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My Go-To Poses for Shy Clients

Standing in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking for many people and there’s nothing worse than looking back at pictures and seeing those nerves immortalized. You can tell yourself or your clients to “just relax and smile” all you want but that rarely produces natural, comfortable looking photos.

My favorite way to work around this problem is to give my clients movement prompts to do while I snap away. Simple actions that they can do to spark smiles, laughs and natural poses.

I like to test out a new prompt or two at most of my shoots, but I always start with a handful that are tried and true. Test these out and be sure to comment and tell me how they went! For best results, model the movement for you subject before asking them to do it. This will help them feel more comfortable.

1. The Big Sway

Have your client stand facing you, feet shoulder width apart. Ask them to twist their upper body, side to side, swinging their arms in the process.

If they’re still looking a little tense, have them also swing their hips from side to side, while shifting their weight from one foot to the other. The looser they are, the better. My clients are always impressed with how these photos turn out.

2. Strut, Darling

Turn any strip of space into your own personal runway. Give your subject some space between you and them and have them walk slowly towards you.

Crack some jokes, get them to laugh at the camera or slightly off to your left and right. Encourage them to loosen their shoulders and swing their arms while they walk.

3. The Moonwalk

This is a new one I’ve recently added to my collection. When I say “moonwalk” I don’t mean Michael Jackson’s famous dance move. I like to tell my clients to pretend like they have just stepped onto the moon and take a few slow, dramatic jumps toward the camera.

It feels so ridiculous and awkward, but the results are amazing! And if you snap the pictures at the right time, your client’s hair will look voluminous.

4. Look Back at It

Similar to pose number two, but this time have your subject slowly walk away from you, while looking over their shoulder.

I would recommend instructing them to walk at a slight diagonal, so they don’t look like a contortionist while trying to look at the camera.

Bonus Pose for Small Groups: Hip Check

If you have two or three subjects, especially family members or best friends, this one is really fun. Have them stand in a line, with their arms around each other or with their arms linked and ask them to bump hips and look at one another while they walk slowly toward the camera. This one always produces some great laughs and candids.

The most important instruction you can give a client is to have fun. The more fun they have, the more genuine the pictures will look. Good luck!


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