Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of being a portrait photographer is putting subjects at ease in front of the camera.
Photographer Neil van Niekerk offers some sage and straightforward advice for overcoming the challenge. Basically, flip the script and put yourself in their place. Literally:
You need to own it and become used to being photographed. Seriously. I would even go as far as saying that you have an obligation to your subjects and clients to be comfortable about being photographed. You need to know how to handle yourself in front of the camera. How to pose, and how to feel at ease.
He suggests practice posing in the mirror to get the hang of it.
It’s an interesting piece of advice and certainly not the first time we’ve seen it advocated. When we profiled Neely Ker-Fox for her “Perfect Imperfections” series showcasing mother’s bodies in all their natural glory, Ker-Fox told us the first thing she did was appear in front of the camera herself. It was a form of solidarity and ice-breaking that put her subjects at ease.
What do you think? If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, will you be able to put subjects at ease when you’re behind it?
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