Portrait photography: How to make your subject feel at ease

Jun 23, 2023

Portrait photography is an art that requires a lot of skill and patience. As a photographer, you need to know how to make your subject feel at ease to capture the best possible shot. A relaxed subject will look more natural and comfortable in front of the camera, resulting in a better portrait.

Choose the right location

The location you choose for the photo shoot can play a significant role in making your subject feel comfortable. Choose a location that is familiar to the subject and that they feel comfortable in. This could be their home, a park they frequent, or any other place that holds a special meaning to them.

portrait photography

Communicate with your subject

Communication is key to making your subject feel at ease. Talk to them before the shoot, get to know them, and make them feel comfortable around you. During the shoot, give them clear instructions and feedback. Let them know when they are doing a good job and when they need to adjust their posture or expression.

Use natural light

Natural light can make your subject look more relaxed and natural. Try to schedule the shoot during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise or before sunset when the light is soft and warm. Avoid harsh light, which can make your subject look uncomfortable and unflattering.

portrait model

Encourage movement

Encourage your subject to move around during the shoot. Movement can help them feel more relaxed and natural. Ask them to walk, dance, or do any other activity that they enjoy. This will also help you capture more dynamic and interesting shots.

Use props

Props can help your subject feel more comfortable and give them something to do with their hands. Choose props that are relevant to the subject's interests or personality. This could be a musical instrument, a book, or any other object that they feel comfortable with.

portrait props

Play music

Music can help create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere during the shoot. Ask your subject to bring their favorite music or create a playlist that they will enjoy. This will help them feel more comfortable and at ease.

Take breaks

Take breaks during the shoot to give your subject time to relax and recharge. Offer them water or snacks and give them time to stretch or take a short walk. This will help them feel more comfortable and refreshed for the rest of the shoot.

portrait break

Be patient

Finally, be patient with your subject. Some people may take longer to feel comfortable in front of the camera than others. Give them time, offer encouragement, and be supportive throughout the shoot. Remember, the goal is to capture a natural and relaxed portrait that they will cherish for years to come.