You've taken your first steps to getting the professional quality images worthy of photo albums and/or Instagram posts. That's cool! That's all that matters. So do me a favor. Sit back and breathe. I get it. These might be your high school senior pictures. These might be the first few images that open your modeling account on social media. Whatever they are, you are well aware that they need to be "perfect." So, I need you to sit back and breathe. Modeling and striking the perfect pose is no easy task... Or so you think. I want you to be the most relaxed when we're out taking pictures so that we can get the shots that "feel" natural. As a photographer, I strive for authenticity. I don't fabricate stories. I record them as they're occurring. That being said, I want you to be relaxed. So, take a deep breath and let's make this easy. And don't worry. While we shoot, I'll be communicating with you through everything. We'll get those shots that you're looking for.

I've photographed plenty of people who have told me that they never had a professional photoshoot before and every one of them were pleased with the experience and amazed with the outcome. To help more new models who might be struggling with confidence in their ability to model or pose, I've created this list of five things you should do before we meet for your shoot. This is a list of my personal recommendations as a photographer that will help you find the confidence in yourself.

1. It's Me and You

I need you to know this. When we're out on location, it's me and you. If we're in the city or in the field, it's just me and you. Don't worry about other people. Relax. We're not performing in front of people. There is no stage. It's just you and me. I'll be there 100% of the time to help guide you and recommend different poses. Tell me if you need to take a break and we will.

2. Mirror Practice

Before we meet, you might find it helpful to spend some time in the mirror. Turn on the lights and look at yourself in the mirror and practice different facial expressions and body poses. Even have fun and exaggerate your positions. Look at how your body leans and curves. Look at how you stand tall and have fun with it. If you're not sure on poses, checkout different photography feeds on Pinterest to get some cool ideas.

3. Wear Your Clothes

If you already have your outfit, try it out and go back to the mirror to pose. Take selfies with your phone and see what you like and even what you don't like and adjust. Step a little into my mind as a photographer and note how the lights and shadows play with the colors of your body and your outfit. Change what you don't like. Keep what you do. Lather; rinse; repeat.

4. Take in the location

When we get to the location, I'll be setting up and taking some test shots with you to adjust my camera settings and exposure. While we're doing this, you have free reign to do anything and everything. During this time, I recommend you take in and embrace the location. See all the lines and curves, all the shadows and lighted areas. Lean against the tree. Sit on the ground. Play with the poses you practiced in the mirror. Have fun and create something your own. Remember: photography and modeling are both arts. While there might be good and bad examples, there is no right or wrong way to do things. There are no wrong poses. Just... keep it safe. Nothing wild.

5. Healthy Communication

As your photographer, I'll be actively trying to engage you in my thought process in modeling and what effect I'm looking for. I'm not silent. Neither should you be. If you have a question or idea, communicate and we'll move with it. I'm always open to suggestions. Plenty of models have offered suggestions in poses and images that have turned out as stunning pictures. At the end of the day, this is your event. This is your shoot and these are your pictures. If there's something you don't like, tell me and we'll change it. Healthy communication is key.

6. Have Fun!

Photography and Modeling are both an art. We should enjoy it. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy the day and you will love the pictures that come from it. I guarantee.