Ironically, it seems the people most drawn to my monthly subscription photography service are one-person brands that would love nothing in the world more than to not be caught on camera.
This can be tough, since one of the top-recommended ways for one-person brands to grow and gain trust is to feature themselves prominently and often on their website and social channels.
That said, the world is filled with really creative people just like my clients, who want to run a business all on their own but also maintain a little mystery… or privacy. And these folks from around the world have come up with clever ways to show up without showing too much—so we’re going to draw from some of their brilliant ideas today!
Here are 7 great ways for the shy and self-conscious to get on camera, protect themselves, and have a lot of fun!
Way #1 - Make it whimsical
One great way to get on camera is to let go of the notion that doing so means posing for headshots. Ugh, you don’t have to be shy or self-conscious to hate that feeling! So abandon the idea of headshots altogether, and shoot (literally) for something with a little more personality.
Ask your closest friends what about you makes them laugh or feel inspired. Ask them to share specific examples and memories. Then ask them how they would capture this in a photo—and maybe instead of going out with a pro, go out with friends and make that photo happen.
Way #2 - Don’t show your face
There’s no rule that says to show yourself, you have to show your face. There are many influencers out there today who never show their faces, and there are even more who only show part of their face or show their faces rarely.
If you do these right, they won’t look like you’re hiding from the camera, but instead like you’re playing hard to get. Work with your professional photographer to find way to pull off no-show photos that draw in your ideal clients and reflect your personality.
Examples: TeaforThreeNYC, SwannandtheBerries, PrettyLittleFawn, HilaryRushford, RowanMade/OurHealingHouse, this model for Anthropologie, this model for LucaAndGrae, Stef.Heitz, KylieKatich, HilaryRushford again, PrettyLittleFawn again, AlexisMayMcMullin, JaciMarieSmith
Way #3 - Don’t show your whole face
As mentioned above, there are plenty of bloggers and social media influencers who have gotten clever in “peeking out” without revealing their complete identity.
You might consider working up to this if you’re growing your brand and so far have never shown your face. Over time, letting your guard down just a little more will surprise your audience, and maybe make them curious to know more.
Way #4 - Do it with friends
This won’t work for everyone, because some people are definitely more self-conscious the more people there are around. But I will say that back in the day, when I shot senior portraits, I encouraged students to come in small groups—because they all tended to know how to make one another laugh, and this put them more at ease and made them look happier on camera.
Additionally, having 3-4 different “minds” at a shoot can mean more ideas, more eyes on the little details, and more spontaneity. All of these things have the potential to lead to better shoots. And if you take group photos, there’s less pressure on you, because the photographer’s eyes aren’t only on you.
Examples: SariBariIndia, ThatGemRuby, ARawCollection, ChelseyJadeCurtis, WildAdventurousLife, KylieKatich, PromiseTangeman/GoLiveHQ, TheGivingKeys, Lichipan, RisingTideSociety, AspynOvard, HilaryRushford, OuiGirl
Way # 5 - Focus on a reflection or shadow
This does two things: One, it means you don’t have to figure out where to look—at the lens or the photographer?—and you also don’t have any eyes directly on you when the photo is being taken, so you can relax a little.
Two, it also means the final photograph is much more likely to be something you love, since your face won’t be in tack-sharp focus or be displayed dead-on. Everyone tends to be a little more self-conscious when they feel exposed in these ways—but in a reflection or shadow, that’s not a problem!
Way #6 - Add an element of motion
You can loosen up your limbs and forget a bit about the camera when your body has an assignment. Twirling your skirt or hair, leaping or jumping, wheeling by on a bicycle, or pouring a cup of coffee can give your arms and/or legs something to do so that you don’t have to wonder what to do with them as you wait to hear the shutter click.
Pro tip: Just remember to smile and even fake laugh a little when you’re in motion. It can be easy to forget what your face looks like when you’re concentrating on a physical task; but the whole goal here is to make yourself accessible and approachable, which you won’t be if you have resting witch face!
Way #7 - Become a prop in the shot
(shoot from a distance)
You can serve as a point of interest in a photo that appears to be about something else, and as a result really alleviate the pressure to “act natural” in front of the camera.
Have you ever seen a photo of, say, a style blogger, full-body, basically just standing nonchalantly and looking off to one side in front of a mural wall? This is an example of what I mean. So to is a person standing on the shoreline and looking out to sea.
Was this helpful? If so, pin the post so you never lose it! Then drop me a comment with your Instagram or Pinterest handle below, so I can see how you’re using these ideas and making them your own. Can’t wait!