How to Photograph People Who Are Not Professional Models

The field of photography is dynamic and varied as there are many different types of niches that a photographer could focus their career on. However, no matter the niche a photographer may choose, they will most likely be faced with photographing people who are not professional models.

Unless the photographer is in a niche like editorial photography and strictly works with professionals, a different approach and tricks will need to be applied to a session with regular people to create the same photographic magic.

Photographing regular people with no modelling experience is much different than using a professional model. Models can make a living off of their craft for a reason. They are aware of their bodies and how their movements are reflected in the photo. However, when working with people who have no experience in front of a camera, there will be a high chance that they will not be natural in front of the camera.

Whether you are taking stock photos or are hired to shoot a family gathering, there will be plenty of times where you will find yourself working with people who are not comfortable in from of the camera. However, the goal is to make them feel relaxed in front of the lens.

The following are tips that will help you establish comfort and therefore, create the perfect photograph no matter who is in front of your camera.

  • Build Confidence with Communication

When people feel uncomfortable in front of the camera, their emotions will be visible in the photos. Building your subject’s confidence up when shooting is an essential step to making them feel comfortable. The more comfortable you can make those you are photographing, the better it will translate into the pictures.

Creating open communication by continually talking to your subject will break down any nerves that they may have. You should be talking to them throughout the entire process to make them feel as if they are valuable and have a professional guiding them.

During the shoot, make sure to give words of affirmations. Since your subjects are not used to being photographed, they may have moments when they lose confidence. You do not want that to happen so, telling them that they are doing great or that the pictures look fantastic will help them feel like they are doing something right.

However, do not feel as if you cannot give constructive feedback. Your subjects do not know what poses or movements photographs well so, they will want direction from the photographer and tips to make it better. Giving them feedback that is helpful yet constructive will help lead them and give them confidence.

  • Let them Move

Besides giving your subject confidence throughout the session, it could be beneficial to ask them not to pose. As your subjects are not used to posing and working the camera to make sure they hit the right angles, it’s a good idea to focus on capturing candid movements.

Direct your subject to perform a motion they are familiar with, such as walking, playing with their hair, laughing, or looking back. Another option is to just shoot the subject in live-action. Both options are performed in time, and it is the photographer’s job to capture that split second to get the perfect shot. Overall, you will get an image that will end up looking more natural than having static poses.

  • Use Props

When using poses in photos with nonprofessional models, it could be beneficial to incorporate props into the session. Using props is a good trick to make your subjects feel relaxed because it gives them something to play with.

Try adding any simple props that will look aesthetically pleasing in the picture and will be easy to pose with. Examples of these items could include flowers, a bag, or sunglasses.

However, if you do not want to use an object, you can get the model to use what they have on them as props. They could play with their hair, put their hands in their pockets or direct them in ways to add spark and motion to the scene.  Overall, the goal is to make them feel like they know what to do at all times.

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