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When Your Husband Hates Being in Photos

One of the more common comments I receive during the booking process: "Oh, and my husband hates taking photos." This mom doesn't know what to do about the fact that her husband doesn't like being photographed. She's worried we won't get a good shot of the family. Maybe embarrassed, in the back of her head thinking, how hard is it to smile for three seconds? All of the above?

She's the CEO of her household, and this seemingly silly objection to photos feels like yet another thing she's responsible for. (It's easy, right? Just stand there and look pleasant!) So mama, here's some insight to help you understand where your partner is coming from. Plus, things you can do to help ease the pain and make it fun for him.

Learn to See it His Way

First off, it's best not to take his photo aversion personally. He still loves you. (I bet he likes you too!) He loves his family. He's not out to get you or ruin all the fun, I swear! In fact, he has good reason for feeling the way he does about photos. Here are some possibilities:

Some People Feel Like they Have to Perform for a Photo as if They're on Stage, Having to Bust out the Perfect, Glowing Smile Right on Cue

People don't like to attempt to perform at something they don't believe they're good at, especially men. (Yep, I said it.) Getting photos taken might feel like a performance to him, and it's not the kind of performance that's likely to get him excited. Why? It might feel fake/staged/unauthentic to him.

My advice? Do a little research on the photographers you're interested in and invest in a Lifestyle or Documentary Style Photographer. All the photography lingo these days can be a bit confusing, so I'll break it down: A Lifestyle Photographer might choose to use the words "candid shots" or "natural looking photos." A person who takes documentary style photos might refer to their expertise as "storytelling photos." You'll likely find one or more of these words on their website.

Why these photographers? These types of of photographers will focus on taking natural and unposey photos, which takes the pressure off. A Lifestyle Photographer will most likely aim for a mix of loosely posed photos and candid shots. Documentary photography will involve zero posing.

What You Can Expect from Me: I provide both Lifestyle and Documentary Style Photography. I love to chat and joke around when taking photos of a family. Maybe 10% (probably less) of my photos are of people smiling and looking towards the camera. Many of the more posed photos I take, my clients aren't looking at me. They're looking at each other.

I find reaching for that "perfect" photo to be a bit boring, so I don't shoot many of them. Instead, I like to get people moving, talking, and giggling.

It's Possible He Doesn't Like the Way He Looks in Photos (and He Might Not Want to Tell You)

Women aren't the only ones allowed to feel frumpy! Men can feel this way just as easily. Often times, it just doesn't get expressed.

If you suspect this might be the case for your man, there's something super simple that will help! Give him some affirmation, both verbal and non-verbal. He'll probably appreciate the non-verbal more, if you catch my drift. The thing is, if he feels like YOU still find him attractive, odds are he'll care a lot less about the 20 pounds he gained over the winter.

If He's Shy or Introverted, Know that Hanging Around a New Person Can Be Exhausting for Him & it Can Feel Weird Being the Center of Attention

Sometimes it's simply about not having the energy, so it feels like a chore. As an introvert who cringed at being watched as I walked down the aisle, I can understand this. I mean, I need a post-party nap after attending church!

Assure him that there will be down time later that evening. You can also remind him that most of the photographer's attention will be on the kids.

What You Can Expect from Me: I like to have fun during my sessions. I'm super laid back and will go with the flow of how everyone's feeling. If a client doesn't like one of my suggestions, we won't do it! My goal is to make everyone feel comfortable and hopefully get a few laughs out of everyone. My hope is to create a space for families to simply enjoy being with each other.

Support Him in Spite of His Aversion to Photos

The last thing we want is for photos to become fuel for fighting. Trust that he has good intentions, even if it doesn't make sense to you. I highly doubt it's because he doesn't like you and he's heading up an operation to destroy all your fun.

Plan Something that He Would Enjoy Afterwards

What does he like to do? Maybe you can suggest he go golfing after the photos. Or maybe make a date out of it and take the whole family out to dinner afterwards. Better yet, get a sitter and head out for some drinks! Having something to look forward to afterwards can help shift his focus away from his discomfort around photo taking. And heck, you'll already be looking fab, so make the most of it!

What You Can Expect from Me: If you're preparing for a family session with me and are looking for a way to ease the tension, talk to me about it! Knowing your husband's personality will help me know how to approach our time together. You can also let me know what his favorite treat or drink is and I'll surprise him. Trust me, a little extra love can go a long way.

If this is a concern of yours and you have a session coming up, shoot me an email at and let's chat.


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Located in Minneapolis, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. She's known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

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