The 3 Easiest Ways To Get Subject To Relax On Camera
One of the big problems faced by amateur photographers is that they are often photographing other non professionals. We can’t expect amateur models to act as professionals in every way: often people can be camera shy, and this is especially true for commissions such as family portraits or engagement shoots that are by nature, posed by non professionals.
Here are a few strategies that I used when I was doing freelance photography to help your subjects relax in front of the camera, and help you, as the photographer get your best shot.
1. Talk To Them!
Talking to your subjects will not only distract them from the embarrassment of being on camera, but will also build a rapport up between you and them. Talk about absolutely anything to get the ball rolling (Okay, veer away from anything controversial) but you don't have to stick to small-talk.
Ask them about their inspiration for commissioning the shoot, what photographers they like etc. to get them chatting.
2. Get Two Or More Of The Subjects To Look Straight At Each Other
This has always been one of my favourite strategies. If you are shooting a couple or even a group of friends, get two or more of them to all look at each other directly making eye contact.
It feels so forced and ridiculous that they will laugh (this statement has my personal guarantee) - the result is a natural looking photo of two friends smiling. This also works great with couples, and gets round the 'wanting to look happy together but feeling awkward and posed' issue.
3. Relate Their Situation To Your Situation
Remind your subjects that they are not alone in their nervousness. You can talk to them about the challenges of meeting someone and immediately having to make them feel at ease and shoot them.
This will prevent your subjects from being alienated from you as 'the intimidating photographer' and help them to realise that you are probably as far out of your comfort zone as they are! (Even if you're actually quite used to doing this and you're not particularly fussed, it's always nice for subjects to feel that they are experiencing totally normal feelings of anxiety in front of the camera lens!)