So many times, portrait photographers talk all about how to get kids to cooperate during shoots, especially if they are shy kids and don’t want to do anything in front of the camera. But being shy isn’t a trait that’s reserved for kids. Many adults also have the shy trait. Well, maybe they aren’t shy all of the time, but when they step in front of the camera, they lock up an don’t know what to do! Think about Ricky Bobby not knowing what to do with his hands. I also have a confession. I am one of those adults. Behind the camera, I can conduct a shoot. When I get in front of the camera, I lock up and lose all respect for myself.
Just like kids, shy adults can completely break down and destroy a photo shoot before you know it. I would contest that they can ruin a shoot faster than any kid because adults are more self conscious that kids are. When you get into a situation where your photo shoot is going downhill due to the shyness of an adult, you can do a few things to salvage the shoot and get at least a few great shots of them.
Tell Them Exactly What To Do
If you find yourself struggling to take great photos of shy adults, try telling them exactly what to do. For this, you always need to be watching for things they do naturally like tucking their hair behind their ear. When you see a natural movement that would make a great photo, make a mental note to have them do just that. They will usually do their most natural movements when they get nervous as a security tick. When you see them do it, tell them it looked great and ask if they’ll do it again. Telling them it looks great will encourage them to loosen up a bit. It will also give them confidence that the photos will look good!
Never Stop Talking
Have you ever been on a first date where there are way too many awkward silences? I have… way too many… Awkward silence can also make shy people get really uncomfortable when they’re getting their photos taken. That’s why you need to make sure you’re always keeping the conversation flowing. You may feel like you’re talking their ear off, but trust me, they need to hear the constant stream of conversation. Otherwise you’re in for a long day. If you run out of things to talk about, just tell them what you’re doing with your setting and with the light. Also, always be positive. Happy vibes mean happy photos.
1, 2, 3 Technique
The 1, 2, 3 technique is my favorite technique to use whenever I’m shooting portraits even if I’m not going through the motions of how to photograph shy adults. But this may be an effective technique to use and it’s really easy. First, find great light. Next, tell them to look down and when you count to 3, look directly at the lens. You will get one photo, and it will be good. The main idea behind it is that the person will have no time to get uncomfortable. They will look up, make a natural face, and you take a photo before they can be shy again. Try it, it will work!
Have you tried any of these techniques before?