The "Model Face"

  • Wedding Wednesday

It’s the night before your engagement session… you’re washing your face, applying extra moisturizer and as you take once last glance into the mirror before bed…. you practice it one more time.  Eyes wide, light smile, perfect head tilt….. you think you’ve got it but you’re unsure. What if you’re so nervous you can’t get it right? Tyra’s voice is echoing in your head “Smile with your eyes girl, smile with your eyes!”.   It’s the MODEL FACE…. the dreaded “Model Face”.  I can’t tell you how many brides email me in a PANIC because they just know that they won’t be able to do it. They’re petrified. I know this feeling all too well. It was March 2010 and I was getting ready in


our hotel bathroom at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Jasmine and JD were about to land and our engagement session would be underway in less than an hour! Oh my gosh. I barely slept the night before and as much as I don’t want to admit it… I was NERVOUS. GAHH! I was SO NERVOUS!!! And I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER!!! I should have been confident! I shoot engagement sessions all the TIME! It’s my JOB. Why was I freaking out? Welp…. it came down to two reasons:  1. I loved Jstar… and I was about to hangout with her. omg. 2. I didn’t have a good “Model Face”.  I knew I wasn’t destined to be a model and I had accepted that fact about myself.  I tried to practice my modeling skills before we left for WPPI and that helped a little….but I still wasn’t confident. However, after meeting up with Jas and JD, I calmed down… she made me feel like a rockstar even when deep down, I didn’t feel like one.  We LOVED our engagement pictures so so much. I knew they would be good and that I would love them… but something did surprise me… FAVORITE shot was a pose with my “Model Face”! Really???  No way! I HATED my Model Face….. I actually believed that I didn’t have one! It just didn’t exist! …… But I was proven wrong.  Am I signing up for ANTM next season? No….. but I go to bed EVERY night and look a beautiful portrait hanging over our bed and I feel confident.  It’s amazing what a simple pose can do.


Some of you out there are my 2012/2013 brides and you’re worried. You’re intimidated to get in front of the camera and the idea of having your own “Model Face” scares you to DEATH!   Well, I’m hear to admit that I understand. I’ve been there.  I’ve practiced in the mirror and I’ve been self conscious.  It’s normal to get a little nervous but let me encourage you…. it’s not that bad.  Really. Speaking from experience… it’s not worth the worry.  Your engagement session is going to be AMAZING and once you get going,  you’re going to feel like a rock star… trust me. If a little southern redhead, wearing a jcrew dress and a cardigan can feel like a rockstar in the middle of the DESERT…. you can too.  Here are some things to remember:



1.  There is NO pressure or expectation. I realize that you have never done this before and you’re not professional models! I have NEVER shot professional models as clients. All of my couples are just ordinary, everyday people.

2. I will coach you through EVERYTHING!! You won’t have to worry about awkward arms or fly-aways. I’ll take care of you and I’ll walk you through the whole process.

3. A “Model Face” doesn’t = a “Mean” face. In the examples below you’ll be able to see this. That is such a common misconception! More serious, editorial poses can actually be MORE intimate in some cases.

4. Don’t shoot down your modeling abilities before you even TRY. I did this…. and it’s not encouraging at all.

5. I’ve been there and I know how it feels to be in front of the camera and guess what….  it’s a BLAST!!!!!! … But it’s even more of a blast when you allow yourself to RELAX.

6. LAST but probably the MOST important piece of advice… remember that this is supposed to be FUN! Your engagement session is a pre-cursor to your WEDDING DAY!…. Only without the stress of a timeline and a white dress. This is the time to PRACTICE and get comfortable in front of the camera!



So as you continue to prepare for your engagement session and eventually your BIG DAY…. know that the your “Model Face” should be the LEAST of your worries! You’re going to be AMAZED at what you can do in front of the camera… you just wait:):).


 Here is the beautiful image from Jasmine that we now have hanging over our bed.… and I’m actually PROUD of my “Model Face”:)



 Now here are some examples of my BEAUTIFUL couples and their amazing “Model Faces”!  I’m showing ENGAGEMENT shots and WEDDING shots to further emphasize just how much CONFIDENCE an engagement session gives my couples!! They are PROS by the time their wedding rolls around!

OHH and Ps! Be sure to click over to Jasmine’s blog today if you have a minute to spare! I’m SO incredibly honored that she asked be to guest blog and help out while she finishes up with The Fix!!! AH!!



xoxo, Katelyn
9 Comments Wedding Wednesday
  1. Sabrina reply

    Did you and J* plan to have the same image of you and Michael in the desert on your blogs today? I thought I’d typed in the wrong blog when I went to hers and saw the same image! Too funny :-) BUT, I get to read TWO blogs from you today! How fabulous. Which is just what this post is… fabulous. I’ve been describing the “model face” to my clients as “serious” or “don’t smile”… but I think I need to change how I phrase that! Thank you for knowing what to say to your clients and sharing that with them AND the rest of us!

  2. Brittani reply

    Oh Katelyn. I think the day will come when you find a client who cannot pull of the model face, and I’m almost positive that day will be when you shoot our engagement session. Really, I LOVE how stunning your couples look doing the model face, but it just does not work for my face haha! Your story gives me hope…but my big chubby cheeks are just not cute if I’m not smiling! Great post though, thanks for giving me a *little* more hope that I can pull this model face off…I’m just not quite convinced yet! ;)

  3. Jill Powers reply

    This is such a great post Katelyn because I know I was terrified that I was just going to look pissed when you told me to do “the model face”. But for some reason you made us feel so comfortable that it didn’t feel forced and i didn’t look mad at all! I don’t know how you do what you do, but well done Katelyn! xo

  4. stephanie g reply

    love this post! i was scared of the model face too, but you were so encouraging and were telling us that the pictures were coming out great…after i heard that, i decided to just trust you and let loose! haha love you!!

  5. stephanie g reply

    love this post! i was scared of the model face too, but you were so encouraging and were telling us that the pictures were coming out great…after i heard that, i decided to just trust you and let loose! haha love you!!

  6. ashley barnett reply

    This is the cutest post ever! So fun! And true! EVERY girl has an inner model face :)

  7. Brenda James reply

    wonderful choices of couples and pics to demonstrate “model” faces! I love all of these . . . especially the “model” faces in the desert!!!! :)

  8. Abby Grace reply

    Love this post! And that image from your e-session with J* is beautiful.

  9. Mariia Berezina reply

    Thanks for sharing! I hate to make a model face though, I I look super angry =)

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