I am not a model, don’t take my picture


‘I don’t like photos’. ‘I am shy’. ‘I don’t know how to pose’. ‘I look awkward in front of the camera’. These are words I had heard hundreds of times when I asked different people to stand in front of the camera. Whenever someone asked to take photos of me, these are thoughts I realised I had too.


Following a bit of self-work in trying to understand why this is so, I realised that, for me, it is partly a lack of confidence. This manifests itself in awkward poses, which result in horrible pictures, and it becomes a continuous cycle and leaves me concluding that I don’t like having my picture taken. Therefore, when someone asks to take a photo of me, instead of just naturally leaning into it, I have a thousand thoughts coming into my mind and the whole experience becomes stressful.



I have therefore realised that part of my job as a photographer is to help my clients to relax during the shoot. I need to understand my client enough to recognise how they feel before and during the shoot. If someone is feeling nervous, too much direction is not always the most helpful way to help them get the best results. I need to find other ways to relax them, and then it is my job to capture what I need out of the shoot as we progress. Two methods that seem to work well are either music or conversation.


Playing music that the client enjoys takes them to a relaxed place as they ease into the music then with minimal direction, I work to capture what the client requires. Another technique that seems to work well is a conversation about a subject that relaxes the client. Also, getting natural laughter during the shoot is wonderful – this might be biased because I like capturing happy looks or cheeky looks. The point here is to remove the shoot, which may be making the client nervous, from the front of my mind and get them thinking about something that relaxes them and then it’s my job to gently lead my client for the rest. It’s a photoshoot and not heart surgery; therefore, wherever possible, I try to make my shoots more fun than serious.


I also like to ensure that my clients know when I love what they are giving. Encouraging them, showing them how great they are doing through the viewfinder. These somehow seem to pour more confidence in them, and before you know it, our time is over, and they are already mentally planning out their next shoot.

How do you feel about being in front of the camera?

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