5 Tips From Lindsay Adler To Help Your Subject Relax

Getting human subjects to feel comfortable and to emote in front of the camera is always a challenge. We deal with a variety of personalties which can prove hard to manage when you have all the other things such as lighting, camera settings, and composition to think about. Lindsay Adler has put together a list of 5 crucial steps to help get your subject relaxed from her years of experience.

Building comfort with your subject is a critical first step in any photoshoot. More experienced models might be able to build that comfort from within themselves and won't require the photographers input, but when dealing with subjects who are not professional models, creating that atmosphere of comfort will have to come from the photographer. It is something that I have seen many photographers struggle with at my studio and this video from Lindsay Adler really breaks down the basics into a nice 5 point list that can be easily memorized and applied. If you simply practice what she preaches here you will be well on your way to breaking the ice no matter what the situation.

Do any of you have some tips and tricks you have personally found to help your subjects relax?

Peter House's picture

Peter House is a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. He shoots over 10,000 pieces of clothing every year for a variety of lookbooks. Clients range from small local boutiques to international brands such as Target, Winners, and Sears. In addition to that Peter runs one of the most popular rental studio's in the Toronto area.

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Great tips, thanks for sharing! This class (Portrait Photography Bootcamp) is actually broadcasting live for free now at creativelive.com!

To build comfort with my subjects I usually just whip out my wiener and... Oh wait, actually I don't! My name isn't Terry and I'm not a scumbag.

I've learned a thing or two from her but boy she desperately in need of a make over. How can anyone in fashion take her serious with the way she presents her self. She's so tacky I would have no faith in her in ablity based on looks. She must get a lot of work for Amish Vogue.

I fail to see how her wardrobe translates to the types of photos she takes. Most photographers I know, myself included, aren't dressed for a fashion show. I'd be perfectly happy doing the Steve Jobs thing except with a tank top.

Hey, Joseph... That's absolutely not appropriate in these forums. Keep it photography related. ;)

I don't like Adler, I'm not fond of her look and style, I really don't like the way she carry's herself, I think she got waaay too big of a boost of Kelby for her level and type of work. She an average person that has been shooting 1 style of photos in a popular market and pulled it off to a degree. Period.

don't hold back.

Having One Style isn't a bad thing... it helps you establish your brand. You may not be a fan of her brand... but her paying clients are. ;)

I also wouldn't say that she is average... seeing as her credits include Marie Claire. ;)

On another note... It must be extremely difficult to judge people sitting behind a computer screen. Have you ever considered that she also has thoughts and feelings? Would you appreciate someone telling your mother / daughter / sister the same?

Have an open mind and be kind.

Booze. I've met couples for engagement shoots at bars/restaurants as a drink or two tends to help the nerves for first timers.

Justin is known around town as "that guy" :)

before the session we put our car keys in a fish bowl and at the end we go home with whoever's keys you grab!

I'd go with beer!! xD

The quickest and easiest way to make them relax? Give them a cup o' tea or coffee before shoot and tell them what to expect. Most people are nervous because they don't know what's involved, and it gives you an opportunity to figure out what makes them laugh. Getting them to laugh and enjoy the session means you will get great shots. Telling them what's involved and let them interact with what you're doing builds trust.

It's not rocket science. As to avoiding negative terms? That's psych 101, always reinforce positivity that they're doing the right thing it also helps with marketing ;)

that's kind of my way of working and it really pays off, just imagine yourself in the place of the client/person who is going to pose ad never has done it/doesn't know what's happening. Information makes everyone relaxed and built trust for sure.

These are good tips. How I feel about Lindsay Adler personally or professionally really doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the tips.

Good tips, though surprised it wasn't mentioned that aside from praising models, was showing them how they look in camera during the shoot. When they see what things they do look good in camera, they become much more confident- that's why i always tether to a laptop so we both can see how they look from shot to shot (though just showing them shots you like from the back of your camera while you are shooting works just as well). It does wonders for their confidence and posing when they can physically see themselves.

Another huge thing that loosens up a subject is to do more than one shoot/look during a session (i prefer to call the first shoot, the "warm up shoot") Even with people who model a lot, you'll see a dramatic change of comfortableness from the first set over the remaining sets you do after that. (And even more so for amateurs once you go over the photos and show them the ones you really liked- they will drastically improve over the remaining looks you do that day)

These are her tips? Weak and lame.

Have something to better to contribute?


Thanks for sharing. Useful tips for me.