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What if I Feel Uncomfortable in Front of the Camera?

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As a photographer, one question I get quite quite frequently is what do if you’re uncomfortable on camera. Sometimes, I joke that I became a photographer to avoid being in front of the camera so I empathize. I think that it helps to remember that very few people regularly get photographed for hours at a time so it’s totally fine and normal to be a bit uncomfortable at first. Personally, as a photograph I consider making everyone in front of my lens feel comfortable an important part of every shoot.  Here are a few things that have helped me get over my camera shyness: 

The process

First off, I think it helps to know a bit about how the process so you’re prepared and aware each step of the way. Generally, every photographer has a slightly unique workflow but there are often several consistent aspects. The first few shots that I take are to test the light and make sure I have the right settings so it’s a good time to relax. This is typical for most photographers, especially if you’re moving around from location to location. Don’t worry about posing or smiling at first. Once I’m ready to go, I let you know that my settings are all set and I’ll provide some suggestions on where to stand or how to pose. There’s a lot of variation between photographers in how many photos they’ll take in each moment. I tend to move very quickly between poses and locations. Personally, I like to keep things moving quickly. 


I always set out to capture people in an accurate and beautiful way. While working towards that not every photo will be perfect but it’s important to trust that there will be great images in there. Trust that your photographer wants to make you look good and is there to guide you.

Go for it

A while ago I was fortunate enough to photograph two dancers and was really surprised how different the experience was. Dancers are incredible to photograph because they just try things. Sometimes whatever idea we were trying didn’t work out but their first response was always to give it a go. I’m not suggesting that you pirouette into a photo shoot but I am suggesting that you tell your inner filter to pip down for a few hours. Try to enjoy the moment and just go for it. 

Use what you’ve got 

Unless you’re having a formal portrait taken, don’t worry about moving around and using things around you. Sometimes, I find that leaning on something helps me ease into a photo session. If you tend to worry about what to do with your arms, you can hold onto something. Or if you’re taking photos as a couple, you can literally lean on each other. Personally, I find photos of people moving around, holding things and interacting with each other much more natural so don’t be afraid to use what’s around you.