Tips to help with being camera shy

Not crazy about being photographed, or feel awkward in front of the camera? If you feel like that too, you’re not alone!

Don’t worry – my years of experience mean I can help you all relax and not feel silly being photographed.

In a nutshell, I do this by:

  • Creating a calm and relaxed atmosphere
  • Limiting the number of posed shots
  • Using flattering angles
  • Finding out about any insecurities beforehand
  • Incorporating only hints of you in the photographs
  • Child-only sessions if necessary
  • Pre-session consultation
  • Support with what to wear
  • Providing guidance on what to have to hand.

I’ve got lots of camera shy tips and strategies to help you relax – read on to find out more.

You Won’t be Centre Stage

There’ll be lots going on, so you don’t need to feel you’ll be sat in front of the camera for hours.

Some people worry that it’ll be tiring being with a photographer for hours, but not all the time is spent taking photographs. We’ll be moving around, following your child’s lead, and going from room to room. I’ll be taking a variety of photographs as we go. You’ll be in some of the photographs, and some will be just of your children.

Mum holding her newborn baby in her arms

“Louise was amazing with our family. My husband hates having his photo taken but he really enjoyed the session. The boys immediately warmed to her. The result was great shots of the boys and all the family. We shall treasure the photos forever.” Elizabeth

Limited Posed Shots

Grandparents tend to like a photograph where everyone’s looking at the camera, so if you’d like one of these I’ll take it early on. Then that’s it, you can relax!

Flattering Angles

I’m careful to use flattering angles. I can gently guide you into a different position if it’ll look better in the photographs.

If there’s something that bothers you about your appearance, just tell me beforehand so I can make sure that feature doesn’t get a look in. Everyone has their own bug bear. I hate how much my gums show when I smile, for example. Crazy, but if a photographer knows that they can keep an eye out while photographing me (and my gums!).

Hints of You

We can also include just some hints of parents in the photographs. For example, photographs of your newborn lying in your arms, or holding onto your fingers.

These kind of photographs are just as powerful in bringing back memories of those early years. They can be very emotive in years to come.

Newborn baby sleeping on his dads chest
Closeup look of a Baby holding his dads hand
Mum holding a baby wearing blue and white stripes baby dress in her arms
Newborn baby sleeping in her mother's arms

Just The Children

I can absolutely photograph your family without any parent shots.

I have done a couple of sessions just of the children, but I always felt that was a shame for the children. When they’re older, they’ll really value the photographs with their parents. I always think a portrait session is more for the children than the parents, in the end. That said, I’d never push you to do anything you didn’t want to do. I simply set out to capture this stage of your family’s life for you, in beautiful and natural photographs.

If only one parent’s not happy to be photographed, you can also consider only joining for 10 or 15 minutes. I recommend doing that at the start, though, as you’ll likely soon see it’s not a big deal and that it’ll be fine to get involved.

Pre-session Consultation

We’ll discuss your portrait session beforehand. You’ll have a good idea of how your photo session will work, and what to expect. Knowing what’s coming can really help with camera nerves.

I also provide detailed suggestions on what to wear, so you can be confident that your outfits will work well for photographs. If you’re unsure, you’re welcome to send me photos of what you’re considering beforehand. And I can look through clothes with you when I arrive.

Remember You’re Not The Subject

As a family photographer, I photograph relationships, love and funny moments. Yes, you’ll be in a photograph, but it won’t be a photograph of you. It’s a family photograph that you’re in. It’s a subtle difference, but remembering that can be enough to help you relax and enjoy the moment.

“Louise was great!  She made it very easy for us all to relax and act normally.  The photos are natural and reflect the fun that we all had together – it was difficult to choose which ones to frame! Thank you.” Sallyanne

“I felt nervous to get photos taken, but the portrait session was relaxed and fun. I especially liked being able to be photographed in my own home. I’m so pleased with the photographs.” Chelsea

Make-up Tips and Tricks to Photograph Well

Full disclosure: I rarely wear make-up, and I believe we all look great as we are. But, I asked make-up artist Katie King for some tips on how to look your best for your photo session:

“The most important thing is to feel confident and the most ‘you’ possible. If that means a red lip, wear a red lip. If it means a no-makeup look, then that is what you should go for.

If, like Louise, your photographer doesn’t use flash, I would suggest going for a dewy finish CC cream or tinted moisturiser rather than a full foundation. This will ensure your skin still looks like skin.

If you need extra coverage, use concealer only where needed and blend out the edges of these areas well.

If you feel you are too shiny, use a translucent powder – only where needed. Use a small fluffy brush for this. Try using a clean eyeshadow blending brush. This means you can be precise with your powder application, and avoid having an overall matte finish to your face. 

I always recommend a bronzer and a blush, no matter your skin’s tone or age. This helps bring warmth and colour to your face, and really helps you to glow on camera.

Mascara is your best bet for defining and bringing attention to your eyes. I personally love lashings of mascara! If you don’t feel black mascara suits you, or it’s too heavy for your face, why not try a brown or navy mascara? This helps define your eyes without being too unnatural or overpowering. 

I am all for a splash of colour. This is a great way to show your personality, and I guarantee it will make you smile!

Colour can be a beautiful shade of lipstick, a shimmery eyeshadow, a cool eyeliner, anything that just makes you feel happy. Don’t be scared of colour. Experiment until you find something that suits.”

Left-field Suggestion: Take Some No-face Self-Portraits

Presentation experts recommend practising in front of the camera. A fun way to go about this with being in photographs is to take some self-portraits. You’re in control with self-portraits!

This video has some fun suggestions on how to take self-portraits if you feel shy. Hide your face! For example, hide behind your hands, your hair, the camera, flowers, a balloon, or find shadows. You never know, you might overcome some of your nerves about being photographed.

What to expect