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“I hate having my photo taken”.

It’s one of the most common things every portrait photographer hears, myself included. The reality is that a lot of people do not enjoy having a camera thrust in their face and made to review close-ups of themselves.

It’s our job as photographers to help you combat the nerves and, crucially, enjoy the shoot.

So how do you overcome camera shyness? What is the best way to deal with the nerves?

Here are a few things to help you through.

Remember: you’re not alone

I can assure you that being camera shy is perfectly normal! You might feel like the only person with such nerves but I promise you it is very common. Remind yourself of that and acknowledge that there are some very simple and practical things you can do to help.

Take some time to prepare

Don’t turn up on the day unprepared and hoping for the best. I provide my clients with a tips-sheet to help them prepare for a shoot, from advice on what to wear to when to cut your hair. I also write (lots of!) posts on the subject. It sounds cliched but invest a little time in preparing and you will find it will help.

Try some positive self-affirmation

No matter what you might think, there will be a photograph of yourself that you do like or consider to be “not bad”. Look at these images and find something positive about them. Compliment yourself on how you look. Say it out loud or write it down. Have these photos on your phone to give you a confidence boost before and during the shoot.


Talk and listen. Tell the photographer that you are nervous and why. Is there a particular angle you don’t want to be shot from? Have you had a less-than-positive experience in the past? And listen to the advice from your photographer. Engage with them and remember that above all else both parties want to walk away with a successful shoot.

Make yourself comfortable

Now this means different things to different people. It could be what you choose to wear. Or how you do your make-up. Maybe you want to listen to music to help you relax. Or having a drink (non-alcoholic!) on hand. If you are unsure if your request can be accommodated then speak to your photographer beforehand.

You can only be yourself

At the end of the day all you can be is yourself so don’t try to combat the nerves by forcibly altering your personality for the occasion. The more relaxed you are the more natural you will feel. The result will be a sincere, genuine portrait of your true self.

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