Streetstyle and Photojournalism: How To Be Comfortable In Front Of The Camera

StreetLifeOttawa Photography

One thing I have struggled with during my blogging journey is being comfortable in front of the camera. The hundreds of stylish pics on my blog and Instagram betray the “nerd” you see pictured. For the most part, I’m always awkward during these fashion shoots and it took a meeting with streetlifeottawa to shake those insecure feelings.

But firstly, let me tell you of what goes through my head when anyone comes near me with a camera:

“What should I do with my arms? Oh God!” – robotic stances ensue.

“Maybe I should suck in my cheeks more and look more ‘fashion’.” – pictures of an angry rando ensue.

“Nah – I’m not wearing lipstick in this one. I want to look natural – like I didn’t try so hard.” – hundreds of lipless shots ensue…and so on and so forth.

StreetLifeOttawa Photography StreetLifeOttawa Photography

When Kevin Benloss, the man behind the lens of @streetlifeottawa and contacted me for a collaboration, I was honoured. Kevin’s Instagram is a fantastic representation of our city. His collection of pictures highlight all walks of life here in Ottawa, from snowy landscapes, the city’s interesting architecture and my favourite, everyday joes simply walking around minding their own business.

Kevin’s photojournalism coupled with his love of grainy black and white shots lends a realism to his style that is refreshing and interesting. His Instagram is a breath of fresh air from the highly curated collections we have grown used to.

On that sunny Saturday, we walked around the downtown core scoping out interesting shooting locations and chatting about social media and photography in general. Kevin, who works full-time in a field totally unrelated to photography, is completely self-taught. His artful eye has produced not only incredible street life shots but also beautiful wedding photography and portraits.

Now – I love all of my collaborations with the talented photographers I work with. Kevin in particular though really made me feel at ease and it stands to reason. With each shot, Kevin had to remind me to be relax and be comfortable. It really worked. When I stopped, took a deep breath and just let my body relax, Kevin was able to produce a set of pictures that really conveyed who I am – happy, confident and a lover of life. An endearing fellow, he’d burst into giggles when I’d do my “fashion blogger face” – which in turn made me crack up.

The most important tip he gave me was to smile – to run with the laughter! I know, I know. It’s annoying to be told to smile, especially when you don’t feel like it, but for so long, I had been trying to perfect that ubiquitous fashion blogger look – one that conveys a message of coolness, of “je ne sais quoi” that sometimes comes off a little (a lot) contrived.

StreetLifeOttawa Photography

This particular shoot made me realize that I will never be that cool fashion blogger having her photo taken at a busy intersection with a look on her face that says: “I’m the coolest, ya heard???” It’s just unnatural for me. Come on – have you ever hopped across a street while simultaneously carrying designer shopping bags, a handful of pastel macarons and ruffling your hair like it’s a Pantene ad? More power to those who do and look awesome while doing it. I’d be more likely to be photographed twisting an ankle in a pothole while running across the street. Sigh.

StreetLifeOttawa Photography StreetLifeOttawa Photography

It took an afternoon with a friendly photographer to realize that my smile is quintessentially “Dom”, that it radiates me and what I’m about perfectly. And you know what? That is GREAT. I’m going to run with that from now on.  Thank you, Kevin!

Check out Kevin’s Instagram at @streetlifeottawa and his stellar site at

Are you a fashion or lifestyle blogger? Got any photography hangups you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!




  1. March 6, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Lovely photos! They do look more natural and likable than some other fashion bloggers I’ve seen. Love that scarf BTW and great post! 🙂

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Hey Tami! Thank you for your kind words! I find a big, happy smile is easier to relate too. And it’s human nature to be attracted to a warm and approachable face. That scarf, btw, is by Krista Norris. You should check out her site – tons of pretty scarves!

  2. March 6, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Bwahahaha, this made me LAUGH girl!! I felt the exact same way! It was a hard transition feeling normal in front of the camera, LOL! And I too have had many lipless photoshoots. Oh gosh, thank you for the giggles.

    xo, jess

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      Haha – Jess! So glad you enjoyed it!!! xoxoxo And you’re welcome. xo

  3. March 6, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    LOL the same thoughts go through my mind! haha Beautiful pictures and I am lusting over Kevin’s Insta! x

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Ahhh Jennifer. I’ll admit that I keep on working on my “fashion blogger face”, but I’ve learned to love my happy, smiley pics. Yeah – Kevin is super talented!! xo

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Jodianne! Your photographic style is one I admire too!

  4. March 6, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    I think the photos of you and others are really natural. Everyone looks comfortable including yourself. Well done for getting comfortable. It’s not an easy thing to do but I’m glad you stuck with it.

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you so much!

  5. March 6, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    You look beautiful! I love your honesty!

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you! Really appreciate your comment. Much love!

  6. March 6, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Oh my goodness, you are stunning! You look like a total natural in front of the camera!

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 6:51 pm

      Wow – thank you SO MUCH! Made my day! xoxoxo

  7. March 6, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Dom, you have THE most beautiful, authentic smile in these photos. Your friend truly captured who you are…I love them. Isn’t it the truth that when we are being ourselves there is nothing more beautiful. Keep up the great work! XO

    • Dominique
      March 6, 2017 / 6:51 pm

      Aww Kathie! Thank you for your sweet words. Something pretty much changed in me that day. I know it sounds dumb, but I stopped worrying to death about how I looked and stopped comparing myself to other bloggers and made a decision to just be me from now on. So far, it’s working! And yes! The most beautiful pictures are those where we were are genuinely happy and at ease! Miss you! Hope to see you at Shepherd’s soon!

  8. March 6, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    SO MUCH YES! I think all bloggers need the Kevin treatment. Thank you for sharing these beautiful “you” images and also your real thoughts on sullen blogger faces. Yes to all of it. xo

  9. March 6, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    You are so photogenic! It’s so easy for you to be in front of camera because you have no bad angles!

  10. March 7, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Cool and super comfy! <3

    • Dominique
      March 7, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Awww! Thank you, Jodi-Kay!

  11. March 7, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    your outfit is so nice and the hair is so cute!!!! I love how clear your pictures are and you give great tips

  12. March 8, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    When I first started blogging I struggled with smiling and not try to look like a fool. It’s really hard and takes some time. I remember flailing my arms as I walked during a shoot.

    • Dominique
      March 8, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      This made me LOL. Glad I’m not the only one.

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