Most of the people I know and get to meet, are not professional models and super comfortable in front of the camera(myself included, I get ya). It's so odd, that such a small and simple thing as camera lenses turned towards us, can make us feel awkward and nervous, like we're on stage. It's ok, I am here to help you with some tips from my own experience!
Communication and trust.
I've been doing Photography for about 13 years now (as a hobby, which turned to my profession) and I realized two things -
- When it comes to photo-shoots(not documentary or event photography), all pictures are posed. But they don't look posed! Why? Because the photographer knows how to put their models at ease, captures the little moments in between posing and asks to do a lot of movement.
- Communication is the key, because it leads to trust. I would feel weird myself, if I had to be in front of a stranger with camera. I could do like an awkward, polite smile but couldn't open up for more diverse emotions.
People around the world are looking for authentic moments and real emotions. Posed pictures are fine too, I tend to incorporate them in my photo sessions, because that's how I start - with simple, traditional shots while I continue to have a conversation with models and give posing tips. When I feel like I've made them more comfortable, I move on to more intimate poses or fun activities like - jumping, running, spinning (anything that would give the movement and emotions). Have fun with it, laugh and enjoy yourself! It's an adventure.
Portrait, Couples, Wedding and Family Photo-shoots...
Whenever you are in a group photo, or it's a couples/wedding photo-shoot, it gets a bit easier, because you can rely and play off of each other. Posing comes more naturally, because you can now interact with others and you don't have to think too much, you can give someone a hug, lean on somebody, make them laugh. If there is a scenario where everyone is super shy, I will definitely give tips on how to pose, again - talk a looot. In those 13 years, there has been only few cases when some of the models refuse to open up and it's okay. Photography isn't for everyone and I definitely don't push someone to do things they don't want.
But what if you're having an individual photo shoot? I suggest finding a place with a lot of props to work with and ready environment ( a photo studio or indoor setting with furniture and accessories you could use, for example) , definitely get your own accessories you can use. Practice using your own phone camera, if there is a need to.
And - choose a photographer you have a good communication with.