Have the subject help you design the shoot
Giving your clients plenty of say in the terms of how the shoot goes, is a huge key to making them relaxed. Doing extra legwork ahead of time, like guiding them with their outfits and locations, allows them to show up already feeling invested and in control over much of their experience. The old relationship advice that “communication is key” could not be more apt. Spending time before the shoot helping people feel like their voice is being heard, is central to great images.
Treat your camera like a commonplace object
By treating your camera like this you can help couples forget that it’s there (well, almost). When starting a shoot, spend as much time as possible chatting, and relaxing with the couple before you ever lift the camera. Hold it in your hand as if it’s no more consequential than a cup of coffee. This action may seem subtle, but your clients are looking to you for their behavioural cues, and treating the camera like something to not think twice about, will allow them to consider it equally as casually.
Learn to read people
Have an ability to read your clients so they really feel seen as individuals, and adapt to their specific personality. In many ways you have to be a ready to provide to whatever the client might need from you to make them comfortable. There’s a fun balancing act to figure out what your client will respond to, and this is a good life skill as well.