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:

Reduce Awkwardness

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

People of any age love to fidget when the camera’s turned on them, you can help reduce this by giving their hands something to do. Ask them to count the change in their pockets, tie their shoes, re-tie their tie, anything that will keep them from fidgeting. If all else fails you can ask them to cross their arms loosely in front of their chest for that “I don’t give a damn” look.Provide a Starting PointNothing’s worse than having someone point a camera at you and tell you what to do (which you’ve probably learned through some difficult kids portrait photography sessions) so take the lead and show them what you’re thinking of for the shot. Let them know that they can always adjust their pose if it feels more comfortable, as long as it still looks good in camera.Keep Talking

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!

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