- Make friends. It’s easier to be photographed by someone you know, love, and trust. You trust they won’t make you look horrible. You trust that they’re not secretly thinking how horrible you look. So before you get behind the camera, spend some time getting to know your subjects. Laugh with them. Compliment them on their appearance (see #2). Share personal stuff about yourself. Let them know you’re human, not just a big-shot professional photographer.
- Encourage talk. When you do get behind the camera, keep up a steady stream of compliments. If they aren’t doing a good pose or their face looks off, don’t say, “Hey, your face looks weird. Try something else.” Instead, just don’t say anything. Your absence of praise will naturally lead them to find a pose you like. One bad comment can break a nervous bride (or young model) into tears.
- Practice. Photograph friend’s kids for free. Or dogs. Dogs work, too. The thing about kids and dogs is that when they’re awkward or uncomfortable in front of the camera, it’s super obvious. You can’t miss someone’s dog barking at you or a kid walking off or having a tantrum. And if you can get different types of kids to get comfortable, you can do anything.
Hope this helps! I’m still practicing getting all my technique right, but I am good at getting people comfortable in front of the camera.