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Overcoming Photo Shoot Anxiety: Embracing Your Inner Confidence

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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.

Hello & welcome

Woman with her natural curly hair in a loose bun on the top of her head, she is wearing a cream cashmere sweater and casually leaning back on a white wall.

Acknowledging insecurities and the vulnerability experienced in front of the camera

At my studio, I’ve noticed that almost everyone gets nervous when it comes to having their photos taken, especially when they’re updating their headshots. Even models I’ve worked with have their own insecurities and photoshoot anxiety! So, please know that you are not alone in your fears.

Clients often worry about things like their weight, age, hair color, birthmarks, smile, pimples and so much more. These insecurities tend to surface as soon as a camera is pulled out, leaving you feeling vulnerable and exposed. There’s nowhere to hide from the camera’s gaze.

I understand that simply telling you “you’ll be fine” won’t make the nerves disappear. However, I would like to share some pointers to help ease your anxiety before you come into the studio.

Shifting the inner dialogue from self-doubt to self-affirmation

First, let’s talk about the power of a positive mindset to help you overcome photoshoot anxiety. Before coming into the studio, practicing self-affirmations can be incredibly helpful for your session. We’ve all been taught the importance of a positive mindset in various aspects of life. Athletes use it to win games, successful people use it to see themselves as accomplished individuals and even millionaires use it to shift their negative mindset about money to one of abundance. So why not bring that mindset into our personal lives when it comes to taking photos?

Start by adjusting your inner dialogue from “I am someone who takes bad photos” to “I love having my photos taken” or “It’s going to be so rewarding to have an amazing photo of myself.” I know it may sound a bit fluffy, but we all know that mindset plays a huge role in our success.

If you’re having trouble with affirmations, try writing down what you’re grateful for about your personal strengths. Then, move on to writing down what you love about yourself. Having trouble coming up with items, as a friend or a loved one. If you make this a daily practice, it will become easier for you to accept these things about yourself.

Women in a cream cashmere sweater, peaking through white curtains with a closed eye smile, enjoying herself

Embracing the role of your own best friend in boosting confidence

Another helpful technique to overcoming photo anxiety is to speak to yourself as if you were your best friend. Take a moment to write down all the negative thoughts you have about taking photos. Seriously, grab a pen and paper and let it all out. Now, imagine your best friend coming up to you and expressing their nervousness about getting their photos taken. What would you say to them? Take that first list and write your response as if you were talking to your best friend.

It’s interesting how we can be so encouraging and kind to everyone else, yet so hard on ourselves. So, I challenge you to adopt that same kindness for yourself. When negativity starts to arise, take a deep breath and step into the role of your own best friend. Flip the script in your head and speak to yourself with the same kindness and encouragement you would offer to others.

Exploring the effectiveness of vision boards in manifesting goals

Now, let’s talk about vision boards and Pinterest. Personally, I am a strong believer in the power of vision boards. I’m that person who creates one yearly and I, at one point, I even had a weekly planner with a vision board section I would fill in every Sunday.

When you get clear on your intentions, dreams, and goals, and visualize them through images, your brain naturally seeks out those things. It may not happen overnight, but over time, I’ve seen it work wonders.

Think of your headshots as your personal 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?

Don’t forget to share your vision board with me so I can understand the direction you want to go in!

Embodying Your Vision

Make a point to look at your vision board daily. This will not only help you prepare for your headshots, but it will also train your brain to remember those images. When you have your session, you’ll naturally embody the qualities and energy captured in those images.

You can go old-fashioned and cut out images and paste them onto a physical board, or you can create a digital board on Pinterest to save your favorite images. I have a widget on my phone screen that scrolls through photos from my recent vision board, so I am constantly seeing those visuals. I have already checked of many of these “visions” in real life!

Once your session is complete, your photos become your new vision board for your badass self. Even on your worst days, you can look at those photos and see yourself at your very best. This visual reminder can help eliminate negativity from your mind.

Recognizing that perfection is not attainable, but progress is within reach

Remember, it’s all about progress, not perfection. This quote has been a guiding principle in many aspects of my life. None of us are perfect, including myself. But if we keep trying, we’ll eventually reach where we’re meant to be. This includes being kinder to ourselves.

Imagine what a better world we would live in if we were just a little bit nicer to ourselves. Kindness is contagious, and when we start from within, it eventually radiates out into the world. So, even if it starts with how we talk about ourselves in our homes, in our mirrors or around our workplace, it can make a significant difference when we are out in the world.

Woman embracing white curtains in a cream cashmere sweater, closing her eyes

I am here not only as your photographer but as your biggest cheerleader!

When you’re ready to see yourself as the confident, badass woman that you truly are, let me know. And even if you’re not quite shouting it from the rooftops just yet, that’s okay. We’ll start small and work our way up to a roar. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader, even when you find it challenging to be one for yourself.

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On this podcast, host, Molly Hebda, and her brand photography clients as they cozy up on the emerald green couch to have fun, intimate conversations about their transformational journeys. These conversations are meant to inspire other women on their entrepreneurial journey, so they don’t feel so alone in their struggles, fears, and doubts. 

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