Let’s start from a nervous model’s perspective:
“Does this photographer know what they are doing? Can I trust this person? Will my _____ look horrible?”
Unless your subject is a professional model, you are going to have people who do not know how to stand, bend, or hold there hands a certain way unless they are coached. You are in charge, direct your scene how it needs to be done. If you don’t, then the session could be set up to fail. Your model won’t have confidence in you and the results can be disasterous. Go in there prepared. Have your list of shots that you want ahead of time. If possible, scout the location prior to the session.
Another way to help a client become comfortable can be humor. Have a positive, non-offensive joke or two ready to go whenever needed.
If these fail, then have your subject share something about themselves. No customer wants to hear their barber, bartender or barista talk about themselves, they want to be heard and understood. The same for photographers. This session is about the client. Let them open up and relax by letting them talk it through.
Okay, so far you can direct your subject to get the results you need and you can also have your client relaxed by opening themselves up. They trust you by now but showing is always better than telling.
Don’t believe me?
Because if those don’t get you your results, then bring your photos up on your camera and show them how well they are doing. Throw in a compliment.
At this point, the confidence should kick in because their image turned out better than they had expected. This will help even the most unrelaxed person settle in and finish this session with success for you and them.
Most people have no idea how to calm their inner voice and doubts. Only you can help them with this. And I hope this helps you as well.