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I am at best cheeky and cheesy in front of a camera. Those dramatic, styled fashion shots you see of bloggers? I'm not in a one. I grin too big, sit too casually, and break out into a funny face right as the shutter closes. However, since I am a big part of my brand, and I love connecting with readers/mommas/designers, I know that people need to see me, my face, and me involved in the work that I do. So it seems it's time I figured this out.
I asked two talents, also my roommates for The Hello Sessions, to give me all their knowledge. Jeran of Oleander and Palm can photo style a home like no one else I know, and PJ of A Girl Named PJ has all the best sense for easy and chic fashion.
And, lucky you, I think some of their genius rubbed off. I'm sharing with you the 7 ways that you can help a friend take great selfies. I suppose these are more self portraits or headshots, but you get where I'm going with this. . . photos of you. . . that are usable, beautiful, and ones you'll be proud to share.
1. LET YOUR LOCATION WORK FOR YOU.
The ladies and I were strategic with our choice of hotels. We selected The ACE Hotel in Portland which we knew has its own cool, well lit, urban vibe. Basically every nook and cranny in the place is editorial and photographable. We stayed in a triple that was on trend and without a bathroom. Priorities.
Takeaway: Find a location that makes you feel good. It should have its own vibe but not distract from you.
2. Pick a good time of day.
We all wanted to look fresh but not just washed so we had our coffee and conversation before we decided to start taking some pictures. This was a huge help to me, giving me time to relax and ease into poses.
Mid morning works well for daylight, too, depending on your location. Consider a later afternoon sunlight as well. We thought we'd walk all over the city to find the right location for lighting, and it turned out that the hallway right outside our room was the perfect filter.
Takeaway: Photograph mid morning or late afternoon and give yourself time to ease into the setting and relax.
3. GET THE GIGGLES OUT.
When I'm in the company of friends, I laugh. A lot. Sometimes that makes for a great photo. Sometimes it's too much. Give your friend time to laugh, stretch, dance (we clogged quite a bit), and move in whatever way she needs. The more natural expressions are on their way once you work your way through some of the discomfort. Don't give up.
Takeaway: Don't hold back. You're with friends. Let out all the laughter and awkwardness. Some great photos might be in that release or some great ones might be right around the corner.
4. HELP HER FIND HER POSE.
Some of us are very gifted in the knowledge of where our limbs end. Me? Not so much. I'm not always aware of how my face looks when I'm doing certain activities or which way my feet are turned or hands positioned.
Having people who could help me turn towards light, angle my body, move my shoes was invaluable. And once they helped me figure it out 3-4 times, I began to understand how to do it myself. Lean forward from the hips, pull my neck out a little more, reach down with my hand, sit up straight, shoulders down.
And friends are the best at bringing you the back of the camera to review. Is this one you like? How do you feel about this composition?
Takeaway: Help your friend look her best in her posing. If she's not getting your verbal direction, gently move her into the right posture (she'll thank you later). And show her what you've taken so that she can begin to learn what look she wants to project.
5. Throw out lots of compliments
Jeran and PJ rocked this one. Be effusive in your praise! Tell your friend everything that looks awesome and skip all the mentions of elements that are not awesome. Build confidence and comfort as you take photographs.
Takeaway: There is an element of vulnerability inherent in having your photograph taken. Be the friend that is super positive, telling her she looks beautiful and that you have so many great photographs. Keep the good vibes going.
6. Take a ton, a boatload of pictures
Yeeeeaaahh! We are in the digital age, and likely you are photographing on a digital camera or phone. So, don't worry about burning through film. Keep all the possibilities open and capture many, many images. Sometimes a strategic crop or a brightened image can be the money photo. I took well over a hundred photos of the three of us by the window, walking around, posing with our feet in the air, sitting on the couch, and (yes, yes!!) in the bathtub. Some I'm saving for our next friend reunion (insert wicked laugh).
7. Help your friend try something new
This is the biggest gift I think you can give. Perhaps she is used to making that same face in front of the lens or always putting her hand on her hip. Switch it up! Have her pick up her purse or lay across a couch. Ask her to hang upside down or go down the stairs. Sometimes the caught-in-the-middle pose is a fresh of breath air. Encourage props - keep the coffee in the photo and put on your glasses. Help her see herself in new ways through these images.
One more shout out to my ladies, Jeran and PJ, who had us in and out of all kinds of sillyness. It's not everyone that could get me to sit in front of a giant cat mural. But I'm kind of in love with the final image. Kudos, PJ.
Takeaway: Keep the possibilities open and challenge your friend to move differently and interact with the space in new ways! Surprise!! You might find the awesome photo in the unusual.
What did I miss? What do you do to take great photographs of friends? Share, please. I could use all the help I can get!!