By Emilie Hendryx
The ACFW conference is just around the corner and I’m here to talk about how to look great in photos. Okay…I’m sure that’s actually the last thing you’re thinking about as you prepare for the conference. I know that prepping for appointments, printing out one-sheets, and packing are higher up on your list, but as a photographer, this is something I think about every day.
Whether you’ve signed up for a headshot session with me or you are planning on looking your best in numerous selfies with your favorite author and writer friends, I’ve compiled a list of four things that should help you. These things get to the heart of the matter because taking great pictures is less about how you look and more about how you see yourself.
Prepare your heart…
This starts long before the click of the shutter release (or tap of you phone screen). This goes deep into the very being of your identity in Christ. Don’t forget that you are a child of God, made in His image. Don’t let a bad hair day, food in your teeth, or an unflattering angle hang you up (at least while taking photos with friends). Think of the memory you are making because that is of real value.
Let your insecurities go…
Boy, oh boy, this is a tough one! I think 90% of people I photograph tend to say they don’t look good and, thought I hate to say it, that unease will transfer to the picture. A lack of confidence shows through–whether in a photograph or an appointment with your dream agent or editor–so go to the source of your confidence: Christ.
Smile like you mean it…
During a headshot session I take it as a personal challenge to bring out a genuine smile from my client. It’s one of my favorite parts of being a photographer. Whatever you do, try your best to “think happy thoughts” like Tinkerbell suggests.
Put the critical eye away…
Whether it’s taking a picture with friends or having a professional photograph you, we all worry about one thing: how do we look? Yes, it’s important, but I want to put out a word of caution here. You are your worst critic.
I’ve taken thousands of photographs since I started my business and I cannot tell you how many times I look at a photo (one I think is absolutely stunning) only to have my client point out five things about them that they don’t like. There is nothing wrong with the photo and no one else would notice these things, but they can pick them out in an instant.
Stop! Stop pointing out your imperfections. The face you see is a face that your loved ones, coworkers, and grocery store clerks see, and I can guarantee they aren’t pointing out those “flaws”. Don’t let the things you see become a deterrent from enjoying a picture with friends or having your headshots taken.
I’m sure this wasn’t the post you were expecting. You may have wanted some technical advice or the answer the pressing question: How do I take the best selfie ever? I’m more than happy to answer that in person at the conference (come take a picture with me!) but I hope you see that these things are more essential to a good photograph than the technical side of photography will ever be.
Emilie Hendryx is a freelance writer and photographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She’s a member of ACFW and writes romantic suspense and YA Scifi. In her spare time you can find her designing fun bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.