8 tips to help you to relax in front of the camera at your photo shoot

I’m so passionate about capturing natural, expressive photography – but there’s one thing about my job that genuinely makes me sad. It’s the fact that well over 90% of the wonderful people I photograph tell me before our shoot that they hate having their photo taken.

Let that sink in for a minute. These are beautiful, confident, successful women – but posing in front of a camera fills them with dread.

In all honesty, I don’t actually know many people who truly love being in front of the lens. Camera phobia is such a common feeling, and it’s something a huge amount of people experience. 

If you run a business, avoiding having your photo taken can take a toll though. Personal branding photography is an incredible asset to have when it comes to creating genuine connections with your audience. Your followers want to see your face, not just your work. Showing up online is often the most effective way to build trust and convert casual clickers into loyal clients

So… how do you get over that dreaded camera fear? Throughout my many years as a family & branding photographer, I’ve gained lots of valuable insights into how to relax when a camera is snapping away. There are a few sure-fire ways to feel good in front of a camera – and if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be posing like a pro in no time, honestly! 

These tips are aimed towards my branding clients but are also very relevant for the lovely parents I photograph at my family shoots too.

My 8 top tips to relax and feel good in front of the camera


1. FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER 

We’ll start with the most important factor: the photographer. Finding the right branding photographer can make or break your experience. It’s so crucial you find someone you feel comfortable with to ensure you’re in safe, experienced hands for your shoot.

The right photographer should make you feel totally at ease, instantly get your branding, and know how to pose you into plenty of flattering positions. They should also provide you with plenty of information prior to your shoot so you know what to expect. 

If you’re trying to find your photographer soulmate but don’t know where to start, head over to my blog post: How to choose the right branding photographer for your business.

photographer shooting a woman

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION FOR YOUR SHOOT 

Location is key. Some people have a natural affinity for the great outdoors, whereas others feel far more energised by the buzz of corporate city locations. 

Your shoot location is going to be the backdrop for all your photographs, so it’s important it reflects your business and values. It’s more than that, though – your chosen location should convey your personality and make you feel totally at ease.

If the thought of having people watch you being photographed fills you with dread, consider having it from the comfort of your own home. Our homes are our sanctuaries and the places we feel most ourselves, so this could be the key to feeling at ease during your shoot. 

Ask your photographer for shoot location ideas, too. They might know some hidden spots and secret secluded spaces where you won’t feel too exposed!

surrey branding photographer

3. WORK ON YOUR MINDSET 

The mood you’re in on the day will set the tone for the whole photoshoot. If you’re already feeling stressed, on edge and full of negative thoughts, this is a recipe for a really unpleasant experience – and photographs you won’t want to use.

One way to set yourself up to feel positive before your shoot is to do something fun beforehand. What makes you feel good? Even if it’s something small, like treating yourself to a fancy coffee, going for a run or even just blasting an upbeat playlist, make an effort to get yourself feeling positive before your shoot.

If all else fails, just focus on what the photos are for – and not how nervous you feel having them taken. Look ahead to the end result, and how fabulous you’ll feel when your new magazine-worthy photos get you some wonderful new clients.

how to relax at photo shoot

4. USE PROPS 

Feel a bit uncomfortable when posing for photos? Your photographer should be a whizz at giving you plenty of simple, relaxed poses to do – but even then, you might still feel a little awkward. 

One of the best ways to shift any discomfort is to give your hands something to do. Props are a great thing to base poses around, give you something to look at, and take a little of the focus away from you. Great prop options that work for most branding shoots include:

  • Coffee cups or mugs
  • Your phone
  • A laptop
  • A notebook and pen

Your branding photographer will come up with plenty of prop ideas that fit in with your shoot and reflect your business. And yes, your four-legged friend can work perfectly as a prop!

props for personal branding photo shoot

5. KEEP IT MOVING!

A common misconception about photoshoots is that once you strike a pose, you have to awkwardly freeze there while the photographer snaps lots of images.

Don’t worry – this isn’t actually the case.

In fact, movement is encouraged! Moving your body and flowing between natural poses is the best way to create really authentic candid images. Even the most experienced editorial supermodels keep it moving in their shoots, shifting between poses constantly while the photographer works their magic.

Bringing relaxed movement into your body is the perfect way to release all that nervous energy, resulting in vibrant and dynamic photographs.

surrey headshot photographer

6. BRING A FRIEND ALONG 

If you’re feeling really nervous, you don’t have to do it alone. Bring along a trusted friend or loved one to your shoot to make you feel more at ease.

Having someone you know and love at your branding photoshoot brings an element of familiarity, like a comfort blanket. They know what makes you giggle, and can uplift you from behind the lens. 

Bringing a friend can transform what was a daunting experience into a lovely, laughter-filled morning.

personal branding photo shoot

7. REMEMBER TO BREATHE 

This might seem a little obvious, but please remember to breathe! And I don’t mean those little shallow breaths. I mean big, deep, nourishing belly breaths that calm your nerves and slow your heart rate.

Taking short, sharp breaths is a natural reflex we all have when we’re feeling nervous. It instantly brings your shoulders up, increases tension within your body and makes you feel even more uncomfortable. Consciously deepening your breathing, sitting up straight and relaxing your shoulders is a great way to keep nerves at bay and help you feel more confident. 

branding photography

8. LASTLY….ENJOY YOURSELF! 

We’ve focused on some of the negative feelings that can arise when you’re having your photo taken, so I want to end on a positive note. 

Don’t forget to actually have fun! A branding photoshoot is such an enjoyable experience. It’s a little bit of time completely dedicated to you and showcasing how wonderful you are. Beautiful photographs can help increase your confidence, elevate your business and attract your dream clients – what’s not to love about that?

If your photoshoot is full of natural smiles and authentic laughter, this will shine through in the final photographs.

joyful personal branding photography


If you’re ready to take the plunge and get some beautiful branding photographs for your business, I have a blog post full of top tips on how to find the right branding photographer for you.

Want to work with me? There’s nothing I love more than capturing expressive photos for big-hearted entrepreneurs – head over to my brand photography page to find out more. My diary is usually booked out a few months ahead, so please don’t leave it to the last minute!

And check out my family photography in Surrey if you love the thought of some gorgeous photos of you family with you in them too! 

I hope you’ve found this blog post useful. I’d love you to share it with a friend you think might find it useful too.

If you want my free guide with my 8 tips to help you prepare for your personal branding shoot, please enter your details below and you’ll get instant access.

surrey brand photographer

PS. Are you a brand photographer yourself? Great! I have a brilliant online course The Art and Business of Personal Brand Photography. Check out the details here to thrive in this fast-growing genre.

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