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There is something about a camera lens that is so intimidating. It's irritating, really, how quickly you can forget how to use your arms and legs properly. And what do you do with your hands?! Hips, pockets....nothing feels right. (Insert Talladega Nights meme here.) In the back of your head you consider going for ice cream instead of your photo session and just using last year's Christmas photo again.
Unless you are a professional "YouTuber", you have probably felt some sort of anxiety about stepping in front of the camera. Lord knows I am much happier behind the scenes. Let me put your mind at ease and show you how to enjoy your photography session.
1. I'm awkward, TOO! This may not make you feel better right away, but let me tell you why this is a good thing for you. I can sense when you feel uncomfortable, when something doesn't feel like "you" or you're having trouble connecting with each other. I can see it right away and fix what's not working before the shutter closes. So many times, people sense how anxious they are and then become even more self-conscious. The key is facing that awkwardness head on - embracing it rather than smothering it in fake smiles. I actually tell my clients that if they feel awkward they are doing it right!! It's sometimes the moments that you feel utterly ridiculous that brings out the most genuine smiles, giggles and connection.
2. Turn off your brain. This will be more challenging for people like me that like to be in control and know every detail about everything. Once you've arrived to the session, all the work on your part is done. Put your brain on "sleep mode" (kind of, I don't want you to actual fall asleep) and just be present. If your mind is distant in thought it will show through in your images. Let me do all the problem solving so you can enjoy this hour away from the dirty dishes with your family.
3. Trust Me. By the time you have arrived to your session, we will have had lots of correspondence. If you are a first time client, I will have asked several questions to get to know your family and even sent you a questionnaire. I'll know what images are most important to you and how each member of the family is different. I'll guide you together for each photograph, but ultimately let your natural connection take the lead. You can trust that I will photograph your family in a way that reflects who you are - and I hope this allows you the freedom to let go and have fun. (What a good segue into #4)
4. Let yourself have fun. Yes! I give you permission to have a great time! I know that sometimes the whispers in our head tell us that we will be judged for being completely and unashamedly ourselves, but I promise I am not judging you. (Unless you come wearing your Old Navy flip flops...then I might be a little.) So let your family be happy together, play and laugh, tell inside jokes and don't hide the blush in your face when your hubby flashes you an adoring glance. It's all good! You'll leave with beautiful and authentic images.
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Hi! I am Jamie Smith, owner of Oak Tree Photography in Southern Oklahoma.