6 Tips to Relax in Front of the Camera (& even have FUN!)

Did you know that you can learn to be completely comfortable in front of the camera…and even have FUN?

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The anticipation of a photo shoot can be nerve-racking and having a camera in your face can be immensely intimidating. Trust me, I know (and it's completely natural to feel that way)!

When it comes to the result of the final images, your comfort level during a photo session is a key factor to taking great photos.

There is nothing more frustrating than investing in something you need — and then to be disappointed in the outcome.

  • Do you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera?

  • Don’t know how to express yourself?

  • Have trouble relaxing, posing and knowing where to put your hands?

  • Perhaps self-conscious about how you look? 

Believe me, I get you! 

“Yeah right, you? MC, uncomfortable in from of the camera?”

Yes! Me! Hah. Once upon a time.. I was a shy soul in front of the camera. Honestly, I still am sometimes — depending on who is photographing me.

It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to just relax and go with it, is when I truly felt the most natural and authentically expressive.

Photo shoots are meant to be fun. And now, for me, whether in front of or behind the camera, they are always a collaborative + enjoyable experience.

Some of the best shots I’ve taken had minimal planning where I grabbed some clothes + accessories, quick makeup.. and bed head for hair!  (not to mention a pizza and wine diet.) Lol. 

How we show up in pictures has to do with how we are feeling inside more than how we ‘think’ we look on the outside

If it wasn’t for years of simply ‘playing’ and doing photo shoots ‘for fun’ with my sister or friends, I would probably still be camera shy. I forced myself to get in front of the camera. Sure, I needed my own updated portraits, but I also wanted to come from a place of sheer understanding of what it was like to be on the other side of the lens. 


I want you to feel super comfortable during a shoot and be wowed with the end result of how your pictures turn out! 

Here are 6 tips to help you relax with ease during your next photo session.

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Worrying about how nervous you are isn’t going to do any good except make you look like a stiff board in front of the camera.

What matters most is how you feel. 

Tune into your heart — become present in your body and in the moment.

Connect directly with your photographer. Build rapport. Learn each others names. Ask questions. Be Personable. 

Sometimes we have the opportunity to choose our photographers, other times they are chosen for us depending on the project. If your photographer isn’t communicating with you, feel free to take it upon yourself to communicate with them.  


Do you often find yourself holding your breath? I know I do! 

Now that you’ve met your photographer, let’s get started by taking a few deep breathes and centering ourselves. 

Breath in through your nose and SIGH out through your mouth. 

Continue to loosen up by rolling your shoulders up and back, move your head side to side, and then…shake it all out! 

Should you start to freeze or tense up, reset and repeat this process. Maybe even spin around in a circle.


If you feel stuck or stiff, start walking, spin in a circle, jump up and down — do whatever you need to do to get energy moving.

When being photographed, if it’s anything other than a straight on head shot for your linked in profile or a specific connection shot you need to engage your audience, you don’t need to always need to be looking directly into the camera. 

Look away (into the distance)

Look down to your side (like someone just gave you a flattering compliment)

Engage with something tangible (a notepad, computer, coffee cup — you get the idea)

And MOVE your body around. 

Use a prop to lean against, sit on or rest your hands and arms upon. Walls, posts, a counter, bench, steps, table…anything that can be of support for you to ‘collaborate’ with will work! 

Lifestyle photography is free flow. It’s purpose it to tell a story, to showcase your life and your unique style — which encompasses your environment and personality. The important thing to keep in mind is to be yourselfYour authentic nature will shine through and reflect the real you! 

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What type of feeling or emotion or energy are you wanting to convey in your images? Is it trust? Bliss? Welcoming? Intimidating? Motivating?  

Whatever it is, thinking about something that makes you feel that way. Whether you are directly looking into the camera or off into the distance — go to that place where you feel what it’s like to be, do or have what it is you most want to accomplish or experience. Go there. 


If opportunity permits, bring a friend with you. Having someone else around can help loosen up the thought that all the attention is on you! Now, while it is all on you, your attention isn’t all on you anymore. When there are people in the background, cracking jokes, making faces or lending cues, it makes everything more fun, at ease and relaxed.  

Photo shoots are about collaboration and the energy that is on set. 

Everyone involved is helping to contribute to the final outcome — from both yours and the photographer’s way of being, the crew, assistant, colleagues or friends — to the environment you are in.. even if it’s in a studio setting with a plain ‘ol backdrop. 

6. Have FUN! 

Let’s stop taking everything so seriously, shall we? 

Smiles and laughter look good on anyone and everyone

If you are going for a more serious look, that’s great. But by getting some laughter going, your experience will be a good one, no doubt! 


If you want to feel super comfortable during a shoot, show up beautifully in your pictures and never have to worry about being uptight or looking awkward in your photos again book a 20-minute complimentary Rock out Your Next Photo Shoot Session Call with me so that I can give you a simple process to relax on camera, own your power and take some of the most beautiful pictures ever! 

Be wowed with the end result of how your pictures turn out! 

Let’s Play!

Mary Carol

Servicing The Greater Chicago Area, Naples, Florida, San Diego, California &…The Universe. ;)