Feel Awkward In Photos? Try These 7 Tricks.

You’re at a photo shoot and acting completely normal. That is, until –

The photographer points her camera at you and instantly, your brain turns to mush.

Your previously useful arms become the most awkward appendages in the world, and as you stare down that dark barrel of doom, you wonder if you’ll ever smile naturally again.

Anyone relate?

I sure do – and I’m a photographer! (Why do you think I prefer taking photos?).

Today I’m letting you in on 7 tricks to help you loosen up in front of the camera and have a good time instead of just worrying about how you look. Are you ready to transform from awkward amateur to boss babe?!

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1. Bring Music

Bring your speaker to the photo shoot and let your favourite tunes bop you into your happiest, most confident place.

Ideally, bring your own playlist or have a Spotify playlist that you can ask the photographer to play since she/he doesn’t know your music taste.

Pick songs that make you feel super confident – maybe the songs that you play when you’re pumping yourself up for a run, or the tunes you do your makeup to before you go out.

If you’re a doing a couple’s photo shoot – try playing songs that are special to your relationship.

If you have a wedding dance you’re working on, bring that music and you can practice the dance – which always makes for some really cute photos.

See this tip in action:
Rachael’s First Modelling Shoot: We had R&B tunes pumping, and she channeled it.

2. Start With Big Movements

Your body will feel looser (and less awkward) if you’re moving it. You might even want to do a little pre-shoot stretching or bouncing around to mentally prepare and energise yourself for the photo shoot. 

During the photo shoot, you may want to run or walk around the location a little to get more comfortable. Your photographer will also be help guide you through this.

Couples can get cute photos running together holding hands, doing a silly dance, twirls or even cartwheels (if you can).

Anything that loosens you up, gets you more in touch with your inner child and makes you feel a bit more playful is going to bring out your best, most natural self in the photos.

You’ll also be doing your photographer a big favour by moving – it helps us get a variety of photos effortlessly!

See this tip in action:
Jamie & Jeff’s Prewedding Shoot: Barefoot dancing in long grass to their wedding song. All the feels.

3. Look Like Yourself

That might sound obvious, but hear me out –

From your clothes to your makeup, your photos will be so much more effortless if you feel great about how you look. For some people, this means dressing up and doing your favourite makeup look – but for others, you might feel more comfortable in something casual.

Women will often do their test makeup for a prewedding shoot – which is a great use of timing, but they often comment that they don’t feel like themselves! Without diving into a whole other topic, it’s worth making sure that the makeup you have won’t leave you feeling self-conscious all day – whether that’s for your prewedding shoot or your wedding day.

Prewedding photos are a great way of seeing how your makeup is going to look in your wedding photos, too!

Think about your location when you choose your outfit for photos. Would a tux suit a flower-picking date? Maybe not. Try to wear what you would usually wear for that occasion – but elevate it a little.

Here are a few of my simplest outfit recommendations:

  • Avoid crazy patterns and short-term trends. Think about looking at these photos 10 years from now, or 50 years! Will you cringe?
  • White looks beautiful in nature, especially a forest or park. Red pops and is great for most locations. Solid colours are your best friend.
  • I always recommend bringing one outfit change to photo shoots.

Don’t forget to wear makeup and clothes that feel like ‘you’ – when you look back, you’ll want to see yourself in those photos – not someone you’re pretending to be!

See this tip in action:
Lailla’s “Spirit Child” Shoot: Lailla dressed exactly like herself for this shoot, and her personality shines through in the photos.

4. Have A Purpose

Like anything in life, having a clear purpose helps guide you.

It will also make the shoot feel less about you and more about the concept. And thinking less about yourself ultimately means less awkwardness for the photos.

Why are you doing a photo shoot?

Is it for fun? Then make sure it’s fun.

Is it for your business? Then think about what colours and themes will suit your business best, and where you want these photos to end up.

Is it for your social media? Then think about what you’re trying to tell people with your photos, or who else’s photos you admire.

Is it for LinkedIn, Tinder, your Mum, a modelling portfolio…? You get where I’m going here.

Once you KNOW your purpose for the photo shoot, make sure you SHARE IT with your photographer!

If my website has led you to believe I hate Pinterest, hold onto your hat.

Pinterest is your BEST FRIEND, and mine. It’s the key to communicating your ideas with your photographer in a visual way (aka – our way).

Let me be clear – you’re not on Pinterest to copy photos. BUT. If you can resist the urge to do that, it’s a great place to gather your thoughts in a way that visually minded photographers can understand. Pin away!

See this tip in action:
My Pinterest is full of ideas for shoot themes and photo inspiration.

5. Use Continuous Micromovements

Have you ever seen a professional model do a photoshoot? If you haven’t, you should search it on YouTube – it’s pretty darn cool.

You’ll notice that professional models never. Stop. Moving. For more than a second or two. They’re continuously moving through small variations of each pose, and their photographer catches every shot.

If you do lots of things, one of the things is bound to look good – right?

You might feel silly, but photographers love this – just keep moving through small variations of each pose. Try moving your hand, playing with your hair or turning your head.

It’s simple, but it gives the photographer a lot more to work with than having to pose every small detail. Be a bit more fluid, and if something looks good, your photographer will tell you to go back to it – and that way you’ll know what’s working!  

You can always practice in front of a mirror if you’re worried about doing something silly.

See this tip in action:
To see what I mean (but NOT what any photographer expects from you!), watch this YouTube video. notice that the model doesn’t do big movements – just lots of tiny ones.

6. Bring Props

If you feel awkward looking at the camera – bring distractions!

Try to choose props that tell a story about you or support your photo shoot theme. And don’t be afraid to ask your photographer if they have props you can use!

Here are a few of my favourite photo shoot props:

  • Your pet. Especially if it’s a dog.
  • Do you like sports? Bring your surfboard, bike, or even a ball to throw.
  • Make a date of it and bring a picnic blanket and some snacks.
  • Drive your favourite car/van/motorbike over!
  • Smaller outfit props like sunglasses, scarves, hats and jackets.

Whatever you choose – props give you something to do and think about instead of photo shoot, and they add more depth to the story you’re telling.

See this tip in action:
Jah’s Surfer Shoot: The surfboard played a key role in this shoot – just as it does in Jah’s life!

7. Get To Know Your Photographer

Photos are way less scary when you know then person behind the camera.

Jump on the phone and talk to your photographer before your photo shoot. Read their blog or their website ‘about’ page. Whatever it takes to turn them into a human that you can relate to!

By creating a connection between you and your photographer, you’re breaking down any feelings of judgement or insecurity.

See this tip in action:
My About Page and blog are full of insights into my personality that will make me instantly less intimidating.


Use these tricks and tools (as well as you dog props) to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Most importantly, enjoy it. Show up, be 100% in and as present as you can be. If you’re having fun, it will show – and that’s the best thing you can do for your photos.