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Updated: Oct 11, 2022

One of the most common things I hear from people before a family photo session is that they feel awkward in front of a camera. Sometimes it seems almost like a disclosure people offer right away as though they need to make sure to clear that up. I completely get it! If this is you, guess what? You are not alone! Many people put off family photos for various reasons, they may not like their hair, they want to wait until they lose a few pounds, health issues, schedules, etc. While these may feel like valid and understandable reasons, the unfortunate reality is, life keeps moving forward and sometimes these factors may never change and they miss out on capturing their family growth.


Almost everyone who is not a model, actor, performer, or news anchor, feels uncomfortable in front of a camera for one reason or the other. Feeling awkward when having your photo taken is completely normal, but don't let that prevent you from taking professional family photos or even individual portraits. I want to encourage you to be proud of who you are, be proud to document your life as it is now. Family growth is so important to document because families change and grow so fast. This article will hopefully help you to relax and plan your next session with confidence!


Aside from the reasons mentioned above, I think there are a few other reasons most of us are not comfortable in front of a camera. One reason is simply just not knowing what to expect; Fear of the unknown. A lot of people envision a portrait session and think they are supposed to know everything; how to pose, how to walk, how to smile, and what to do while being photographed etc. Being photographed can make people feel vulnerable which can naturally bring some anxiety. So how do you become more comfortable for your family portrait session? Here are some pointers to help you!


The best way to build confidence and feel comfortable for your session is to communicate with your photographer. This can be via phone conversations, emails, or in person. Your photographer should be open to answering any questions, discussing all aspects of your session, addressing any concerns you have and putting you at ease. This can be before your session date, on your session date or both. I always like to communicate with my clients in advance to address anything they need and make sure they know what to expect, but I also enjoy talking with my clients on the session date before even setting up my gear. Getting to know people a little bit and discussing their interests, family, hobbies, careers etc., helps break the ice and helps put people at ease. For families with kids, it is especially important to build a rapport. If kids see you getting along with the photographer, they will relax and trust the photographer much more quickly, this can make the session go much more smoothly.


Maybe you have a feature you are not fond of, or just prefer one angle over another. If so, don't be afraid to bring this up! I will sometimes ask people directly if they have a preferred side. I don't say "good side" because this infers that they have a bad side, but many people prefer being photographed from one side or angle.

Some people feel uncomfortable bringing it up, and they might even be relieved when asked. We may not be able to address every issue, but knowing these details helps ensure the best possible outcome. If it can't be addressed on site, perhaps it can be addressed in post processing. But if you never mention it, your photographer will never know. This is all part of getting to know people. I never rush my sessions and sometimes, I go over the allotted time, but I believe in making sure my clients are happy and feel as comfortable as possible!


For your portraits session, just be yourself. You want your family photos to be a true representation of you and/or your family. As a photographer, I am always assessing family dynamics, personalities, and how families interact with each other. It's my job to play into these factors and not try to force something that isn't there. Your session should be fun and relaxing. Yes, I may need to reel you in a bit for a shot or two, but if your photographer is stuffy, controlling and not attentive to personalities, it will show in the photos. If your family comes up with a unique pose, or decides to pose in some funny, creative or goofy way, that is what we will do! That tells me they are comfortable enough to get silly and that can lead to some of the coolest images! It may not be their printed canvass photo, but it may end up being one of their favorites because it captured them being themselves and having fun! Sometimes clients come up with the best poses, so I make sure to keep an open mind to their suggestions.


Having fun during your portraits session is the most important thing to remember! Look forward to enjoying your session instead of worrying about it. Trust that your photographer is in the driver's seat and his/her goal is to make you shine! A portrait session should never be stuffy, dry, or boring. Your photographer should be able to control the session enough to get the right lighting, posing and desired look while still making sure the session is fun. If you are having fun, chances are it will show in all of your photos. Conversely, if you are absolutely uncomfortable, unhappy and bored, this too will show in your family photos.


If you are in the Mooresville / Lake Norman Area and are planning a family photo session, maternity session, couples portrait, senior portrait session or any other session, feel free to contact me at with any questions. You can also download a free portrait session guide which will help you prepare for your next session. If you would like to book a session contact me anytime!

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