Portrait Photography Tip: How to Make Your Model Feel Less Awkward

Get better results for your portrait photography by making your model feel more at ease during the shoot.

Want to get into portrait photography and make sure you get beautiful results with every shoot? Before you fuss around with your camera settings, locations, and lighting setup among the most important things you have to learn are posing and directing your models. But you can’t do that until they’re at ease and feel less awkward around you. Here’s a quick video with some suggestions on how to do just that.

We hear about the importance of making models feel relaxed during photo shoots, but not many of us know where to start. In his video below, Mathieu Stern suggested four ways — or rather, “exercises” — to help make your models  loosen up a little and feel less awkward in front of the camera. It may even help you build a rapport with your subject and feel less awkward or pressured as well!

As Stern also mentioned in the video, you won’t get nice portraits with a nervous and awkward model, whether you’re shooting with a friend or a professional model. With these unusual (and maybe silly for some) exercises, you can help your model get more relaxed and natural facial expressions, gestures, and movements when you direct them to pose. But of course, don’t forget to communicate the goals of your shoot as well before the session begins. Show a moodboard if possible, so you will both have references on the mood and look that you’re going for. This will also allow your model to feel more attuned to the shoot and give his or her own inputs and character to your portraits.

While we’re at it, you might also want to check out this article if you’re still on the lookout for models to practice your portrait photography with!

Screenshot image from the video by Mathieu Stern