If you are one of those people who feel mighty uncomfortable in front of a lens and you’ve not had the opportunity to work with a professional, I wanted to share a few ‘rules of thumb’ and tips to help, that you can take away and actively put into practice.
First of all, I firmly believe that the responsibility lies with the photographer to capture a good shot of someone – not that of the people being photographed. Everyone without exception can take a good photograph, no arguments – and if you are working with a professional, they should have the knowledge to guide you all the way through it.
There are exceptions to the rules and as a professional photographer, I work with the individual and capture what is right for them, as we are all different.
However in a ‘non’ professional situation, you have more control that you may imagine, because it’s unlikely there will be any guidance of where and how to be, whether you are seated, standing, on your own, or in a group. It’s also very doubtful you will be given an indication when the image is about to be taken.
1 – When standing full on, or square to the camera, this is your widest angle and gives little opportunity to show your personality. If you stand sideways onto the camera, it’s going to look quite awkward turning your head so far to look at the camera and also shows all your outlines. 45 degrees towards the camera is your best angle and streamlines everything.
2 – Stand comfortably, either equal weight on each leg, or, place your weight on your back leg and allow your other leg to casually point forward. Hands can either be gently clasped in front of you, or behind.
3 – Angles to the camera are good – we’ve already mentioned in Tip1, but SMALL tilts of the head also help. The camera is at a more flattering angle if a little above you and less flattering if below you.
4 – All the above also applies to being seated in front of the camera.
5 – If you find yourself in a group, say at a party, wedding or family gathering, apply the above tips, focus on the fun of the event, allow a smile to come to your face and resist the urge to chatter. Watch the camera and wait until they have taken the image and put the camera away.