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Nervousness at the Start of Portrait Sessions

iKokomo 3 6
8 Mar 2021 9:21PM
I have always enjoyed doing portrait photography, however, it always takes me about 10 minutes to (for lack of a better term) “find my groove.”

The first 10 minutes of photos are not the best, but once I get past the “nervous” part, I really enjoy the photo session and the photos become much better.

My question is, how do I make myself, as well as my subject/model comfortable in the beginning so that I can have a better photo session?
clicknimagine Plus
11 798 104 India
9 Mar 2021 6:35AM
Every genre of photography has some challenges on its own, people often underestimate those challenges of other genres...if you go to a public place (not tourist spots) to take some images as street photography, you may face many difficulties like confrontation with people unwanted to be recorded in the camera, adverse weather, excessive gathering or public humiliation of some kind to name a few, you may easily be nervous particularly when you are alone in this job...If you go to a national park to take some images as wildlife photography, you have to carry a lot of patience with you and to be alert for every possible opportunity which may last for a fraction of second, you shouldn't be nervous...If you try landscape photography, you should better avoid the comfort of your bed at the very early morning to find out the best location and to utilize the best possible light, mind you that location may be preoccupied by your beloved competitors so you need not to be nervous as the time is very short to capture the light...

I take real life images, environmental portraits, I try to find story that attract me and that forces me to use my camera...in 95% of time, i go to a place which is not known to me and i take images of people who are completely unknown to me, i always face adverse situation, at the very beginning when i started, i felt nervous, i took images which were worthless in my view...But i never let it go, I tried again and again that took away my nervousness and helped me to build up my own vision...

A lot of conversation with the model and a lot of practice may be your key here...
Chrism8 14 977 28 England
9 Mar 2021 7:09AM
I do a fair amount of portrait work and I always try to get to know the model before I pick up the camera, that may be a conversation in the car travelling to the studio or location or 10 - 15 minutes at the location with a cup of tea / coffee just discussing how the shoot should plan out.

Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
9 Mar 2021 11:08AM
I do portrait work from time to time as an amateur so cannot claim to have solved all the issues. Firstly, you should establish with the model in advance (when you book the model) what style of photography and clothing changes you would like etc. Ensure arrangements are made for travel and comfort at the shoot and chat to her before you actually start to take photos. If you have, say a photobook, with examples of your work , you could show those. I am in a studio Group at my club so a lot of this is pre-arranged by the organiser who is very experienced. One thing I have found is a large difference between professional and amateur models. With a professional model they may understand the lighting better than the photographer and will be happy to pose without prompting but you may not end up with what you want, if you do not take the lead.

pablophotographer 9 1.8k 405
9 Mar 2021 12:17PM
Some good advice above.

Book with a group of other togs in the beginning. Build your experience by rubbing shoulders.

Prepare your shots a week in advance and discuss them with your model. Review the location at the time.

Prepare your gear one day earlier. Check the memory cards, bring the right flm, clear lenses, charge the batteries, sort cables, and the lighting triggers.

Prepare coffee or tea on the day for you and the model and the stylist or the make up artist. Have some music in the background that helps you chill. Communicate with the model. She may need some warming up as you do.

Ask dudler Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2397 United Kingdom
9 Mar 2021 1:32PM
I'll just add one small point to the above: assuming that this is an indoor group shoot, first of all sit down; and make sure your model is sitting down, don't keep him / her standing. It's much easier to relax seated than standing. Then allow a few minutes for chat, getting to know each other. Don't rush, don't dive straight in. Remember your model may well be nervous too.
Dave_Canon 14 2.0k United Kingdom
9 Mar 2021 4:35PM
I would just add that although we have a studio group, we divide the time so we shoot one at a time. So typically, we might have 5 -10 mins before changing which gives a space to review your images and consider what is next.

In the early days there was sometimes a free for all. This results in the model being confused and not knowing where to look and is hopeless if you want to use a longer lens and others are between you and the model.

clicknimagine Plus
11 798 104 India
9 Mar 2021 5:15PM

Quote:I do portrait work from time to time as an amateur so cannot claim to have solved all the issues.

GrinGrinGrin...Do you think professionals can solve all the issue, i think they only concentrate to sell their images, they always try to produce a product which can satisfy the need of their potential customer only in accordance with a view of recognized techniques otherwise that will not be accepted by their customers, their creativity is also very limited...that is why it is very difficult to be an Artist rather than a professional...
keithh 17 25.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
9 Mar 2021 7:39PM

What a crock

The best advice is to not turn the camera on for at least 20 mins. Put the kettle on, sit down, chat, explain the lights, find out what they would like and talk about any ideas that you have and if they’d be comfortable with it. Don’t tell them to relax, it will have the opposite effect.
Carabosse 18 41.5k 270 England
10 Mar 2021 12:12AM
I just tell them to watch the birdie and say cheese. Tongue
clicknimagine Plus
11 798 104 India
10 Mar 2021 1:40AM
Link...This may help WinkWinkWink...
keithh 17 25.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
10 Mar 2021 10:57AM
It'll help Ken Rockwell Wink
clicknimagine Plus
11 798 104 India
10 Mar 2021 12:55PM
GrinGrinGrin...but i am afraid to say it really is not an uncommon concept...
SteveAitch 3 52 United Kingdom
10 Mar 2021 6:12PM

My question is, how do I make myself, as well as my subject/model comfortable in the beginning so that I can have a better photo session?

Gin? Wink
Carabosse 18 41.5k 270 England
10 Mar 2021 9:47PM


Or sherry/port......... but served in a large wine glass! biggrin-light.jpg

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