How to Photograph People Who Don’t Like Being Photographed

If you’ve ever tried to find people to photograph, you know how difficult it sometimes is to get them to participate. It’s a fact that some people don’t like to be photographed. I always wondered why and if there was anything I could do about it. To attempt to answer this question we first have to understand the reasons behind some people’s aversion to being captured on camera. I did some research and here are my findings. There are a number of reasons why some people are reluctant to have their photos taken, but they all come down to these two:

1. PRIVACY.

Having your photo taken is a very private thing. It’s something you probably don’t want out of your control. Some people are leery about being photographed because they don’t know where the photos might end up and who will see them. What with the Internet and all.

2. INSECURITIES AND FLAWED EXPECTATIONS.

For the same reason people cringe when they hear a recording of their own voice, they might be taken aback by seeing themselves on photos, because their self image is based entirely on what they see in the mirror.

Some people are self-conscious about the way they look and don’t want to have their flaws (oftentimes imaginable) immortalized in photos. Others feel uncomfortable to have their photos taken simply because they don’t like being in the spotlight like this.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?

Anyone can take a photo, but not everyone can make people feel at ease in front of the camera. This is a very important skill to master if you want to make a potentially unpleasant experience enjoyable for your clients. Here’s my two cents on how to do that:

1. BUILD A RAPPORT.

Your job as a photographer is to establish trust, get your clients to relax and have fun. Think about a few things to do or say to put them at ease. Initiate a conversation and find something in common with them even before you pick up the camera and start shooting. Be genuine in showing interest.

2. PHOTOGRAPH PEOPLE IN A FAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT.

If getting their photos taken is stressful enough on its own then doing it in an unfamiliar environment is even more so. Having a shoot at their home or a location they feel comfortable at can put them at ease and help you capture their personality.

3. BE ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTIVE.

Reassure your clients that you are not in this business to make people look ugly, quite the opposite actually. Be encouraging about how well the shoot is going. Compliment them and let them know they are doing a great job. Show them some of the best images on the back of your camera if you need to.

If you can do this – beautiful photos will follow.

And since no one was willing to be photographed for this post, here’s a photo of some snowdrops. I have to say they were very cooperative and practically asked me to take their photo.

vera-pavlova-photography-sneeuwklokje

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