10 Tips To Help You Feel Confident & Relaxed During Your Photoshoot

Let’s talk about being in front of a camera.


It’s scary, having a camera in your face. It can cause even the most confident & poised among us to freeze up, stutter, & feel a little insecure. As a Portrait Photographer, I’ve picked up plenty of little tips & tricks that I use that truly do help my clients to feel more comfortable & confident during their Photoshoots.

Below are 10 tips & tricks to keep in mind as you head into your next photo session: observations, exercises, etc. that will help you put your best foot forward & to wake up on the day of your Photoshoot feeling confident, calm, & prepared. I want you to walk into your session feeling excited - not nervous & terrified!

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First of all, I believe that it is part of my job as your Photographer to help you feel relaxed & at ease during your photoshoot. Below are a just few of the things that I do with every client to keep them from feeling anxious or unprepared:

  • I always get to know my clients ahead of time! We see each other before your shoot for our consultation (either via Zoom or in-person), & we have lots of communication back & forth during the planning weeks leading up to your photoshoot. You won’t be showing up to have a photoshoot with a complete stranger - it really helps to meet your photographer ahead of time!

  • I plan out an entire schedule & shot list for your photoshoot - you’ll know exactly what shots are happening at which locations, when we’re going to take a break, how long it will take for us to get from one location to another, etc. Nothing is left up to fate!

  • In addition to your photoshoot plans, you will receive plenty of prep info ahead of time. Your Client Welcome Packet contains guides to help you pick what to wear, prep your hair/skin/nails, etc. You can even work with my Wardrobe Stylist if you would like!

  • While we do have a schedule, I always do my best not to have a rushed shoot, especially if I know my subject is a person who has never been photographed before. The more rushed for time that a person feels, the more uncomfortable they will be. We always take our time & try out plenty of different poses to make sure that we capture your best angles.

  • I keep the atmosphere of your Photoshoot fun & light! I have an energizing playlist going (check my playlists out here), my assistant, stylists, & hair & makeup artists are there to help, & we always have a really fun teamwork dynamic on the set of your shoot. We’re in this together - my team & I genuinely want you to have a great time & to feel your best! I am fully present with you during your shoot, & I’m always engaging & chatting with everyone to keep the positive energy going There’s nothing more awkward than having a photographer put a camera in your face & say… nothing. Silence can make people look & feel very uncomfortable!

10 Tips to help you feel confident & relaxed during your photoshoot

1. Acknowledge that you’re feeling nervous

It’s completely normal to feel anxious - if you don’t like being in the spotlight, having your portrait taken can feel like a very vulnerable experience! If you have questions or concerns, always be upfront with your photographer ahead of time about any worries that you may have. We all have insecurities about different things - our smiles, our arms, our skin, our hair, etc. Your Photographer is there to guide you into flattering poses, & they may also be able to implement photoshop techniques on your images after your shoot to help minimize anything about your appearance that makes you feel uncomfortable. 

2. Breathe In, Breathe Out

It’s very common for people to respond to stress by breathing more quickly & less deeply - often without even realizing it. Some deep, long, slow breaths will really help your body to feel calmer! Remember to communicate with your photographer, too. If you’re in a situation where you’re not feeling great in a certain pose, speak up. If you’re uncomfortable in a pose, it will definitely show on your face & in your body language. 

3. Try Not To worry about perfection

Most people feel nervous about being on camera because they want to appear perfect. Do your best not to pressure yourself too much - if you’re trying too hard to look “perfect” in every shot, your photos can come off looking stiff or too posed. Try not to worry about perfection - no one can be flawless in every shot! Even the best professional models have off days, an awkward shot here & there, & will sometimes try out poses & facial expressions that may not work out so well - & that’s ok! No one is perfect 100% of the time.

4. Drink water, move around, & stretch in between shots

Movement can be a really helpful & effective way to calm your tense nerves! I am always giving my clients active poses (walking, moving their arms around, engaging with props, etc.) to do so that they feel less awkward & more at ease. Staying hydrated & stretching your body in-between sets of shots can really help to relax you as well.

5. Focus on Relaxing Your Muscles

People hold tension in all different areas of their face & body without even realizing they’re doing it - in their foreheads, in their lips, in their necks - tension in these areas will make you look worried, stiff, uncomfortable, unnatural, & will not give you a relaxed, open expression. I am always guiding my clients to “shake it out & relax” & to give their bodies & faces a break from smiling.

6. Be Prepared

Make sure you’ve got everything together in advance - the clothes you’re planning to wear are cleaned/ironed, you’ve packed up any props you’re planning to bring, etc. Waiting to prep yourself for the shoot at the last minute will make you nervous - & no one wants to show up to a shoot feeling anxious & frazzled. Try to get a full night sleep before a shoot, & it goes without saying to eat some snacks & drink plenty of water beforehand too! The more comfortable & rested your body is, the more comfortable & rested you will be. 

7. Do your homework

It may feel silly, but it can be really helpful to practice a little bit of posing in the mirror ahead of time. Experiment, move around - standing in front of a mirror & taking some time to see what angles you prefer on your body is really beneficial. Obviously it's my job as a photographer to guide you into poses, but it will help you to feel more confident if you already have an idea of how you like to look!

8. Give Yourself a Pep Talk

Remember - this is supposed to be fun! Your photographs are going to be such a gift - either to yourself, your family, or to your business. You should feel so proud that you’re putting yourself out there & sharing your amazing talents and knowledge with the world!

9. The Camera is Your friend - not your enemy

This is your photoshoot mantra. I am always reminding people not to shrink away from the camera. It’s a subtle bit of body language, but people often tend to lean back from the photographer & the camera in order to subconsciously protect their personal space. It’s ok to learn forwards & share that personal space a bit during your shoot - the camera is your friend, not your enemy! When people shrink away from the camera & lean back too much, it can create a slumped look, a double chin, etc. Don’t be afraid to lean forward towards the camera just the tiniest bit - this will really help to make you look more engaged & friendly in your portraits!

10. Your Photographer is here to help

Think of your Photographer as your friend & ally during this entire process! We are here to help you laugh, relax, & it’s our job to guide you into different poses so that we can capture your best & most flattering angles. We want you to succeed!

What Helps you relax before a photoshoot?

Share your own confidence tips & tricks in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you!

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Bend Oregon Portrait Photographer Miranda Kelton Photography

Meet miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.