How To Take “Be Yourself” Photos

The Power of She is a movement inviting women and girls to join up to support each other for the good of the sisterhood. Alone we are strong, united we thrive. Below, one mom shares her secrets for taking photos that celebrate the Power of Confidence.


What makes Atlanta-based photographer Kate Parker’s images so memorable and powerful is how relaxed the people in her shots look. For her Strong is the New Pretty series, she set out to capture imagery of  her daughters being their “silly, adventurous, frustrated, happy, loud, athletic, fierce, funny selves.” Below she gives us tips on how to help subjects “be themselves.”


Q: Which situations or environments work best?

Any location or setup that allows subjects to feel comfortable and be themselves. I got really lucky shooting “Strong is the New Pretty” since each image was centered around what these girls loved to do or what their passions were, so they were already comfortable and engaged.

What do you say to subjects to loosen them up?

We just talk. I ask questions about them, their lives, what they like to do, what music they like, what they’re reading. Taking anyone – kids, adults – out of the moment and getting them thinking and talking helps them feel more comfortable, and makes for more natural images.


Q: How does lighting affect a subject’s ability to relax, and how can you make the most of it?

I love backlighting people (putting sun behind them). It is really flattering, prevents them from squinting, and the light can appear almost magical depending on where you position your subject and yourself. You can get some amazing light flares. My most favorite time of day to shoot is the “golden hour,” which is the hour right before the sun goes down. It makes for some beautiful images.


Q: Some people tend to freeze up just at the sight of the camera. Do you treat the camera in a certain way to get people comfortable with it?

I totally understand that feeling. I prefer being behind the camera myself.  I do my best to make our time less about the camera and more about a conversation.

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