We’ve all been there: the butterflies in the stomach, the anxiety, desperately hoping to remember everything you want to do… Preparing for a photo session can be nerve wracking! And to be honest, even after photographing hundreds of sessions, I still get butterflies before heading into a shoot. But I also have a few ways that I have learned over time to reduce those photo session jitters, and I think they will help you, too!

photo session jitters


Being prepared for your session is an obvious must, so much so that we have an entire tutorial on it right here! So whether it’s creating a pre-session packing checklist, or a certain prep routine, ensuring that you are prepared ahead of time allows you to focus on the session and on your clients, instead of worrying about making sure you have what you need.

Knowing that you are prepared is only half the battle. As a photographer, it is also your job to prepare your clients! One of the best ways to reduce your own nerves before a session is being confident that your clients are prepared and ready for their time with you. When your clients know what to expect, what to bring, and any other details, you are much less likely to have any mishaps before, during or after your session. Not only does this relieve you from un-due anxiety, but it gives them the stress-free experience they are looking for, too!

Have a Posing Flow

Sometimes the nerves we have before a session are because of everything we are trying to remember at once. One of the best ways to relieve that stress is to have a go-to posing flow for your sessions. A good posing flow helps your sessions to run like a well-oiled machine, where each part of the photo shoot feels like second nature. Instead of scrambling trying to remember what poses and photos you wanted to get, following the same general flow during each session will make the order of your sessions feel routine, freeing you to think instead about capturing the right moments and expressions from your clients.

Worried about Posing? We can help!
Click here for our Family Posing Guide
Click here for our Couple Posing Guide

Practice Giving Direction

One of the most common anxieties we hear about is giving direction to clients during the session.

“I just don’t know what to say!”
“I told them how to stand, but it was just awkward.”
“I’m an introvert, so connecting with my clients is hard for me.”
“I have no idea how to communicate what I want them to do or how to get the look I want!”
“I feel so uncomfortable taking the lead.”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

The one thing I tell people when they say they are feeling uncomfortable or unnatural communicating with their clients is this: PRACTICE.

Practice on your friends, practice on your spouse, practice in the bathroom mirror if you have to. Just like anything else, the things that we aren’t familiar or comfortable with can only be improved with practice.

The reality is, none of us want to stumble our way through hundreds of clients before we finally get it right. So, practice behind the scenes wherever you can! If you’re tired of fumbling through giving instruction, grab a friend and role play! Practice giving them posing instruction, and look for two things:

  1. Is your instruction clear, and are they able to follow your directions with ease? If they aren’t clear on what you’re asking, then you know you need to find another way to give that instruction.
  2. Do you sound and feel confident and assured while directing them? If not, keep practicing until giving instruction feels more natural and relaxed. Remember, your clients are counting on you to guide them as the professional.

The quality of your instruction and the confidence you feel while giving it will improve the more you do it! With these things in mind you can beat those photo session jitters, and walk into any session ready to do your best work!

If you’re looking for the best way to prepare yourself AND your clients for their session, you won’t want to miss out on our Family Portraits Toolkit! This toolkit features our Family Portraits Quick Reference Guide, our Workflow Checklist and even Session Scripts to ensure you know exactly what to say and how to give instruction at your sessions! We’ve even added a bonus that includes our Client Welcome Guide to ensure your clients are prepared, dressed well and excited for their session! Click here to learn more!

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