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photography, Tips + Tricks

How to Help your Clients Feel Comfortable In Front of Your Camera

photography, Tips + Tricks

Yesterday someone asked me how I capture such natural and fun photos of my clients and it made me think about how big of a struggle this can be for some photographers, especially when starting out. Soooo many of my clients tell me that they’re “not good at taking photos,” or something to that effect, but after 7 years of photographing people I can honestly tell them all with confidence that they’ll be great and I’ll guide them every step of the way!

Posing people and helping them feel comfortable is definitely a skill that can be learned! And I believe that as a photographer, it’s part of my job to bring out a client’s personality so I can capture their best selves. I take pride in my ability to make people feel confident and at ease when they’re in front of my camera!

So if you struggle with this part of photography, want to improve your skills, or are simply a potential client that’s curious about what it’s like to work with me, here are some of my secrets and tips for helping people feel at ease in front of a camera:

Communication is Key

Start by having a friendly chat before you start taking photos. If you’re not able to do so ahead of time, spend the first few minutes of the session doing so. Get to know them, their interests, and what makes them smile. Ask them what they like or don’t like to see in their photos. This will build a connection and ease any initial awkwardness, plus you’d rather know right away what bugs them when they see themselves in photos so you’ll be able to fix it right then and there! Trust me, they’ll appreciate you looking out for them!

Avoid Silence

One thing is for sure, if you stop talking and all the client hears is silence, they’re going to immediately feel uncomfortable or like they’re doing something wrong. So keep making conversation, engaging with your client, and praising them every step of the way!

Use Music

Music has a way of making people relax! Create a playlist of their favorite tunes or ask them what type of music makes them feel good. The music you choose can set the mood and even get them moving naturally.

Give Clear Directions

Most of your clients are probably not models, so don’t assume they know what to do with their body parts. Often times they have no idea what looks good, especially because they can’t see themselves. That’s your job! Give them clear, easy-to-follow instructions. I often show them exactly what I want them to do by modeling it myself! Be encouraging and positive when directing clients, even if they don’t get the direction the first time. It’s stressful for some people to be in front of a camera so they may need extra clear words and reminders such as “put your right hand on your right hip like this” (then show them).

Keep it Fun

Laughter is your best friend! Crack jokes, share funny stories, and keep the atmosphere light. A good sense of humor can do wonders to ease tension! I keep a bunch of corny “dad jokes” on hand to use in a pinch!

Capture the In-Between Moments

Don’t just focus on the posed photos. Those candid, in-between moments often turn out to be the most beautiful and genuine! So when you’re cracking those jokes or talking with your client, make sure to keep the camera up and snap frames the whole time!

Add Movement

Encourage small movements like rocking side to side, stepping forward and back, twirling in a circle, leaning, dancing, or anything else that gives the client something else to focus on! As soon as they’re not thinking about posing their body relaxes and you can capture really natural positions and facial expressions! If there are multiple people in your photoshoot, asking them to look at each other or move together in some way almost always brings out natural smiles and sometimes even giggles!

Always Praise and Give Positive Feedback

Compliment their efforts and hype them up! Positive feedback goes a long way in boosting confidence.

Take Breaks

If the session is long, offer short breaks. It gives your clients a chance to relax and come back refreshed!

Be Patient

Remember, everyone has their own pace. Some people might take a bit longer to relax, and that’s okay. It’ll be worth it!

Show Confidence

Your confidence as a photographer can be contagious. If you believe in your skills, your clients will too! So be confident in your decisions (posing, location, and otherwise) and come into the photoshoot with ideas you’re ready to try so you don’t freeze up! When you’re in front of the camera, hearing “Perfect! This looks amazing!” is so much better than hearing “Maybe do this? Hmmm…I don’t like how that looks.” Even if you need to change something up, keep the feedback positive, snap a few photos, and then move on.

Bring Props (if appropriate) and Come Prepared with Ideas

This goes along with showing confidence because if you have plenty of ideas you’ll avoid freezing up or coming up blank when you’re thinking about what to do next. Props can give your client something to do, something to play with, and a fun and memorable moment! For instance, lately I like to include bubbles or fun sunglasses in a lot of my photoshoots. It makes clients automatically smile and want to play around!

Empower Your Clients

Let your clients know that they are not required to do everything you ask. I tell all my clients this at the start of a session: “Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do! But if I ever give you something to do that doesn’t feel like you or that you don’t want to do, your job is to just let me know. No big deal! I want to make sure the photos feel like YOU and I want you to feel comfortable!”

Get in Front of the Camera Yourself

If you’ve never been in front of the camera yourself, now is the time to do it! You’ll instantly understand what your clients feel! Think about what made you feel good, and what made you feel not so great, then take those things into consideration when other people are in front of your lens.

I hope these tips were helpful! The more prepared, positive, and confident you are, the more natural your photos will turn out and the happier your clients will be! 🌈

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