Oh lordy. I had my own portrait done last week by Natalia Smirnova. I was beyond awkward for me. I have all the same issues most of us have with having our photo taken. Isn't amazing that I have all these tips for my clients, but they just *DISAPPEAR* from my head suddenly when I'm on the other side of the camera!
In the beginning, my mind was racing with "should I smile?, should I look there?, how's my hair, should I lean in, should I look away, should I dance on my toes?" Then I stopped...took a break (changed shirts) and thought about what I would do on the other side of the camera. I TALK. I talk the whole time to my clients. We talk about all kinds of random things that have nothing to do with the photo session. We talk about their children, the current video games they are playing, their favorite tv shows, their travel plans, etc. Talking is KEY to my ability to get my clients to relax. So when I changed shirts - I took a deep breath and decided that I would just talk to Natalia and smile in between the fun things we chatted about.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we are getting our portraits taken. It's NOT surgery. It's not dangerous to simply take a bad photo that gets deleted later by the photographer. And honestly, if I as the photographer liked a photo of you and you actually don't like something about it and choose not to show it off...you will NOT hurt my feelings whatsoever. We all have opinions about ourselves. Put forth the ones you like best.
I sincerely wish for my clients to feel relaxed and comfortable in front of my camera. I do my very best to only show photographs of you where your personality and joy shines outwardly.