How to Relax on Camera for Great Results [Step-by-Step]

Beat the Butterflies: How relaxing into the experience leads to incredible results

What makes a stunning photo is more than just great light, composition, and background. Of course these elements are important, but how you show up emotionally also matters. Allowing yourself to relax into the experience can transform an image from flat to dynamic.


I know you’re thinking, “easy for you to say Maggie, you’re not the one in front of the camera.”
I get it. Seriously, I do. Just like you, I HAVE been the super nervous subject of a photograph.


From my experience both behind AND in front of the camera, the more left brain you can go, the better. If you can get out of your head and into the moment, it’ll come across in your pictures. If that seems impossible, here are a few steps walking you through how to relax on camera:


natural boudoir photos


1. Show up. Showing up is half the battle.  Doing a boudoir shoot is a pretty gutsy move. Going to a place to meet new people where you have to be seen in your undies is tough. You feel exposed and vulnerable. Brene Brown, an expert psychologist on this topic says “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.”


You hear that? You’re being courageous just by showing up. For that reason alone you should feel proud and one more step closer to confident.


2. Breathe. I think breathing is a secret source of strength for most challenges. Before I delivered my first son I met with a doula coach who taught me techniques to deal with the pain. My favorite and most helpful technique was simple: breath awareness. She said come back to your breath when you feel overwhelmed. I think the same advice can be applied to boudoir.


When you feel nervous and like you can’t relax, Come back to your breath. Inhale and exhale through your mouth focusing on releasing any tension . Soon your body you will loosen up and before you know it you’ll feel much more comfortable. Plus, the act of breathing looks great on camera.


how to relax on camera photos

3. Think of a smile. The one thing that’s tough to adjust in post-production is expression.  Worry can come through in your pictures.  A great trick to keep negative thoughts at bay is to simply think of a smile. Why does this work?  Research shows that when you smile, even when you just think of a smile, you activate the release of neuropeptides that work to fight off stress. It’s like gulping a chemical cocktail of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, which help to relax you and can even lower your blood pressure and heart rate.


Physically, the thought of a smile instantly lightens your face–softening your eyes and raising the corners of your lips.  This is the key to those serious, but pleasant pictures like below.


4. Have fun! You don’t have to take this experience too seriously. You’re in a safe space where we want and encourage you to enjoy yourself. When in doubt, shake it out.


how to relax on camera photos