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From, Molly

How to Be Relaxed in Photos by Releasing Anxiety

June 6, 2022

Molly, the owner and chief dreamer at Molly Hebda Photography, has a passion for helping creative, purpose-driven women in business feel seen with confidence and strength. Without compromising their femininity.

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Almost everyone gets nervous.

Almost every single person who has come into the studio has been nervous about getting their photos taken, especially when simply updating their headshots. Even the models I have worked with have insecurities! You are not alone in your fears. 

Clients worry about their weight, their age, their hair color, birthmarks, their smile, their(insert all of the things that you worry about), and more. Women and men, no matter what age they are, have these insecurities and they are brought up to the surface as soon as a camera is pulled out. Having your photos taken can leave you feeling very vulnerable. You are out in the open, exposed and there is nowhere to hide from the camera. 

I know telling you that “you will be fine” will not make it any easier. So let me give you some pointers to help you at least take some of the anxiety down a notch.

Be your own Stuart Smalley

Did I just age myself? Stuart Smalley was a Saturday Night Live character who hosted a show called Daily Affirmations. Stuart wore his baby blue knit sweater and repeated into the mirror, “I am good enough. I am smart enough. And, doggonit, people like me!”

Honestly though, before coming into the studio, practicing a positive mindset will be helpful for your session. We have been taught to use a positive mindset in helping us to see ourselves as successful people, athletes have used it to win games and millionaires have used it to change their negative mindset about money to an abundant one. Why not take that mindset into our personal lives when having our photos taken?

Start by practicing and adjusting your inner dialog from “I am someone who takes bad photos” to “I love to have my photos taken”. Or “It’s going to be so rewarding to have a photo of myself that I am proud of and excited to share”. I know it can sound fluffy, but science shows mindset and visualization can be a huge part of our successes.

If you are having a hard time with affirmations, start by writing down what you are grateful for about your own personal strengths. Then move onto writing what you love about yourself. If you do this on a daily basis, it will start to become easier for you to accept these wonderful things about yourself and build your confidence when you are in front of the camera. 

Speak to yourself as your best friend

Stop and write down all of the negative things you have in your head about taking photos. Seriously, take out a pen and paper and write down the things that are stopping you from getting your photos taken. 

Now take that list and write your reply to it, as if you were responding to your best friend. You wouldn’t let her have those negative thoughts about herself, would you?

How is it that we can be encouraging and kind to everyone else, and so doggonit hard on ourselves? 

You will for sure be kinder to yourself if you do this practice. When the negativity starts to arise, take a breath and step into the best friend role. I challenge you to flip the script in your head and speak to yourself as your best friend!

Vision boards and Pinterest

I believe strongly in vision boards. I am the weirdo who has been known to not only do a vision board yearly, but I have done one in my weekly planner too. 

When you start to get clear on your intentions, dreams, and goals AND put a visual element to them, your brain naturally starts to seek those out for you. It may not happen overnight, but I know first hand how powerful this can be.

Think about your headshots as your vision board for who you want to be. Start pinning images that resonate with you. Look at the colors, expressions, poses, and outfits. Do they speak to you? Do they make you feel the way you want your clients to feel about you and your work? 

Make a point to look at your board daily. This will help you not only prepare for your headshots, but when you have your session, your brain starts to remember those images and helps you naturally embody them in front of the camera. You can go old-fashioned and cut out images and paste them onto a board or you can create a board on Pinterest to save your favorite images and add it to your desktop or your phone’s home screen. 

After your session, your new photos then become an updated vision board for your badass self. Even on your worst days, you can physically see and remember how it felt to be at your very best. This helps rid your brain of negativity!

Don’t forget to share the board with me, so I can get an idea of the direction you want to go in!

Progress not perfection

“Progress not perfection” has been a great quote to use for many parts of my life. I am not perfect, none of us are. But, if we keep working a little each day we will eventually get to where we are supposed to be. Including, being kinder to ourselves. Imagine what a better world we would live in if we were just nicer to ourselves? 

Kindness is contagious, and if we start from within, it will eventually radiate out into the world! Even if it just starts with how we talk about ourselves in our home or around our workplace. 

Let me know when you are ready to see yourself as the confident, badass woman(or man) that you are! If you are not quite shouting it from the rooftops yet, that’s ok. We will start small and work our way up to the roar. I will be your biggest cheerleader even when you are having a difficult time being one for yourself. 

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  1. […] With proper posing, head placement, and expression I can make the most fearful forget about those unwanted pounds, straight out of the camera even before we do any Photoshop. Thankfully, I have trained with the best of the best in how to do this. I do have a blog post that addresses anxiety in a photo shoot here. […]

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