How to Smile for the Camera

As photographers, we know how hard it is to suddenly step on the other side of the camera, whether it is for ourselves or for someone else. I personally feel much more comfortable taking my own photograph for the simple reason that I have control. I can hit delete or use any picture I choose, whereas with someone else, they have that control.

I was in need of a new headshot because I’ve been using the same thing for ages. I have always taken my own headshots because it just seemed normal. I know how to work a camera, so why would I get someone else to do it? Well, I the more I thought about that notion, the more it intrigued me to ask someone else to portray me as they see me. I wondered where we would shoot, and what types of poses or expressions they would ask for.

So, while I was in St. Louis, MO and staying with my good friend Amy Parrish, I knew she was the perfect person to ask. I adore her style, though it is different from my own. I believe in her ability to capture a person’s soul. So I asked her if she would honor me with a picture. I am so thankful she agreed. We had a whole thing planned for the forest, but with freezing temps and busy schedules we never got around to shooting there. So instead, on a short break, as we stood in our hotel room, she took my picture.

I had been playing with the curtains and watching how the beautiful evening light filled the room, and when she noticed, she fell in love with it too. I started walking away from the window when she told me to stop, and asked if we could do the shoot right then and there. I thought it sounded perfect, and so in less than 5 minutes she took these pictures of me.

Strange, how a 5 minute photo shoot in a hotel room can completely capture how I feel inside, but it did. The way she processed the images, the way she posed me…it felt right. I felt like myself, and somehow, that is the hardest thing to feel when in front of the camera. Like you belong. Like you are being captured in a way that is true to who you are.

So there we have it. A new headshot and some pictures I will cherish forever because of the memory and because my amazing friend Amy captured them.

 

  • January 31, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Mary-Claire - Really pretty. And you will remember your time with Amy and at AD when you look at the pictures. Perfect.ReplyCancel

    • February 1, 2014 - 8:11 am

      brookeshaden - I definitely will 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:11 am

    elena - you’ve got gorgeous eyes! (besides being such a wonderful person all around)ReplyCancel

    • February 1, 2014 - 8:12 am

      brookeshaden - Awww I’m literally blushing behind my computer! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:21 am

    Mary Angelini - You look so beautiful, vibrant and happy. I think they really embrace (I hate to say capture because it sounds malicious) who you are and the color pallate is so you!!ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:32 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank you mary!!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:21 am

    Lisa Lizarraga - I sometimes wonder what is being thought by the person i am doing a portrait of. I look into their eyes in post processing and wonder. I feel like this is very authentic to you and it seems as if your eyes are saying, “This is just me”. Very cool.ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:32 pm

      brookeshaden - Definitely so interesting to consider. How does the other person feel, and what is running through their mind?ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:48 am

    Kelly Buechlein - you look so YOU and the moments/memories behind them are even better.ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:32 pm

      brookeshaden - Awww thank you Kelly!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 8:55 am

    Rocio - WOW! These photos absolutely do show who you are inside and out. You are so beautiful inside and out as well! Your light shines through your eyes. I feel like I can see your soul! <3ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:35 pm

      brookeshaden - Thank you Rocio!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 9:00 am

    Paulo Carvalho - Well! I do not even know what to say! I lost myself in those eyes and soul! Beautiful! In Portugal we say, sometimes an image is worth a thousand words. What appears to be the case. Congratulations to you and Amy Parrish.ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:35 pm

      brookeshaden - Aww thank you Paulo!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 9:10 am

    tiffaney - Beautiful images. I notice some great catch light in your eyes. Is it natural Window light?ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2014 - 8:35 pm

      brookeshaden - Yep window light!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 9:42 am

    Amani - Beautiful pictures, you look amazing. I think Amy did a great job at capturing who you really are.
    And I love that headband <3ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2014 - 11:48 am

    Vinod Krishnan - you look so beautiful….ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2014 - 6:51 am

    Susan Eckert - Dear Brooke, not to undermine your dear friend but I imagine it would be difficult to NOT get beautiful shots of you. You radiate from your soul and that what makes your presence so beautiful (of course it doesnt hurt that youve got fab eyes, hair and skin!) lol! These are gorgeous. And your trust in your friend certainly shows in your eyes. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2014 - 9:16 am

    renee stengel - Just beautiful Brook. I feel so blessed to have met you in St Louis, I truly feel that you helped awake something inside me. I have been so focused on how to run the business of my photography studio for the last 18 months, that I believe I had lost some of the passion. Watching you and your passion has reignited some of that joy in me. You are truly a beautiful spirit. Thank you for giving of yourself so freely. ~ ReneeReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2014 - 10:02 am

    Mineisha - You are such a beautiful person! I wish more people could appreciate these little things like you do. I feel so blessed that I know about your existence. I hope I can meet you one day.ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2014 - 1:12 pm

    Margherita Introna - So beautiful <3 I totally hear you about surrendering control to allow somebody else to take your portrait… Your friend did a wonderful job. I think she captured your light and depth beautifully.ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Tara Eveland - Wow, I just noticed this post and I thought I’d read it because yesterday I went and got my own ‘new me’ head shots done (I have lost about 40 lbs in the last 6 months so it was time). I felt so odd posing for someone else, being the person in front of the lens instead of behind it. But I did what you did, as soon as I knew I needed a new image of myself I sought out the person I felt could capture ME best. His name is Cliff Ingram, from Princeton Indiana and he is AMAZING with light. In fact he specializes I would say in turning photos of women into art. He’s just fantastic!
    As I guessed he did a great job, I loved the new photos, the essence they captured! If you have a chance to look him up his studio is Ingram Images, I think you’d find his work with fine art interesting.
    Also, I LOVE the second image of you.The light, your eyes, you are just gorgeous inside and out Brooke! Get well soon and see you in a few days!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Cliff Ingram - It was a pleasure to have you in. And thanks for the kind words.ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 12:51 am

    Przemysław Wróbel - This is the truth as it is difficult to pose a photographer, I’m a rule I have made silly faces 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Bryon Cole - Brooke, I’m enjoying your ” Master your Craft ” course on Creative Live and came over to see your blog. Your headshot looks amazing, such a timeless beautiful photograph. I completely agree with the others that you have gorgeous eyes and the lighting really enhances your natural beauty. Stunning!ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2014 - 4:41 pm

    Lu - You are like an Elf from Lord of the Rings. But you created your own fairy tale. Thanks for sharing with us. Cheers to you!ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 8:39 am

    Siyana Kasabova - I know what you mean! I always say that it’s important for photographers to have their photos taken by someone else as well.. We need to feel vulnerable, it helps us better understand our models and it makes us learn to love ourselves 🙂 To trust a photographer is not an easy thing to do! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2018 - 10:24 am

    Anna D. Bruce - You could totally be on the set for Lord of the Rings.ReplyCancel

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