Overcoming shyness: Turn your weakness into your biggest portrait photography strength

Feb 29, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Overcoming shyness: Turn your weakness into your biggest portrait photography strength

Feb 29, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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For the shy photographer, portrait photography can seem like a challenge impossible to overcome.  Alex Kilbee of The Photographic Eye faced this challenge himself – but he eventually became an “accidental portrait photographer,” as he describes himself. In his latest video, Alex shares his personal journey of overcoming shyness and the inspiration he found in the work of Jane Bown, a renowned newspaper photographer.

Alex confesses his initial aversion to portrait photography, preferring landscapes and architecture due to his introverted nature. He always associated portrait photographers with larger-than-life personalities, making him feel inadequate. Honestly, I can relate; I feel awkward photographing people, too, unless they’re playing music on stage and I don’t have to direct them.

music concert photography

But even if you’re shy or introverted (it’s not the same), it’s possible to become a fantastic portrait photographer. Alex highlights Jane Bown’s work as a turning point for him. Her simple approach, using natural light and basic equipment, resonated with Alex’s quiet personality. Her focus on authentic human connection, captured through natural conversation and observation, resonated deeply.

Key tips for shy photographers

In his video, Alex reflects on some key points you can rely on if you want to overcome shyness as a portrait photographer.

First, embrace simplicity. Like Jane Bown, keep your setup basic, focus on natural light and simple cameras, and make minimal fuss. Let the subject and their story shine through.

Next, engage your subject in conversation. Ask questions, listen actively, and create a comfortable atmosphere. This fosters connection, leading to you and the subject feeling more relaxed, yielding natural expressions in portraits.

Then, make sure you don’t rush it. Be patient and wait for the best moment. Observe your subject’s natural mannerisms and wait for authentic moments to capture. Also, avoid being overly animated or intrusive. After all, it’s likely not in your nature, so don’t force it. You’ll save your energy but also allow your subject to relax and express themselves naturally.

Finally, let go of the idea of the “perfect” pose. Instead, aim to capture genuine expressions and gestures, not staged poses. Look for those natural hand movements or expressions that reveal character.

Alex’s story goes beyond overcoming shyness. He also advocates for a shift in the current landscape of portrait photography, emphasizing substance over style. He encourages photographers to connect with their subjects, capture genuine emotions, and let the portrait speak for itself.

Finally, remember – you don’t need to be flamboyant, extroverted, or outgoing to be an excellent portrait photographer. Embrace your quiet nature and turn it into your secret weapon for taking gorgeous portraits that tell a story.

[Turn A Photography Weakness Into Your Greatest Asset | The Photographic Eye]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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