Professional Portrait Photography Tips

Professional portrait photography tips

How many times as a photographer have you heard a client say “I’m so not photogenic” or “I’m really awkward in front of the camera”? Truth be told some people are truly awkward or others just really dislike having their picture taken. As a wedding or portrait photographer, a huge part of our job is to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera. It’s so important to be able to turn those awkward feelings of being photographed into fun and genuine moments. Here are some Professional portrait photography tips to make people feel comfortable in front of camera that we’ve learned over the years.

Before the shoot:

1. Scout out the location if you aren’t familiar with it ahead of time. Plan and be prepared. The more prepared you are the more at ease they will be.

2. Send your clients a short questionnaire to get to know them better. Find out their hobbies, how they met there spouse to be, what they love about each other etc. Use this information the day of the shoot.

3. Communicate with your clients about the shoot. How long the session will be or where it will be. Tell them how excited you are to see them again and create amazing photos of


Day of the shoot:

1. Small talk is your friend. Start with questions about their week/day. Keep the conversation light and positive to start!

2. Give them a little intro of what to expect before you start shooting. Briefly describe how you shoot. Be sure to give them instruction- if they don’t need to be looking at the

camera every second, let them know.

3. Tell them the session will be a mix of you giving direction from time to time and them just relaxing and being together. Clients can often feel awkward at first, which leads me to point number 4.

4. Make awkwardness a positive. I have found this works for me, I usually say 'let's get awkward a little and see what happens', they seem to find this funny, and they will usually giggle during the first few shots, if I don't give any direction. I tell them everyone feels awkward at times during a photo shoot, including myself, so we should embrace, because we are human and it is totally fine.

During the Shoot:

1. Keep the conversation going. Think back to that questionnaire when the conversations start slowing down.

2. Compliment your clients. Compliment on what they are wearing or how cute of a couple they are. Make them feel good on the inside!

3. Give them stuff to talk about when you are posing/composing/getting your exposure just right. Ask them about their honey moon, plans for the weekend, or what they are

having for dinner.

4. Give them reassurance constantly. Tell them how amazing they are doing. If they are doing something awkward say something like “This is great, now let me just see you

doing ___.” Never say “Oh this looks really awkward let’s try something different”

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Photo credit: All images in this blog post by Lukas Griffin.

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