Three Tips For Getting Authentic Expressions in Your Photos

Preparing for your Photoshoot


Some of my clients come to me for new brand portraits because the ones they currently have don’t look or feel like them. The reason might be because the expressions on their faces aren’t ones that most people normally see, their smiles are awkward and forced, or they lack authentic expressions.

For example, the austere, serious expression on my financial coach’s portrait photos on her website almost repelled a podcast host – he told her if he hadn’t heard her bubbly, fun personality in another podcast, he wouldn’t have chosen her! 

So how do you get photos that capture your essence and resonate with your brand? Here are three tips: 

1. Know Which Authentic Expressions You Want To See In Your Photos. 

When it comes to brand photos, you’ll want expressions that reflect your personality and ones that attract your dream clients and collaborators. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • how would your existing clients and family describe your personality?
  • what are three words that you feel describe your personality?
  • how do you want your dream clients to feel when they see your photos? 

If your existing clients describe you as having a fun, bubbly personality, serious photos on most of your marketing are likely not a good fit. You’ll want photos of you smiling and laughing! 

If they describe you as serene, wise and intuitive, you might want a few photos with a calm smile or introspective look. 

If you’re a high-powered, confident executive coach or lawyer, you might want a few serious expressions that go well with a power pose. 

Note: you don’t have to choose just one expression! You can get a variety that shows a few aspects of your personality and brand. Just ensure you’ve thought about which expressions you’d like before your session, and discuss it with your photographer so they can help guide you into those expressions. 

Also, consider which expressions will attract your dream clients. For example, if you’re a life coach, a calm, welcoming smile could help them feel that you’re approachable and safe to share their vulnerable stories and emotions. 

I’ve included a few examples of expressions below:

2. Bring Great Energy to Your Photography Session 

The energy you bring into your photography session is critical – even more important than what you wear or how you pose! If you arrive at your session frazzled because you’ve been racing around getting everything together, couldn’t find parking, or got lost, it will often come through your expressions and body language. 

Being organized for your session helps you feel more confident in front of the camera! I recommend getting all of your outfits, props, make-up touch-ups, and other items packed and loaded up in your car the day before your session. This way, you won’t need to think about them on the morning of your session. You can relax instead! 

Also, I love to do short, 2-minute meditation sessions with my clients before we start photographing because it helps ground them. The frazzled, nervous energy disappears, and they can relax and have fun! You can also do a short grounding meditation in your car before your photography session. 

3. Bring Memories That Create Authentic Expressions. 

Before your session, make a list of memories that make you smile or laugh. It might be funny antics by your dog, hilarious things your family or friends have done, or an experience that brings you joy whenever you think of it. These will often help you get an authentic smile or laugh! 

Another thing you can do is bring a family member or friend who’s great at getting you to laugh or smile. One of my clients brought her daughters to her shoot, and their goofy behaviour was fantastic at getting her to laugh! 

Free Resource!

Looking for a way to stay organized? Check out my free brand photography checklist HERE. It’s designed to help you avoid that frazzled, frantic feeling before your photography sessions!


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