Is anticipation of your “You” session making you a little nervous? This can happen to the best of us! Whether you are outwardly timid or regularly flaunt it for the world, when it comes to a relative stranger photographing your body in such an intimate way, the butterflies will likely begin to flutter. Luckily, we can offer some calming advice! After all, what happens on the inside is just as important as what happens on the outside when bringing out the sexy in you!
- Do not drink alcohol: The first thing many would want to use in order to calm nerves would be alcohol. BAD IDEA! Too much might see you go from “How am I going to do this?” to “What was I thinking?!” But fret not! There are a few other tricks:
- Psych yourself up before the shoot: It is likely you will have some time between the day you book your portrait session and the day you head to the studio. During that time you will likely have the opportunity to role play a bit! In the days leading up to your session, when dressing or undressing alone in your bedroom, pose a little. Do so as if the photographer is there and you have been charged with giving a sexy smile or posing seductively. Use a mirror, laugh a little, smile a lot, and be free with expressing your body. This might seem a bit silly at first and could potentially stir some nerves as well, but this is a good thing, as it will help take the edge off for your upcoming shoot! Plus, you are alone! Who is going to know? And, thanks to our wonderful imaginations, you can even begin mentally rehearsing the portrait shoot while going about your daily routine. During breaks at work, while resting in the evenings, during drive time, etc. let this scenario play continuously on some level in the back of your mind. After all, you wouldn’t give a presentation on Friday without first rehearsing it in your head all week now would you?
- Get to know your photographer: For all intents and purposes, my wife and I will likely be strangers to you before you decide to book an intimate portrait session. This is why it is very helpful for you to meet with us before the day of the shoot. Part of the reason we like to have a consultation with clients before setting up a “You” session is to let them get to know us a little and become more comfortable with me. It also helps us better tailor the shoot to your individual personality! And, best of all, we are willing to meet multiple times if that would put you more at ease with us. It can even be a casual conversation where we don’t even talk much about the shoot! The bottom line is: If you are comfortable with us, it will translate well into your portraits!
- Consider it from a third-person perspective: While your boudoir session is, in fact, all about you, it might be helpful to consider the dynamics of the situation. This is not going to be our first rodeo. We are professional and are very used to seeing our intimate clients in various stages of undress. You are not going to show us anything we haven’t seen before. Think of us as you would your doctor, but with a couple important differences: Your appointment with Abanathy Photography, LLC is going to be a lot less invasive and a lot more fun!
- Think if it like a day at the beach…with more control: This is where the concept of context will amaze you. Think of your intimate shoot like you would of going to a public beach. When you head to those warm shores, you are often more or less revealed in either a one or two-piece swimsuit, you are surrounded by strangers, and you don’t really think much about who might or might not be looking at you. Sometimes you might even loosen your top IN PUBLIC to reduce tan lines. An intimate portrait session is often not going to find you revealing much more than you would on a public beach. The only difference is: You are wearing underwear instead of a swimsuit (and, thanks to the last 30+ years of department store ads, that line has been sufficiently blurred), you will be a bit more familiar with us than you ever will be with whoever else is wondering the beach, and, unlike those sandy stroll-abouts, we have nothing but professional intentions with our time together.
- Take a warm bubble bath, shop, exercise, meditate, relax: If time permits, you may decide to relax in a nice bubble bath the night before your shoot, take a shopping trip, head to the gym, or simply meditate to recenter yourself. Any of these will help to convert that nervous energy and calm your mind. Let’s face it: is there anything a nice bubble bath can’t prepare one for?
- Bring your favorite music: One thing that can put people at ease in just about any situation is familiarity and one thing that can do this more than anything is music. We will always have some tunes picked out for the session, but will not object to a client bringing in their own playlist! And whether it is Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” or Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”, the trick is to find music that, for you, is upbeat, makes you feel sexy, and is fun!
- Bring a friend along for moral support: On the topic of familiarity, while nearly nude in a room with strangers and camera equipment, another calming agent could be to have a friend come along with you for strictly off-camera support. Having someone there who you fully know and trust can be a source of strength in an otherwise vulnerable situation. As a bonus, the energy formed between two long-time friends can really create wonderful levity in this scenario which will often translate into amazing portraits!
- Turn your nervousness into exhilaration: Adults don’t have enough, if any, opportunities in life to truly feel free. This is one of those opportunities and, in the right state of mind, it can be amazing! So bend the taboos, release your worries, and turn that nervous energy into that of exhilarating freedom! Be beautiful, be sexy, be playful, be soft, be vulnerable, and own it all with the driven intent of being proudly and uninhibitedly human for just a little while!