Often the clients of pho­tog­ra­phers are not pro­fes­sion­al mod­els, but ordi­nary peo­ple. Not every­one knows how to take a spec­tac­u­lar pose the first time. Peo­ple can be in a bad mood, shy, feel con­strained, “stiff” in front of the lens. Some­one is afraid to look ridicu­lous or show emo­tions.

And it is the pho­tog­ra­ph­er who is able to reveal a per­son, to help him feel a new self, con­fi­dent, free, lib­er­at­ed. But how to pho­to­graph shy mod­els? We’ve put togeth­er a small selec­tion of tips!

If a per­son has not pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en part in the film­ing, then he may behave inse­cure­ly, con­strained­ly. But the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is able to help such a client. Pho­to: helpmannacademy.com.au

Get­ting to know each oth­er before film­ing
What if there is no time to get to know each oth­er?
Chang­ing the entourage
Joint fun
How to relieve stress — three ways

Getting to know each other before filming

Peo­ple behave nat­u­ral­ly, not con­strained, when there are those whom they trust. There­fore, trust in the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is the path to suc­cess. You can arrange for your­self at a pre­lim­i­nary meet­ing. Pho­to and video film­ing some­times takes up to 12 hours. There­fore, it is pos­si­ble and nec­es­sary to devote half an hour in advance to acquain­tance, com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Why do you need a pre­lim­i­nary acquain­tance of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er and the mod­el?

  • So that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er can study peo­ple, their tem­pera­ment. For exam­ple, some peo­ple like to be prompt­ed, oth­ers are annoyed;
  • to dis­cuss the pur­pose of the shoot;
  • to come up with a con­cept togeth­er.


It is bet­ter to hold the first meet­ing in a place where the mod­els are com­fort­able. There they will be less con­strained (because the con­di­tions are com­fort­able) and will be able to tell a lit­tle more about their expec­ta­tions, ideas, wish­es.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion brings peo­ple togeth­er. Pho­tograph­ing is the result of the work of both par­ties. And by dis­cussing, offer­ing ref­er­ences, ideas, you get clos­er. If a per­son opened up in the first meet­ing, on the shoot­ing itself, he will no longer be so squeezed.

A pho­tog­ra­ph­er is a cre­ator, an artist, an ide­o­log­i­cal inspir­er and a psy­chol­o­gist. Dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary con­ver­sa­tion, he will under­stand with whom he will have to work. And he will be able to show shack­led clients that he under­stands them, is ready to sup­port ideas and imple­ment them.

A few min­utes of open com­mu­ni­ca­tion will help get rid of dis­com­fort dur­ing a pho­to ses­sion. Pho­to: joinfo.com

What if there is no time to get to know each other?

If this is, for exam­ple, express shoot­ing, then the sit­u­a­tion becomes a lit­tle more com­pli­cat­ed. This type of shoot­ing is pop­u­lar in stu­dios with a full-time pho­tog­ra­ph­er, held before the hol­i­days. For exam­ple, when 10–20 pairs are col­lect­ed by Feb­ru­ary 14, each is allo­cat­ed half an hour and every­one is filmed in one loca­tion one after anoth­er.

If a shy cou­ple was caught on such a shoot, then you can com­plete the min­i­mum pro­gram: be friend­ly, open, offer help in pos­ing.

Why it’s a good strat­e­gy:

  • peo­ple relax when they see that they are wel­come, they have noth­ing to fear;
  • mod­els see that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er is on a pos­i­tive wave with every­one and lit­tle by lit­tle they them­selves are charged with a good mood;
  • often the fear of mod­els rests on the fact that they do not know how to stand up, how to turn around. When they see that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er con­fi­dent­ly takes on this task, they will become more calm and relaxed. It is impor­tant for mod­els to feel that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er knows what he is doing and helps to achieve a beau­ti­ful result.

Changing the entourage

Not always the loca­tion that seemed suit­able in the pho­to is liked by peo­ple in fact when they come to shoot. Some­one thinks the light is too bright, the col­ors are too cold, the pic­ture on the wall inter­feres, etc. The per­son is pinched, behaves stiffly.

The solu­tion is to offer the mod­el some­thing to change.

Let him do what will make this place more com­fort­able. He does not know what to change — you can offer your options. The win­dow can be cur­tained, the annoy­ing chair can be moved. This gives a per­son the real­iza­tion that his feel­ings, desires, self-per­cep­tion are impor­tant. And he takes a step back.

Of course, every­thing that was moved and changed dur­ing the shoot­ing is bet­ter to put back. It’s unspo­ken stu­dio eti­quette.

Unusu­al light­ing, decor can be intim­i­dat­ing. There­fore, there is noth­ing to wor­ry about if you remake the loca­tion a lit­tle for your­self, make it more com­fort­able. Pho­to: severdv.ru


A lot depends on what a per­son is wear­ing. A pro­fes­sion­al mod­el with an unshak­able look, it will with­stand both shoes a size down and a dress a cou­ple of sizes too big. But the com­mon man is not.

A com­mon sto­ry is that a per­son goes to a pho­to ses­sion with a cer­tain image in his head. He saw this image on Pin­ter­est, put it togeth­er, put it on… But he feels as uncom­fort­able as pos­si­ble in it.

If the pho­tog­ra­ph­er under­stands that this is the prob­lem, you can offer the mod­el to remove the uncom­fort­able thing or cov­er it up.

Are the shoes tight? You can take them off and come up with bare­foot pho­to ideas!

Incon­ve­nient fit? You can comb your hair and col­lect them as it will be con­ve­nient.

Sit­u­a­tion exam­ple: The girl wore high-rise jeans and a crop top. It looked cool on the mod­el in the mag­a­zine. But the girl thinks that it looks awk­ward on her. She wants to cov­er her stom­ach with her hands, pull the edge of the top down. In this case, you can:

  • Refuse stand­ing shots. The mod­el can be plant­ed, put, let it bend, turn so that it is com­fort­able;
  • find a thing in the stu­dio that you can use. For exam­ple, throw a stole on top. The mod­el will stop focus­ing on what annoyed her.
If the shoes inter­fere with the mod­el, they can be removed. Pho­to: artfile.ru

Invite mod­els to use the ser­vices of a make­up artist. Yes, maybe your mod­el will do her own nude make­up for an easy look. But make-up is not only about com­plex arrows and make­up. It is also about car­ing, about self-care and groom­ing. This pro­ce­dure will help the mod­el feel bet­ter, give con­fi­dence and cheer up on the set.

Joint fun

If the pho­tog­ra­ph­er sees that a per­son has come to the shoot­ing stiff and scared, you can dis­tract him. It is bet­ter to spend 5–10 min­utes on joint enter­tain­ment than try­ing to shoot a closed mod­el from dif­fer­ent angles for sev­er­al hours.

Physical activity

Not every­one is ready to jump and stand on their heads. But this is not nec­es­sary. Enough to ask to move.

  • If there is a cou­ple at the pho­to ses­sion, they can jok­ing­ly push each oth­er, dance, arrange a pil­low or ball fight.
  • If the per­son is alone, you can ask him to move his arms and tor­so a lit­tle, to do a warm-up. It is impor­tant to do every­thing togeth­er with the mod­el. A per­son feels that he is not alone, and it is much eas­i­er for him to relax.

note Peo­ple are more will­ing to show emo­tions when they are inter­act­ed with by oth­ers. The one who is more relaxed and open “trans­mits” his mood to the more restrained.

Ask a cou­ple to dance, fool around. Enter­tain­ment for them, good shots and live­ly emo­tions for you. Pho­to: tanzschule-weninger.at

A funny story

Pho­tog­ra­phers work with peo­ple, and usu­al­ly they have dozens of fun­ny sto­ries in their arse­nal that will make even the most gloomy lis­ten­er laugh. Let the per­son tell a fun­ny sto­ry from their life in return. As soon as he begins to share, he will begin to relax. In the mean­time, he will be telling a sto­ry or laugh­ing at jokes, you can take some good shots.

note Peo­ple always laugh at their own jokes. Cap­ture this moment on cam­era! So you get live emo­tion­al pic­tures.

Laugh­ter removes blocks, tight­ness. If you man­aged to make the mod­el laugh, then you are on the right track. Pho­to: stocktonca.dental

tea drinking

When a per­son is under stress, he focus­es on this state. As soon as he begins to do some­thing, the con­cen­tra­tion on stress decreas­es. And after tea drink­ing and light con­ver­sa­tion, the ten­sion will pass.

Pay atten­tion — time for a cup of tea and a con­ver­sa­tion can be spent with ben­e­fit! If shoot­ing on the street, then on the veran­da of a cafe or restau­rant you can make a cool pho­to shoot. We have already described this idea in our guide.

A light snack or a con­ver­sa­tion over tea will relax the mod­el. And in a cozy cafe you can take some beau­ti­ful pho­tos. Pho­to: fotokto.ru

Working with props

A com­mon prob­lem for mod­els in stress is that they don’t know where to put their hands. Take the mod­el. Give her some­thing to inter­act with.

What to take on a walk:

  • Bal­loon;
  • kite;
  • bou­quet;
  • food, drink;
  • umbrel­la.

What to give in the stu­dio:

  • book;
  • pil­low;
  • plaid;
  • mir­ror;
  • tele­phone;
  • any props that are avail­able and fit the theme.

note — props should cor­re­spond to the theme of the shoot­ing and be small in size. A shy mod­el needs to try inter­act­ing with the sub­ject. And do not hide behind him from the pho­tog­ra­ph­er.

The use of props is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to occu­py the mod­el and make the pho­to spe­cial, brighter and more inter­est­ing. Pho­to: swinellsaccounting.co.uk

How to relieve stress — three ways

The method that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er choos­es direct­ly depends on the type of shoot­ing, the per­son who came to him. The meth­ods list­ed above will not work for every­one.

If a per­son comes at an age, with a tough char­ac­ter, and at the same time very stiff, most like­ly it will be use­less to ask him to move or indulge. Every­one is imprint­ed by his pro­fes­sion, envi­ron­ment. And if a man (or woman) is used to not let­ting any­one in, he will not drink tea and tell sto­ries. But even such mod­els can be approached.


Peo­ple are often over­whelmed by the fact that they do not under­stand how they will look in the frame. Some­one may stretch their neck strange­ly, try­ing to appear taller. Some­one, on the con­trary, does not notice that they are strong­ly hunched over. The mir­ror solves this prob­lem.

First­ly — a per­son sees his reflec­tion, can straight­en his hair, clothes. He will make sure that he looks good, this will give him con­fi­dence.

Sec­ond­ly You can take many beau­ti­ful pho­tos with a mir­ror. Both staged and sud­den.

note — a mir­ror is an atmos­pher­ic, beau­ti­ful acces­so­ry. But they just cut them­selves or break it. There­fore, it is bet­ter not to use mir­rors with­out frames, very large and heavy (if the mod­el is sup­posed to be hold­ing it in her hands).

A mir­ror is a prop that will help you take beau­ti­ful pho­tos. Pho­to: wallhere.com


Con­stric­tion is a con­se­quence of self-doubt. A per­son is afraid to seem ridicu­lous, absurd. And even more he strains from the fact that he does not under­stand how to behave in this new loca­tion.

If the pho­tog­ra­ph­er takes every­thing into his own hands, man­ages the process, the mod­el feels more relaxed. He got rid of this respon­si­bil­i­ty, which made him ner­vous.

The pho­tog­ra­ph­er knows bet­ter how this or that pose will look from the side. It is impor­tant not just to say how to become, but to show by exam­ple. This will help to involve an inex­pe­ri­enced mod­el in the process, and over time, she will even begin to par­tic­i­pate more will­ing­ly on her own.

note — The pho­tog­ra­ph­er should not com­mand, but sug­gest. if it is clear that the mod­el does not like this mode of oper­a­tion, dis­cuss it with her.


If time per­mits, you can invite the mod­el to call some­one she trusts. It is impor­tant that there is some­one whom a per­son is not shy about, with whom he can real­ly open up.

note – You can dis­cuss the pres­ence of a third par­ty imme­di­ate­ly dur­ing a pre­lim­i­nary meet­ing. Espe­cial­ly if you can see that the mod­el is very ner­vous and feels con­strained.


What will help make a clamped mod­el less con­strained:

  • dia­logue (meet­ing in advance or 5 min­utes of con­ver­sa­tion before shoot­ing. Explain that she is wel­come, she is cool, you can stop at any time, if it’s uncom­fort­able, you can change some­thing);
  • lack of rigid frames — to offer to change the light, the loca­tion of the scenery, remove uncom­fort­able things, do it in a way that will be con­ve­nient for a PERSON;
  • joint activ­i­ty — move, stretch, dance, fool around a lit­tle. Espe­cial­ly it works with chil­dren, young peo­ple;
  • jokes — peo­ple always laugh at their own jokes. And if a per­son began to tell fun­ny sto­ries, this is already a suc­cess;
  • props. Solves 2 prob­lems: a per­son has “where to put his hands” and new ideas for a pho­to appear;
  • mir­ror — a per­son sees his reflec­tion, occu­pies a more advan­ta­geous posi­tion, I am sure that he looks good. And the pho­tog­ra­ph­er has a few more options for beau­ti­ful shots;
  • help with pos­ing;
  • the pres­ence of a loved one who will cheer up, relieve stress.