The best photographs are always the ones where the people in the picture look relaxed and natural — which could explain by photos of kids and families are so sweet and poignant. But for a lot of subjects who aren’t professional models (like your family or friends), it can be really tricky to get into a mental state of confidence. So, as a photographer, it’s your job to help your subjects by offer posing tips and assure them that yes, it is possible to take a good photo of them.
Because here’s the thing about regular, non-model people: A lot of times, they just don’t feel like they’re very photogenic, which can lead to visible tension and awkwardness in photos. They’ve seen so many unflattering photos of themselves, they assume all photos are going to be that way. But, with the right instruction and posing tips for photography, you can conquer that fear and make anyone look amazing and natural and radiant.
“For success as a portrait photographer, I tend to find that your ability to be a good chameleon is more important than the photography part,” explains portraiture expert Lindsay Adler, “because I gotta figure out what makes you comfortable, what makes you laugh. It’s really about reading different people.”
Here are just a few ways to interact with your subjects and advise them in a way that will make them feel (and look!) more natural.
Encourage them to take up space: “The more space we take up, the more confident we are” says body language expert and Science of People founder Vanessa Van Edwards. If you sense that your subject is feeling nervous or shy, prompt them to make themselves physically bigger. Even if you don’t use the photos of them jumping, stretching, or otherwise trying to take up more room, you’ll have given them a mental boost just by getting them literally out of their comfort zone.