While I realize we are primarily a kids’ photography blog, the fact is that as a photographer you can choose your focus all you want (i.e. kids’ portrait photography), but you’ll still be asked or you’ll feel the need to photograph other types of subject, including adults. So with that in mind consider these tips the next time you have a “big kid” in front of the camera:
What is it about grownups that makes them so awkward in front of a camera? Seriously, relax a little. When you’re faces with a tense subject you’ll need to break out your best people skills to help them relax and act naturally. Fortunately, a lot of the skills you have already developed for kids photography will come in handy here, such as asking questions, getting them talking about something they love, or just letting them interact with the setting (picking up a book, arranging flowers in a vase, etc.).
Busy Hands are Good
You want to keep your subject engaged in a positive way, so keep up a running commentary. Start with their wardrobe – what do you like about it? As you work through the shots, tell them what looks good – the pose, the smile, the eyes, how about the light?
The more you positively reaffirm your subject, the more relaxed they will become. Think of any new thing (or old thing) that you’ve done; did you feel better when someone told you that you were doing it right? Exactly.
Like any type of portrait photography, you want to take lots of photos and experiment with up close versus half- or full-body shots. No matter how difficult your subject is, by the end you should have them relaxed with these tips and get some great photos!