I owe you all the most sincerest and deepest apologies.

So, in true “Amanda” style I’m levelling up and being totally honest and transparent AF.

I recently posted on my socials about how I hate having my photo taken and it seems to have really resonated with quite a lot of you. I love this, so I thought we might dive a little deeper into this self loathing BS that we all carry and take a moment to unpack some of this heaviness.

I realized that I really struggle with having my photo taken and being in FRONT of the camera

Which is really interesting….. as I LOVE BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER.

But not just taking photos. Anyone can do that. We all have a camera phone these days. We have filters, apps, editing software and so many choices to make that “perfect picture” and always about presenting ourselves to the outside world in our best light.

Yeah, there are some technical aspects of photography, and I won’t bore you with the ISO, Aperture and settings that I’ve used, or what lens I’m running, cause, does it really matter to you? 

Nope, I didn’t think so.

And yes, it does take a bit of skill and creativity to create a beautiful photo. Light, styling and posing and yadda yadda yadda…..

But, I’m so much more interested in the most sophisticated tool that I can use, and that’s my heart and connecting to yours.

Being comfortable behind the lens and helping you connect to your essence, is what lights me up in this world. And when I see it, it’s absolutley breathtaking. 

And THAT’S the shot.

THAT right there, is what truly makes a beautiful photo.

Just you, or on your wedding day, elopement, engagement, family portraits or underwater. Doing what you love, with those that you love and connecting to your heart.

So, why then do I get all freaked out, in my head and out of my body when the roles are reversed and I’m in FRONT of the camera?

Getting my photo taken, and booking a photoshoot is one of the most healing modalities I have ever undertaken (and let’s face it, I’ve done some pretty crazy shit, all in the name of healing).

So, I thought I would share with you some top tips (from my very own experience) on preparing and getting the most of your next (or very first) photoshoot.

1. LEADING UP TO THE DAY OF THE SHOOT – be a little bit organised. Pick out your favourite pieces of clothing that make you feel GOOD. Don’t go and buy something that day, or the day before and choose something that just isn’t you. If you live in togs, no shoes, yoga pants or your favourite dress. Then wear that. Choose outfits that represent you as a person (it may be very little clothing at all). Keep it simple. If you love getting your hair and make-up done, then GO FOR IT. If not, then just do your hair and makeup (or none), the way that makes you feel – like you. This is what it’s all about. Connecting to yourself and who you are. Easier said than done….. right?

2. TRY AND BLOCK OUT YOUR DAY AND GO SLOW – if you can, give yourself the day to pamper and prepare. When I’m shooting Weddings, there is a whole morning of preparing and pampering. Your very own photoshoot should be no different. Set yourself up to really give yourself some love. Wash hair, shave whatever you want to or need to, maybe a beautiful body scrub or treatment, face masks, hair masks….. what ever you love to do…. I hope you find sometime to give this to yourself. Try not to have a day where your feeling rushed, stressed or frazzled. 

3. NOURISH YOUR BODY – don’t skip on meals and drink lots of water. Photoshoots are quite physical, and you are moving, walking and using up quite a lot of energy (just look at those supermodels hey!?). Please take the time to nourish yourself with some yummy food so that you are feeling GOOD in your body when you are in front of the camera. Try to avoid big heavy meals, so that you feel light and energized.

4. NOTICE YOUR BREATH – when you first meet your photographer, take the time to stop and just connect. I always will reach out to you on the day, check in and make sure that we confirm the time and place. This is so that you feel safe and secure in showing up, and for me, I know that you are going to be there! BREATHE. This is THE biggest factor in being in your body and out of your head. Stop, become aware of your breath. Invite the breath deep into your belly, which helps to calm the nervous system and bring you into a state of relaxation vs activation. I love taking the time at the beginning of a shoot together to just drop into the space. Take some big, beautiful breaths and connect. If you need to do this throughout the shoot….. no problem! When we are connected to our bodies, we are more likely to drop into that feminine essence and this is so powerful. 

5. SET AN INTENTION – think about your WHY and what you would like to get out of this experience. You are paying for some ones time, skill and expertise. Are you wanting some new images for your website and business? Is this a personal endeavor? Is it to capture your love with your significant other or family?  I always try to get a feel for the intention of the shoot and any particular outcomes that you might want, but it’s also important to drop into this on the day of the shoot. It’s easy to become side tracked and the last thing you want is to be disappointed when you get home or get to see your images for the first time. 

6. PLAY – I feel like we don’t get to do this enough and let’s face it….. adulting is friggin hard! When I did my shoot the other day, I really loved connecting to my inner child and I played. I skipped, I ran into the water, I traced my fingers through the sand, I shook my hair in the wind and I stared out to the ocean. How beautiful that I got this opportunity, for someone, to give me their undivided attention (and let’s face it, when does that ever happen?). If your with your family or your beloved, play! Connecting to joy and that playfulness allows those big smiles and sparkles in the eyes to burst on through, no matter how nervous you are. Playing also brings you into the PRESENT MOMENT. Which means that you are more likely to be in your beautiful body and out of that head. 

7. LEAVE ROOM FOR SOME MAGIC – We can plan, style and mood board EVERYTHING about your photoshoot, but I’m also a firm believer in trusting the process and allowing some space for the UNFOLDING that just give me goosebumps, every time. There’s moments you just can’t plan and sometimes you just got to go with the FLOW. Like the weather becoming really stormy, or the wind getting strong, the waves getting bigger (or smaller) and all the other thousands of variables that you just cannot control. Just like Elsa sings in Frozen – “Let it Go, let it go” and believe in the power of magic.

8. BE SO KIND TO YOURSELF – Notice the self talk. During your shoot, if you become aware of those pesky negative BS thoughts and start to become self conscious or critical…. change it up. STOP, breathe, change positions or ask to move to another spot or shake it off! The best shoots I’ve had, is when communication is back and forth. Being a yoga teacher for so long, I’m pretty good at reading people’s bodies, so I try and get people to move back to that state of relaxation (see above). Come back to that intention and being in that moment. Treat yourself kindly, tread lightly and communicate. Your not alone. 

9. SET ASIDE SOME TIME – now this can be the hard part – seeing your images for the first time. You’ve been brave and faced all those fears and done the photoshoot. WHOOP WHOOP….. a massive step and you should be so proud. But, I hate to tell you, that can be the easy part. Your going to have to look at your photos and see yourself in a whole new light, and this can be daunting. Ok, so you received notification that your online gallery is ready for your viewing, or you may get a “sneak peak” at some of the best shots of the day and your excited, nervous and all the feels. PLEASE do not be tempted to click the link, while your at the checkout grocery shopping, the kids going crazy or you think I’ll just quickly have a look. NOOOOOOOOO! Trust me on this one. Honor this experience and the fact that you have paid for a photographer (what a beautiful gift!) and make a special time for YOURSELF. 

Put the kids to bed, if it’s just you, set aside a sacred space for you to go through your images. If it’s with your partner or family, do the same. Then remember point number 8 – be so very kind to yourself. For me, it brought up quite a lot of emotions as it was like I was looking from the outside – in. And yep, I also noticed myself being critical of my body, how I thought I should look. I get it. You are not alone.

But as a photographer, I want you to see just how amazing and beautiful you ARE. And this is why this can be so healing. Because you need to see what everybody else sees. And I gently remind myself of this every single day. Take it all in and look at yourself like you are looking at someone you love. 

10. BE SO BLOODY PROUD OF YOURSELF – it doesn’t matter if no one ever sees your photos, or you never put them up on any social media or they just stay on a USB. You were brave and vulnerable and you should be proud. It’s a huge shift in stepping forward to be seen and held in such a way that can be pretty terrifying for a lot of us! How courageous and this should be celebrated. It’s so powerful to show people just how amazing they really are…. we all just got to start to believe it, myself included. But why not go that one more step and get your favourite image printed??? Whoah! Totally next level, but having a permanent reminder of your beauty, essence and bravery could be the biggest gift of all. 

So, I’m sorry. Both to you and me.

I had no idea that you are being so brave. And I feel that by gifting myself my own photoshoot has made me such a more connected “Photographer” and for that I am truly grateful. Because I feel all the feels, just like you. And I’m here, with you every single step of the way.

” Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ~ Brene Brown 

Let’s start a revolution and love the shit of ourselves and each other. Perfectly imperfect.

Book the photoshoot.

So much love,

Oceans and oceans of it

Amanda x

March 28, 2023

I’m So Very Sorry…


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