According to Psychology Today, confidence can be described as a belief in one’s ability to succeed. Too much confidence can be seen as cocky, too little creates limitations to progress.
‘I don’t want to look like a show pony.’
Just about every man quietly thinks something along these lines.
It indicates ingrained assumptions dictated by usually unpleasant past experience as to how our photography session will actually go. And, he leans to the stereotype that says any man that parades around in front of a camera for an hour must be full of himself.
The female version can go like this: ‘I need to lose weight first, my hair isn’t right, I’m too old now, or once I’ve achieved the next milestone.’
The lack of confidence either stems from societal standards around female appearance/age or is measured by internal doubts that you do not yet possess enough to show the world who you really are through photos.
S/he just isn’t confident in the process itself, how their final result could look, much less, how working with me could indeed exceed their expectations.
Recently it was Sam Buckby’s turn for portrait photography for his new company Smarter Buildings.
In Sam’s words:
‘We transform ordinary house designs into intelligent, automated & functional buildings, most commonly called Smart Homes.
I grew up dreaming about using clever, functional designs to simplify our lives. And why? Because I was that kid who was always looking for a shortcut and funnily enough, I’ve now made an art of it.
It’s about creating intuitive systems that automate the basics in our lives and help control the environments we choose to live in. My belief is that when people live in inspired spaces they feel connected, secure and proud.’
Sam has written a book Homes with a Heartbeat, launched a new site and is fast becoming the face of this new company.
This means photography has become an integral step for his growth because as his profile grows and people start to find him online, he needs to ensure they see him in his best light through photos that don’t make him cringe.
Then the question becomes: how does he want to represent himself?
And the answer lies in his back-story, who he’s speaking to and how he comes across.
When asked, Sam said his image is cool and casual, approachable, appealing to the new gen home owners (30 something’s) and confident.
He comes from a tradie background, being an electrician.
We considered the type of location where he’d be confident to meet these 30 somethings. And it turned out that a known brewery in town would be the right fit.
Who would have dreamed that up?! Sam felt great about the location. He was starting to feel more at ease that this could work out…the preparation process is working in building his confidence.
We booked a time with Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong. On the day we arrived when there was hardly anyone around.
Now it gets tricky because it’s time to bring it.
And that’s not easy, to just really let go and be cool with being photographed when you’re coming into it with 40-odd years of mapping that says that any Australian bloke that gets photography done is a show pony (to put it politely).
Sam even had staff members of the brewery jumping around behind me giving him stick over my shoulder.
We had to focus to get him to block them out and remember that he’s making a difference in the building industry, authoring a book, and leading a conversation with genuine intent and credibility.
It’s just about owning it. And that speaks again directly to – confidence.
I can think of nothing worse than Sam investing the time, money and energy into his photography session and then not being able to get past the show-pony factor on the day.
On shoot day we ‘gather the data’. We might shoot say, 60 frames to make a final collection of 10.
We converse, we have a laugh, we move around, we try different poses – sitting, standing, leaning – whatever feels right for the space we are in.
If something doesn’t feel right we change it up.
We review the results as we go, so you can see in real time what’s working, and what’s not.
The world is never going to see the entire set, just the golden few that show you walking your walk and owning it.
If you’re thinking negative, doubtful or uncomfortable thoughts, it shows in your body language.
There’s a tension there that’s felt, it’s not spoken, and it does show up in a photo as not feeling entirely believable.
However, if you feel confident – like a boss, love life, have fun, feel good in your skin, then that will show.
Know it, own it. I’ll coach you into that head-space on the day.
Live it, breathe it. And make no apology for that.
Stand firm and decide that you will show them you’re the right person for the job.
This will transmit into your photographs.
And Sam? He nailed it! Here’s what he said:
‘The photos are sh*t hot!
My wife is wondering how you made me look so good…I certainly did have reservations but I’ve just never been overly comfortable in the spotlight.
I’ll get over it! Thanks again.’
Have you been putting off photography because you lack the confidence to truly relax and be you in front of the camera?
Maybe I can help you get past that and onto more important things, like showing the world how awesome you are…but…for real, like Sam.
We can chat on the phone and take it one step at a time.