How to get authentic posing. Candid posing. Couple doing air guitar

May 18, 2022

Why your posing is awkward: authentic posing

For Photographers

News flash…we’re talking about the back end work candid and authentic posing here, ahh!

Calling all photographers who have been wracking their brains TRYING to get their photos to look natural, fun, candid, authentic ALL the things! Trying to nail that authentic posing? This one is for you!

how to improve in authentic posing and get candid photos. black male smiling wearing a fedora
Hey! I’m Ivan! Midwest & Travel Wedding Photographer | Photography Educator

So let me guess. You’ve probably fallen into this camp before, huh? 

  1. When you see your client’s photos, all you can think about is how awkward it was trying to get them to be natural on camera with no success.
  2. Or the session felt great, but then you edit the photos and you’re like WUT, these seem so “stiff” or “unnatural”. 
  3. Even worse the client mentions that this is not comfortable for them and they’re not enjoying the process.

Okay so first things first, let’s address the BIGGEST thing to know before we move forward: you’re not alone.

We have all been there, and it’s a-okay. You have and will continue to serve your clients to the best of your ability. And now we’re going to continue growing that way your client’s interactions on camera become less awkward!

Our goal here is to find out why you may not be feeling like you’ve achieved the candid look you’ve been wanting and see what we can do to get your authentic posing down!

So with that, let’s address why your posing feels awkward. It could be for many reasons, but I am going to tell you the main thing that could be hurting your process.

Your posing likely is awkward because they’re not comfortable or truly themselves in front of cameras. 

Okay whoa. Simple answer right? You’ve heard it before, yes? 

Well here’s what you may have not thought of: your goal as a photographer is partly to ensure your client forgets they’re in front of a camera, so they show up as themselves. 

Yes, that’s even if they’re looking for the editorial or super formal cinderella vibe. 

The problem is that we’re taught by society that cameras are for saying cheese and posing. And most people feel all of their insecurities spring up when they realize this. 

So, if we don’t address this issue right away, it will bleed into every other issue there is. 

Let’s talk about how to fix this problem in ways that aren’t rooted in telling them to “be natural”.

How to fix this:

1. Understand exactly how they envision their photos and photography experience BEFORE you touch the camera. 

This means in your inquiry/client experience you need to learn things like:

How do you envision your photos?

Raw, emotional?

High energy?


If you don’t know this information in-depth, you’re going in blind on how to lead the session in a space they already don’t feel comfortable in! 

Additionally, by emphasizing this in the client experience, you’re showing your client they can trust you with the process, which in turn will allow them to be more comfortable with you.  

2. Follow their lead

If they want to do interpretive dancing or keep things super slow and have a deep talk (I’ve had both, lol), then DO that. 

Always start them in a position of a prompt, pose, or scenario that gets them comfortable, THEN if you have ideas on how to create the space for photos you think would speak to them, then go for it!

3. Continuously affirm them

Remember that point we hit earlier about them being taught by society to cheese or pose for photos? 

Well, even after they’re comfortable, they may still be in this mindset. So, by continuously affirming that they’re doing a good job executing the direction you’re giving them, they will continue to open up…And you will for sure catch it on camera. 

4. Play music

Yup. Read that again, then come back, ha! I can’t tell you how many photographers I’ve seen who don’t play any tunes while they shoot. I have never had a client not enjoy having music; it immediately cuts down nervousness. Music completely distracts people from their goal of trying to pose or look cute on camera. 

Go to best buy and pick up a portable speaker ASAP. Try it on your next session, you’ll be amazed!

Now that we’ve covered all this information, I’ve got to say that we never leave without action points here, so here’s the number one thing you can do TODAY to help make sure that posing isn’t awkward.

Option 1:

Write out your process for booking your clients from start to finish, and highlight areas you are doing #1 (Understand exactly how they envision their photos and photography experience BEFORE you touch the camera.)

Once you know where you’re blind spots are, add new processes or questions to ask in order to understand what they want better. 

Option 2:

Create a client questionnaire that goes into detail about the type of photos they see themselves in, the experience, etc, and study study study! (Leave me a message if you’d like a template of questions to ask!).

I hope this is helpful, leave any questions you have on authentic posing below, and let’s keep the conversation going! 

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