I get it. You hate putting yourself out there. You worry that people will get sick of seeing the sight of your face all over their social media feeds. You wonder what your family and your friends from a former life will think of you, and it is scary!
What I want to do in this blog post is to encourage you to get over that fear of being on camera, and give you actionable steps that you can take right now. Do them in the comfort of your own home.
Wait until you have some time to yourself when you know you won’t be disturbed. Put your phone on silent, turn off any notifications, lock the office door or barricade the bedroom, and let’s dive in!
You are NOT Everywhere!
What I’ve found is that browsing your own social media profiles in isolation can give the false impression that you’re “everywhere”. All you see in your Instagram profile page is Me! Me! Me!; but really, for someone idly scrolling on their phone, your face isn’t popping up in every other post.
Instead, it’s dispersed among the other however-many accounts that people follow. Even if you post once a day, depending on the algorithms, there’s a good chance that your profile might not be seen on a daily basis by everyone who follows you.
To them, they’re still seeing you, but it’s as part of your regular drip-feed. They’re not receiving it all in one go and feeling spammed by it. How often do you follow the account of an influencer or entrepreneur, and feel overwhelmed by the number of times you see their face? You don’t! So why would it be any different for someone following you?
Over time, as you grow your audience, they will get to know you and actually stop and take the time to read your post, engage with it and comment on it. All that can be achieved by you simply showing up every day through your regular drip feed, educating, entertaining, informing and inspiring them. That is, after all, why they follow you in the first place.
This one is so crucial: don’t try to be someone you’re not. If everyone else around you is loud and outgoing and you’re not, then just be yourself. You might feel like people aren’t noticing you, but they are.
By being yourself, you can attract the people who relate to you, who really matter and who want to be your clients. Trying to be someone you’re not depletes your energy reserves and attracts the wrong kind of people to your brand and your business.
Just like you wouldn’t want to engage with someone who comes across in one way online, and another way in person, it’ll be the same for people looking for someone to relate to.
Perhaps you feel like your quietness is a disadvantage, but it can be a strength. You can be a good listener, you can be quietly confident; and when you speak, everyone knows it’s because you have something worthwhile to say, and they will listen.
Only you can do you. Put visual affirmations and inspiring quotes around your home or workspace to remind yourself that it’s more than okay to be different! Write down your strengths and begin to create a business and a brand around these strengths. They will come across in your marketing and your followers will want to know more.
Know your body – focus on what you love
Most of the time you’re so fixated on the things you dislike about yourself, but now I want you to focus on what you love about yourself. Is your long, thick mane of hair your pride and joy? Do people comment on your warm eyes and open smile?
Take the time to emphasise your favourite features, and hide your least favourites. Treat yourself to a blow-dry, find a shade of lipstick that makes your smile pop, or break in that pair of heels that make your legs look longer.
On the flip side, if there are parts of your body that you’d rather keep hidden and can cover them with strategic clothing choices, do so! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Long-sleeved tops to hide those bingo-wings.
- Close-fitting clothing can create a more flattering silhouette than baggy, loose or floaty tops that can actually make you look bigger than you really are.
- A pretty necklace or a scarf to draw attention away from your chin(s).
- Belts around your midriff to give your straight up-and-down body shape a waist.
Find poses you can relax into
By now, you’ve had lots of practice at watching yourself in your little window on a Zoom video chat. Take note of how you’re sitting. Are you leaning forward, are your shoulders slumped? Is looking down towards the camera on your laptop giving you an extra chin that wasn’t there before?
Try sitting upright, put your shoulders back, look straight ahead, push your head forward slightly and dip your chin down. See the difference?
I know this will feel silly, but try out a few poses in front of a mirror. Turning to a 45-degree angle and putting your hands on your hips will streamline your silhouette. Your arms will create a nice triangle shape to break up your outline, whereas having your arms hanging down at your sides gives the illusion that your body looks wider.
Only try out poses that feel natural to you. You don’t have to attempt cheerleader or Wonder Woman poses if it’s not your style. Or, if you find that these “power poses” give you a mental energy boost, go for it!
Follow people on social media who look like you
This was a great tip from Amy Porterfield in her podcast about her brand photography experience.
Find people and influencers on social media who look like you. People with the same hair, eyes, body shape, height, etc. How do they pose in their photographs? Can you begin to emulate them?
Notice how these people tackle what they see as their insecurities. Perhaps, like you, they’re sensitive about their spare tyre. Do they hide it with dark, close-fitting clothing and strategically-placed props or tables, or do they embrace it?
They know they’re not perfect and they’re not trying to be. They know that others struggle with their self image and self worth, and this is their way of connecting with the same people that they want to help.
PS: another tip from Amy involved a small amount of alcohol before her session! Obviously not recommended if you’re driving, but if you’re not and you need to relax a little, well…It’s wine o’clock somewhere in the world!
Remember why you’re doing it
You didn’t get into this for fame or fortune or glory, but there’s a reason you set up your business. You set it up to help people who have faced the same challenges as you. Your knowledge and expertise can encourage and inspire people to better themselves, whether that’s in their personal or business lives.
But…how can you help them if they don’t know you’re there?
I was the same when I started. I was hiding behind blog articles, social media posts and the occasional picture of me with a Mona Lisa smile to hide my teeth, but since I began to open up and let people see more of me, I gained so much back. I let people see my funny face on video and even *gulp* hear my quiet little voice!
If I wanted to encourage other people to be seen and heard, I had to start doing it myself. Straight away it gives others something to relate to, to empathise with, support, and even admire you for.
So share your “whys”, and tell your followers why you set up your business. Use it as one of your key marketing strategies, and the right clients will find you.
People don’t notice your “flaws”
Whatever perceptions we have about ourselves, chances are that they are not what other people immediately notice.
You worry they’ll see that spot that erupted two minutes before your session, your lazy eye or your double chin. What they actually notice is your friendly face, smiling eyes, or gorgeous hair.
When I uploaded my first ever live video to my LinkedIn profile – major mental obstacle overcame right there -, I made the mistake of watching it back. As I talked, my face was as rubbery as Jim Carrey’s and my eyebrows would give Peter Capaldi a run for their money for expressive acting.
And what happened? Nothing. No one noticed. I made a jokey comment about it, and everyone said they hadn’t seen it at all.
Have some props to hold to keep your hands busy
Idle hands! It’s so hard to know what to do with them! That’s why having a good selection of tactile and beautiful props to hand – no pun intended – is a great way to stop those fidgety fingers.
It’s almost calming to have something familiar to hold onto and focus on, as well as it being a good excuse to give your face a break from smiling and get some thoughtful, concentrated expressions for variety.
You can even omit your face entirely and get some close-up shots of your hands holding your favourite cup, writing in your planner or doing detail work on your handmade items.
Clothes with pockets in them, as well as being the holy grail for women everywhere, are also useful as somewhere to hold your hands or hook your thumb for some posing variety during a photography session.
So, there you have it. Eight tips to help you move past your feelings of insecurity when you have to appear on camera.
Things won’t change overnight. It does take time to build that resilience and feelings of self-worth. Even professional photographers struggle when they have to step out from behind the camera, and every one of them will tell you that the first ten minutes of any shoot can feel awkward.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful, but basically, you just have to give it a go! What’s the worst that could happen?
Amy Porterfield Photoshoot Podcast
Catherine is a brand photographer based in the north east of England. She helps eco-friendly businesses nurture their audience, sustain their brand and conserve their time on social media by creating a collection of custom brand images for them to use in all their online content. You can find her at the links below:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – https://www.catherinetuckwellphotography.co.uk
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/catherine_tuckwell_photography/
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-tuckwell-photography/