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How To Make Someone Comfortable In Front of the Camera


During a shoot, have you ever had the feeling that your client is feeling totally out of place and you need to help them relax? Today, let’s chat about a topic that’s near and dear to all of our hearts—making our clients feel like rockstars in front of the lens. We’re going to discuss a few ways of how to make someone comfortable in front of the camera. So if you’ve ever sensed that awkward vibe from your subjects, fear not! We’re going to explore a game-changing technique that’s so easy to do and will have your clients feeling like pros in no time.

Creating a Comfort Zone

Picture this—you’re all set up, camera in hand, and your client looks like they just stepped onto a red carpet but is feeling more like a deer in headlights. We’ve all been there. The key to fixing this situation is to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere where your clients can truly shine. But how do we do that? We create a simple conversation that has nothing to do with the session or the photos.

Have a real conversation with your clients. Ask them questions. Be truly interested.

One of my superpowers as a photographer is making people comfortable. And the best compliment I ever received was from a mother of a high school senior I was photographing. She wrote me after the session and said her daughter “felt like she was hanging out with a person she knows and is really comfortable with, and not many people can do that.” That review has remained one of my favorites for years because she didn’t even mention the photos (which were great) but was truly commenting on her daughter’s experience with me. By the way, she hired me for all 4 of her kids’ senior portraits. So if you don’t believe that the way you make your clients’ feel is just as important as the photos you create, then I beg you to rethink that point of view. I promise that even when we think that we are not being creative enough, we are still likely creating images that our clients will love. So show those off!

The Magic of “Back of the Camera” Previews

If our conversations have started to create a comfort zone for our clients and a vibe for our session, then the next step is really going to make someone comfortable in front of the camera. Enter the “back of the camera” preview…your secret weapon for breaking the ice. I always say I like to show off just a little, and with the photos in this post you’ll see how this truly is the secret sauce for how I make my clients feel comfortable in front of the camera.

As photographers, we tend to get so caught up in the details—How is my lighting? Is the exposure correct? Have I composed this image well? Did I cut off any limbs in my framing? Is this in sharp focus?—there are so many things to consider while photographing. But since you already know when you got a really great shot, instead of leaving your clients in the dark about how they’re doing, give them a real life sneak peek. Show them a few shots on your camera’s LCD screen, and watch the transformation happen right before your eyes. This is when my clients suddenly smile, can’t believe they look that good, and then start to show off that inner rockstar that you already knew was there.

Why The Sneak Peek Preview Works

Seeing is believing, right? When your clients witness their own stunning selves in action, it’s an instant confidence booster. They get a real-time glimpse of how amazing they look, and suddenly, that nervous energy they were feeling at the start of the session starts to fade away. It build trust and connection. Sharing these previews isn’t just about showcasing the technical abilities of your camera or your own creative prowess…it’s about building trust and a connection with you, the photographer. Your clients then become active participants in the session, and are helpful creators in this visual story that reflects their unique personality and style.

And once they have this opportunity to trust you and connect with your vision, you end up opening up this dialogue that also encourages collaboration. At this point I often ask for their input, what they love about a particular shot, or if there’s a pose or angle they’re itching to try. Or alternatively, if there’s something they see that they don’t like (I hate when I slouch like that, or ooh, I’m glad I saw that because I want to fix my hair). If your client doesn’t like something then they have a chance to fix it in the moment, or you know to watch out for it while shooting. We are always our own worst critics, but it’s still important to note what your client doesn’t like so you can be sure to pay attention to it while shooting and before you finish the session and release the gallery. This way, it truly becomes a team effort, and when your clients feel heard and valued the results are pure photographic magic!

Setting The Tone

Start this process early in the session. I always tell my clients how many approximate shots I am going to take (hundreds…sometimes thousands) and promise them that they do not have to look great in every shot. So as you ease into shooting, take a moment to share a few initial captures especially if they are still feeling or looking a bit wooden. Sharing previews sets a positive tone, and your clients will realize that this photoshoot is a shared experience, not a nerve-wracking solo performance.

Imagine for a minute being in front of the camera. If you haven’t done that in a while (or ever) I highly recommend this somewhat uncomfortable experiment. Then imagine that you can’t see what is happening behind that lens and are feeling like you have to perform for someone else. It is a really strange experience. So try and put yourself in your clients’ shoes and then try your best to think about what would make someone you comfortable in front of the camera. Then be sure to do that thing!

So I suggest you embrace the power of the “back of the camera” preview. Use it to help dissolve those initial photo session jitters, build a collaborative vibe, and capture moments that truly reflect the whole photo shoot experience. Remember that a confident subject is going to give you great photos. But a happy client is going to sing your praises, give you more opportunities for additional sessions, and will just be happier with the entire experience. So go out there and photograph, and don’t forget to show off that gorgeous work you’re creating!

best,

lexi

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JEI_4571

I'm Lexi WELCOME TO THE BLOG

I am a professional photographer & photo educator. I’m here to share with you my best (and easiest) tips and tricks for taking amazing photos. I’m sharing years of knowledge as a teaching artist to help you find a way to share your unique point of view with the world. Welcome to The Photo Method.

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