know it is an issue for you, especially if they aren’t addressing it). If you are still not confident, ask to hold something … loved ones hands, flowers, a coffee cup, etc.

Likes & Dislikes

If you rarely like photos of yourself, it may help to do a little homework. Try to look at or at least think about images you have actually liked of yourself (or at least been less upset by). Is there something about these images that is similar? Are you sitting or standing, is one side or the other of your face more prominent, do you have your hair a particular way?

Also, look and/or think about images you aren’t very happy with and see if you can find a thread (other than that they are images of you). A little bit of sleuth work here may help you to prepare for and the photographer to take images you may actually like.

What to Wear

Here I’m talking about not only your clothing for the session, but also makeup.

When it comes to clothing, I always advise my clients to wear something they are comfortable in and maybe even confident in (an outfit that elicits compliments maybe). Some photographers will go even further and suggest you wear something you don’t have to “worry” about. For example, women may not want to wear extremely lowcut blouses for fear that they’ll spend the session constantly checking and worrying about exposing a bit more than they planned.

And then there is makeup to consider. Generally, I think that what you would normally wear (or not wear) is perfect. However, it is best not to wear thick makeup (maybe coverup instead) and just a touch of color on your cheeks. A smidge of mascara and eyeliner can help to emphasize your eyes. If you never wear makeup, don’t feel you have to start now.

Session Photo Confidence:

Location, location, location

Sometimes a lack of photo confidence has more to do with things beyond our own selves.

Home Photo Confidence

Once upon a time, what seems like ages ago, the place for photos, both individual and family portraits, was in a photographer’s studio. That can still happen and for some people, that may be the best idea.

I have lots of clients who want outdoor sessions and that often means a park or other outdoor location where other people are likely to be as well.

If you are already less than confident in front of the camera, there’s a good chance that others being able to walk by or stand and watch your session, may cause even more discomfort. It may be a good idea to stay home! While the coronavirus may stop you from doing a session inside your home comfortably, if you have a private or semi-private back yard, that may just do the trick!

Don’t Rush

Take your time (as much as possible). Request that your photographer chat with you a bit before starting to shoot images or maybe not “pose” you at the beginning while you get to know each other. It is a good idea to let your photographer know beforehand that you are uncomfortable in front of the camera and (to as much a degree as possible), why. You can also discuss taking a little more time with your session to give you a chance to warm up and get more confident.


I hope that one or more of these tips can help you to gain some photo confidence. I trust that your loved ones and friends want to have photos to remember you by and the fun times you have shared together.

Also, if you are considering family photos, I hope you will consider a lifestyle session. I find that when families are enjoying time together and not being “expected” to pose for or smile for the camera, things like hand placement become less of an issue. And, even better, I find that often times, people look and feel more attractive when they are interacting with people who love them.

Information on my special 2020 Graduation Front Porch Sessions is available here (just click). Family session information can be found here. I would love to know if any of these suggestions worked for you or if you have any questions. Please feel to post your comments below.

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