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We know you have people in your life that you love spending time with, and we’re guessing you’d really love to capture them in your photos. Think of your spouse, your parents, your playful kids running around outside. Their joyful and authentic expressions are so beautiful!

happy little child baby girl laughing and playing in the autumn on the nature walk outdoors

But isn’t it frustrating when you get ready to photograph those folks, the second you lift up your camera, they shy away or switch expressions? It’s like they think they need to look a “certain” way to be photogenic in photographs.

Have no fear! Here are a few tips to help the people you’re photographing relax so that you can capture breathtaking images of them!

  1. Be in open communication with your subjects. Let them know why you’re so inspired to take their photo and what it is about them that catches your eye. Acknowledge that how they move and express naturally is what will shine through best in a photo.
  2. Ask them what makes them feel most alive, most beautiful, or most comfortable. Have the photo shoot (whether for a few hours or just a brief moment) be collaboration between the two of you. Don’t demand that your subject behave or act a specific way, unless they’re totally comfortable doing so.
  3. Get them outside!! Photographing people in natural light or near a big window will create the most natural true-to-life looking images. You’ll eliminate a lot of the strange color casts and tones that can show up when you’re shooting indoors, and you’ll have a lot less trouble with the brightness of the shot. Remember – shooting outdoors on a super sunny day can produce harsh shadows, so try to position your subject in a shaded area, or shoot on a more overcast day.
  4. Have fun!! Make a game out of creating great shots together. Once your subject knows they’re part of the process and they have a say in how it goes, they’ll be much freer to play along.
  5. Capture the quiet moments – I like to call these the “in between” moments. Often, when someone is posing for a photo, they’ll over exaggerate and use a lot of the muscles in their face. Pay attention to the moments in between shots where they pause to take a breath, or sweep the hair away from their face. Shooting the “in between” moments will empower you to capture intimate expressions like you’ve never imagined.

Black and white closeup portrait of a nervous woman


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