confident woman portrait with Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

11 Practical Tips for Working With Camera Shy Clients

If you're like most photographers, you've probably had camera shy clients. And even if you're not, some of your clients will likely be. Camera shyness can range from mild to extreme, and it can be tough to work with someone who is constantly nervous or uncomfortable with the camera.

There are a few things that you can do to help make working with camera shy clients easier. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your sessions.

Tip 01: Build trust

A major factor in working with a camera shy client is building trust. Over time, this can happen when you've established a real rapport with your client.

But if you're unable to build this level of trust right away, prepare for your photoshoot by engaging them in conversation and talking about the project at hand. When your clients feel comfortable talking about the project — the idea behind it, or any obstacles they may face — they'll be more comfortable when the camera starts clicking.

Tip 02: Use props to get them started

One of the best ways to get your camera shy clients started is by using props. This will help them become more comfortable in front of the camera and may even make for some great photos.

man's sitting photo with Kate Bookshelf Backdrop Retro for Photography

Kate Bookshelf Backdrop Retro for Photography

Make sure that whatever props you select are complimentary to your subjects' outfits and personality traits; if they're traditional photography enthusiasts who love fashion shots, don't go overboard with neon zinc teapots!

Tip 03: Be direct

If your client isn't comfortable with the camera or feels like they're being recorded, be direct and explain why it's necessary for the photoshoot. Most clients will eventually warm up to the camera if they understand why it's necessary.

Additionally, set clear expectations from the beginning so that you and your client are aware of what is expected. This will help to minimize any surprises or misunderstandings along the way.

Tip 04: Be patient

Some clients just need more time to get used to being photographed. They may be scared or uncomfortable in new or public environments. They may also be nervous about making a good impression or appearing foolish in front of others.

However, patience is a virtue — especially when it comes to photography! By being patient and understanding your clients' needs, you'll be able to overcome any obstacles and get the images you need in no time!

Tip 05: Be flexible

woman's back portrait with Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

If your client tells you that they are camera shy, be willing to adjust your approach accordingly. Some clients may prefer a low-key photo session where only candid shots are taken, while others prefer more action shots or posed shots. Be willing to accommodate their preferences, and you'll likely get better results.

Tip 06: Be understanding

It's important not to take the client's shyness personally. Remember, they may not be used to being in front of a camera or feeling self-conscious. Just be supportive and understanding, and you'll be on your way to creating some beautiful memories!

Tip 07: Take your time

Photography is an art form, and it takes time and practice to get good at it. Do not rush your client or try to do too many things at once — this will only frustrate them and make the photo session less enjoyable.

Tip 08: Make sure that your studio is comfortable and inviting

Always take into account the client's comfort level before shooting so as not to send them home unhappy no matter how beautiful their images may turn out. This can be done by ensuring that all the types of equipment are placed in strategic locations, creating a comfortable space with dimmed lights, choosing soft music instead of loud music, and providing snacks or drinks if desired.

Tip 09: Help the client prepare for the session

photo of woman sitting on ladder with Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

The biggest difference between working with camera-shy clients and other clients is that you'll need to take a little extra time at the front end to get them ready for the session. Below are some suggestions to help them feel less anxious and more in control of the photo session.

  • Find out what their fears are and work to address them head-on.
  • Have the client wear something that makes them feel more comfortable and confident — this can be anything from a comfortable shirt and jeans to a robe or hoodie.
  • Try to get the client to practice beforehand to be familiar with the poses and settings.
  • If all else fails, consider giving the client a relaxation CD or book to take with them during the session.

Tip 10: Use positive reinforcement

When you are taking photos with your client, make sure to give them positive feedback such as compliments and encouragement. This will help the client feel good about themselves and their appearance, which may increase their confidence when appearing in front of the camera. Additionally, provide constructive criticism sparingly so that they don't become discouraged or stressed out during photo sessions.

Tip 11:  Give them a specific pose that looks natural

photo of woman sitting on a stool with Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

Kate Abstract Backdrop Mottled Rustic Brown for Portrait Photography

If all else fails, teach them how to pose naturally without looking stiff or uncomfortable. This involves breaking the photo session down into smaller tasks that they can gradually conquer over time. Have them take a few basic steps before sitting down for photos, such as sitting tall with their chest out or positioning their hands comfortably on their lap/breastbone.


Working with camera shy clients can be challenging, but as long as you are aware of the issue before a shoot and understand what might happen, you should be able to prepare accordingly.

Of course, there's no guarantee that camera shyness will persist, so keep an eye on the behavior of your subjects throughout the shoot, and gauge whether or not they seem comfortable. If you're able to spot any red flags in advance, there's a better chance that you'll be able to stop their clamming up and protect your client relationship in the process.

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