Being a photographer takes on many roles, (especially when you are working alone). One important aspect is playing the role of the art/film director. But that's also one of the most fun parts when working with people. Many times I have the person I'm photographing take on a role. Role playing is a great tool to use when someone appears "shy or uncomfortable" in front of the camera.
It's a great tool when working with children. My latest series titled Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!, I have two very independent minded sisters that I need to rein in and focus on our photo session. So in order to do this, I each give them a role to play, a scenario. I'm able to get unique expressions, and have fun with our "Lost in the Woods" screen play. Dark and slightly ominous, you betcha. Bravo girls!