In most of my photos you’ll either see me trying to look cool and sometimes I manage to pull it off (just about!). On other occasions I’m smiling like I’ve just heard something hilarious and laughed so hard that you’d see a six pack if you lifted up my top. I’ll let you in on a secret. Behind all of that, an ever so small part of my soul is dying from embarrassment that I literally have to tell myself the following:
Do it for the ‘gram. Just do it for the fucking ‘gram.
Before I started my blog, I avoided taking photos in the same way that I avoid household animals (ohhh how times have changed, I honestly feel like a different woman). I’ve always felt massively awkward in front of the camera and that will forever be a known fact to me. Despite having seen almost every single season of America’s Next Top Model, I can confidently say that it’s still not enough to save my sorry ass the minute a camera gets pointed in my direction. I would always feel like a dumbass that looked like she was trying too hard. In most instances, I would epically fail to get a decent shot and if I did, it would be one that I lucked out on. Looking back at my Instagram you’ll see that I’m nowhere to be found but fast-forward and my face now graces the likes of almost every photo. It never occurred to me that I’d one day willingly go out in London and take outfit shots in front of the general public.
When I tell people that I’m going out to take photos for my blog, I don’t think they truly understand what that means. I think in their minds it consists of me going into London and taking a few pictures in a nice quiet location on a sunny day, where no one can interrupt or see me. When I first started all of this, those shooting conditions would have been ideal. In reality it’s nothing like that but a girl can always dream!
The one question that I get asked all the time by friends and family is:
How do you do it?
I stand there, some one takes a few photos and voila…Blog/ Instagram content!
I mean there’s no specific science behind it, you literally just have to not give a shit. It’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you have people staring at you or better yet shouting things at you:
“It’s freezing, aren’t you cold?”
– No shit Sherlock, what do you think?
If you’re starting off, here are a few things that I’ve learnt over the past year:
1) Stay Focused
I’ve learnt to just filter everything around me out and if a kind stranger shouts a compliment towards me, I’ve learnt to just smile politely and say thank you. It’s inevitable that people will stare at you but focus on yourself and the camera. Humans are nosy by nature so when they see someone standing in the middle of Leadenhall Market posing in front of an SLR camera, it’s going to peak their curiosity. Like I’ve said before, if people are going to look give them something worth looking at.
2) Be as confident as you can
Confidence is SO important when you’re out shooting. The more I shoot, the more resilient I am now to the constant stares that it ALMOST doesn’t even phase me anymore. I still have to tell myself that: you will never see these people again so why do you care what they think? The shoots don’t get easier, your tolerance for people’s judgement increases, trust me! Guys have cracked jokes and outwardly laughed at me. If you find yourself in this situation, DO NOT let it get to you. I’ve literally just learnt to go along with it and laugh because it makes for great candid shots!
3) Prepare your outfits beforehand
The night before or even on the day of shooting I’ll pick out my outfits. My biggest tip is to pick something that you feel comfortable with. Shooting in public is already anxiety provoking as it is so don’t make it difficult for yourself. By all means wear what you want but if you’re feeling nervous maybe save that daring outfit for another time. For me the more comfortable I got with shooting the more creative I started to get with my outfits. It definitely took some time but I feel like I can wear a bold look and not even give a damn or think twice about it.
4) Find the right photographer
One thing that’s made me not completely die of shame when shooting is being comfortable with who’s taking my photos. Initially I started with just my sister and brother but this slowly extended to friends/ family and even dates (yes, I went there). There have been occasions, where I’ve been out and the person that I’m with can’t even fathom the thought of taking my photo because they get embarrassed. In that moment all I’m thinking to myself is:
Bitch get your shit together, I’m the one that’s about to look like an idiot. What are you worrying about?!
If you can, find someone who won’t feed into your anxiety because, it will be written all over your face in the shots. Luckily I’ve been able to find myself a photographer that I feel 100% comfortable with, that I can’t even bare the thought of shooting with anyone else.
5) Have fun with it
Initially you’ll feel like you’re in a fish tank and all eyes are on you. Once you get past that feeling, enjoy what you’re doing. Shooting has been something that I actually look forward to. It’s an escape and something completely different compared to my day job so the novelty of it is refreshing to say the least. More often than not you just don’t know what to expect when you shoot in London and that for me is what makes it fun. Don’t get me wrong the uncertainty is almost painful but I always find myself laughing and having a good time. I mean if you can’t enjoy it, then what’s the point in putting yourself through all of this, right? So smile because there are only so many photos you can have with a resting bitch face.
Lastly, IF you’re as lucky as me you might even have more than one person taking your photo:
“What am I looking at Rhea?” is what you might be thinking. Well, can you see that man in the blue jumper and tan trousers taking a photo in the background? Long story short, he is not my photographer…
*insert upside down smiley face emoji*
Apart from feeling like I had my own personal paparazzi, remember that this is London so you’ll encounter some interesting people who have no shame.
Just roll with it and focus on what you’ve got to do.
Lots of love,