Natural light is so universally flattering that it's often the go to for portrait photography, but what's equally important when photographing a human being is making them feel comfortable in front of the camera. No one wants you to repeat over and over 'you look great!' It goes a long way to just talk with them, ask questions, give small directions and tell them how the image is shaping up. Help your subject find the best poses or angles that work for them, and then disarm them with something that makes them smile. Once you get them bathed in the right light, sitting at the right angle, and in the right frame of mind, that's when you need them to reveal their personality. Some people I've worked with warm up quickly and others take a bit more time, but I think one of my strengths is putting people at ease. Whether they're posing for a photo or delivering my meal at a restaurant, I've always responded by taking the pressure off the other person. Maybe I learned it in acting school or maybe it truly is instinct, but it has served me well in many situations.
All that being said, it's an absolute pleasure when you get the opportunity to photograph a friend. Wendy has a beautiful spirit and generous heart and let's be real - she's gorgeous. I've taken her portrait a few times over the past decade and I refer to her as my first official portrait client. I learned how to take a portrait by working with her. I honed my skills when giving direction and practiced how to capture light and tested out lenses and played with post processing. She's been the constant in my ongoing self improvement plan to get my photography business up and running. I hope you have a Wendy in your life that supports and trusts you implicitly. There's nothing like it.