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Tips for helping people feel comfortable at photo sessions

This is a post for the budding photographer, but it’s also for anyone who has their pictures taken to keep in mind. This post was originally shared at the New York Institute of Photography, and I’m bringing it back to my site now which a few edits.

Family Pictures. They happen every year for many families. The mom is stressed about everything from planning the perfect outfit, to their kids behaving, to their husband cooperating, and gets to the session and just needs to RELAX! As the photographer, it’s your job to help them relax. Today, I’m sharing some tips for helping people feel comfortable at photo sessions.

Photography tip: helping people feel comfortable when being photographed

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As a photographer, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is to help my clients feel more comfortable and relaxed. It’s part of my responsibility to encourage them to relax and have fun!

Moms come stressed out, kids are jumping around with excitement, and dads don’t really want to be there.  Here are 5 tips for helping people feel comfortable at their photo session.


  1. Ask get-to-know-you Questions: Most of the time, I don’t meet my clients until I am about to photograph them. To break the ice, I will ask them questions such as what they they did that day, where they might go after pictures, or what fun activities the family has done recently. The more they start talking, the more relaxed they become. It also helps me get to know them better, and I’m no longer crazy stranger camera lady.Family Portraits
  2. Compliment their appearance and behaviors:  Most moms are stressed about what to wear, so it’s nice to let them know they did a good job of getting everyone all ready, and it looks great.  Comment on the colors, hair, even the kids fabulous behavior. These words of affirmation helps them feel more confident which is then depicted in pictures the images. Even saying, “Great smile” as you are shooting, benefits, as they feel more at laughing
  3. Help them get posed: Often times, subjects aren’t sure about hand and foot placement, so I like to give guidance regularly. I’ll point to the ground where I want them to stand, and even move their hands with my hands. Get hands on! I’ll often tell them to put their thumbs in their pockets, as it looks more natural than by their side.  From photographing clients for years, I’ve got it down to a science, what looks good in pictures. Don’t be afraid to boss them around (nicely, of course).train tracks
  4. Chimp a little: Every heard of chimping? It’s taking a look at the LCD screen to see if you got a great shot. I love to show clients little snippets of the session during the session, it gives them an extra boost of confidence and excitement. Who doesn’t love a sneak peek? I can see how great it looks, and how pretty the light is, it’s fun to show of my work a little as I go, and they love it, too.  Seeing those happy grins helps me  have fun, too.mother daughter
  5. Don’t forget the Candids: Most families sign up for family pictures because they have the perfect posed shot in a vision in their head. I like to take a bunch of candid images because, I think people love candid images more than they realize. I’ve got an arsenal of “candid code words” I’ll shout out to to help with those action shots. I send out a questionnaire ahead of time to help understand what would be fun to include in those candid images.

I hope this helps you as a photographer to add to the “bag of tricks” that you might already have. When clients are relaxed, it will show in their images.  Write these tips down, put them on your phone, pull it out at a session. You can always act as if you are changing your lens to give yourself a reminder.

{Another article written for NYIP: 7 Tips for Better Travel Photos}

New York Institute of Photography

Around a Photographers Home

Hello, everyone! I am Amy Lucy Lockheart, a children’s and family photographer from Minneapolis. What a pleasure it is to be able to share some of the ways I display photos around my own home. Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in this wonderful series, Kristen! I am very passionate about photography – it plays a huge role in my personal and professional life. I am the owner of Amy Lucy Photography, an Instructor and Mentor at Clickin Moms, the Product Editor for Click Magazine, and the Programming Coordinator for the Click Away Conference. Needless to say, my life is very full and extremely rich! My favorite subjects to photograph are my own three children, and I love to display some of the art I’ve created with them around our home. My kids feel very special when they see their photos on our walls. I hope each photo is a frequent reminder of how much our children are loved and cherished.

picture collage

As you can see from the collage, I like to display my photos in timeless frames and canvases, but I also love to get creative and use unique materials to display photos. My laundry room includes a display of photos using vintage washboards, there is an old wooden bicycle tire holding photos in my living room, and a hallway has a set of three photos hung by antique flower frogs. I love mixing old and new materials throughout my home, and so it makes sense that I take the same approach with my photo displays.

Please visit my photography blog to see more photos from around my home and read the details on how I created the displays you see here. Keep in touch with me on my Facebook page and see my latest pins on Pinterest.


Thank you, Amy!  So many fun and creative ideas!  I love the wooden bicycle tire and washboard especially!

If you’ve missed any of the posts from the Decorating with Pictures Series, check them out HERE or click on the image below. Every day in February is packed with 2 inspiring posts, each with a giveaway from a fabulous brand! (If you need help taking better pictures, in a few posts, I’m giving away my Say NO to Auto beginner camera Workshop on video AND my books as well!)  Follow along in the series!

Decorating with Pictures Ideas

Today our giveaway is with Clickin Moms.  One very lucky person will receive an amazing prize package including a six-month membership to Clickin Moms (valued at $30), a 1-year subscription to Click Magazine (valued at $15), and one Click Away conference registration (valued at $359). Click Away is taking place in Salt Lake City, September 11- 13, 2014. Giveaway prizes have no cash value and must be redeemed by May 15, 2014.


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Decorating with Pictures at Free Stylin’

Hey y’all! I’m Beth, and my blog is called Free Stylin’. I love talking about “living a stylish life without the expensive pricetag.” Whether it’s home decor, DIY, crafts, or recipes, I love finding ways to make things beautiful without spending a lot. The Hubs and I are parents to three SUPER CUTE boys, and we live in my hometown of Austin, Texas.

I am thrilled to be a part of sweet Kristen’s Decorating with Pictures Series! Don’t you just get tons of great ideas from these awesome posts? They keep my Pinning button busy for sure. So today I’d like to take you on a little tour around the Free Stylin’ house and show you how I’ve incorporated pictures of my family in our decor.

Now, I’m gonna be straight up with you…we don’t have a ton of pics on the walls. In the last 6+ years we have moved a ton for The Hubs’s job. It wasn’t always fun (or allowed) to put up lots of pictures and then have to take them back down. But now things have settled down for us – the moving has changed into business trips instead (whoohoo!). So I am slowly finding ways to incorporate pictures around the house – that don’t have to get taken down unless I want them to! ;)

There is a little area in our home that’s located right when you walk in through the garage. It’s also a part of the kitchen and family room, so people see it ALL.THE.TIME. My cute (and lazy) family liked tossing their stuff right there to get stepped on, tripped over, and eventually lost. So I made a “mudroom” out of a Target bookshelf for them to use to put their crap away. (Read more about it HERE.) Above the bookshelf are pictures of my cute boys and some of The Hubs and me when were their age.

Target Threshold Bookcase

Using inexpensive frames from Ikea, I was able to frame pictures of my boys that were printed from The boys also love looking at pictures of their parents when we were their age, so I grabbed a few to display. They are hung from clear string with two decorative tacks. Each picture is taped to the string. I think it took me maybe 15 minutes at the most to create, and the cost was FREE using things I already had around the house.

Target Threshold Bookcase

One of my favorite pictures is in the family room. My mother-in-law snapped shots of these cute feet on the last day of school. It’s amazing how worn out little shoes get after a year of running around and learning! Below it is a picture of my middle guy’s feet. He was so young at the time – it’s fun to compare how big he is now and how much his baby brother’s feet look like his.

Cute Boy Feet

In our kitchen is my solution to wanting a new kitchen table but not being able to run right out and buy a new one. … Continue Reading

Decorating with Pictures at Simply Designing

Hi Capturing Joy readers!  I am Ashley from Simply Designing and I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in Kristen’s Decorating with Pictures series!  I am an interior designer turned DIY / Craft Blogger.  My passion for interior design grew into a love of creating and one day I decided to start blogging about it!  And I absolutely love it!  I love power tools and my hot glue gun, but my sewing machine slightly scares me.  I love life and find joy in the simple things!  I love my family and friends and I am a firm believer that a good cup of hot chocolate or ice cream cures most things.  I am grateful for all I have every single day.  

We recently created a Gallery Wall with a few very special family photos.  You see, we recently lost our son at 28 weeks, and we miraculously happened to take family photos the day before we lost him.  It was a true miracle and an amazing blessing in our life.  We have the most amazing photos of our family now and I will forever be grateful for them!  So we certainly did not want these photos to go to waste, so we took a huge empty wall we had in our family room and got to DIYing to create an amazing Gallery Wall to show off these priceless photos!

Here is a sneak peek at the wall before and after:

Before and After Gallery Wall To see the full tutorial, come and check out how we put together our Gallery Wall HERE!

You can also find me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, Pintrest and Instagram too.

Thanks so much Kristen for allowing me to be a part of your amazing series!


Thanks, Ashley! Love how you filled that big empty wall with family pictures!

To see past ideas for Decorating with Pictures, click HERE.

Decorating with Pictures Ideas

Today, we’ve got a giveaway from Riley Blake Designs! I simply LOVE their fabrics, I used them for the handmade Quilt and fabric pennant banner for my girls Fancy Room makeover. Today, they are giving away a Fat Quarter Bundle of fabric, Rolie Polie and 10′ Stacker that retails for $110.

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