It is very often when my clients tell me that they are not photogenic, or, they can't be comfortable in front of the camera! This is so normal, I, myself, who live with cameras, need to work on my nerves and use some tricks to be comfortable if I stand in front of the camera and not behind it.
It comes with experience, but there are tricks you can use, and they work effectively!
Making the clients comfortable in front of the camera is something that you will learn from experience, but there are methods and tricks that you can use, and they work pretty well. Believe me, I wish I knew them from the beginning of my journey as a professional photographer. So, what are these tricks?
1. Trust me! I'm a photographer!
In every photo shoot, you are the person in charge, but you need to gain the person's trust as well. When you ask the person to pose or to follow your instructions, is because you see things differently, you are the photographer but put in mind that they are very nervous, and on many occasions, they will refuse to pose. Remember to remind them to trust you! Give them positive feedback when they pose. You can simply say... "Trust me! You look amazing!"
2. Close your eyes and wait for my call!
I use this method mostly when I photograph adults for portraits. Once I see their facial muscles are not relaxed and their smile can be better, I know they are nervous and I should do something about it. I ask them to close their eyes and wait until I ask them to open. I wait a few seconds then I ask them to open, once they open their eyes, I start shooting. By doing this, I capture their best expressions, but remember...it is a matter of seconds.
3. Look at each other!
I use this method mostly with couples and families. As a photographer, I want my clients, not just to look great, but to be themselves in the photos. I do that by taking their attention from the camera. I ask them to look at each other, or look at the baby in the family (if there's a baby in the family) they will do that but they will look at each other with a bit funny facial expression, full of questions... ( why do we need to look at each other?) They will burst laughing, and I ask them to look towards the camera, then I shoot...shoot...shoot... capturing their best smiles. :)
4. Dancing for the babies (attracting their attention and making them happy)
Babies can be the easiest to make them smile, and can be the opposite!
First, you need to attract their attention towards the camera. There is a lot going on for them, and many interesting things around, (everything is interesting, except for the person in front of me with the black toy)
That's true, the baby is not interested in you and your black camera, you have to get:
A small, colourful toy, that can make some noise. hold the toy, wave, dance, make noise, and get the baby's attention, but hey!!! You have to be careful, not all babies like the noisy stuff, some will get scared or overwhelmed, if you see the baby is about to cry, then he will!!!! And you do NOT want that to happen.
Instead of the colourful noisy toy use:
Bubbles, everyone loves bubbles, including adults. Use them to make the baby happy.
* If a family member steps in to help you to make the baby happy, that would be AWESOME! But there is something very important to put in mind, if you are sitting, the family member should sit very very close to you, if possible, behind you. It is the same case if you are standing. Remember, the point is to make the baby look towards the camera and smile!
5. Say "Happy!"
For older kids, I ask them to say things like (Happy, Lollies) or any happy word that ends with the sound /i:/
You have to wait for them to finish the word then you shoot.
Each photographer uses their own method and tricks to make the clients as happy and relaxed as possible. Most of these methods will be earned during the photography journey, but I found the above five methods are so effective and I use them in every photography session :)