Getting The Most From Your Shoot
Happy Friday everyone!! What a difference a week makes. Last Friday I was sweating bullets as I photographed my last engagement session before baby and this week I'm wrapped in blankets and hiding from the cold. Oh New England you never cease to surprise!!
As I thought back about my last few sessions I tried to think about why I felt like they were successful. And for me it all came back to the experience that my clients receive as they are photographed. I want natural and candid emotion from the people in front of my camera, that is what makes an image successful in my book. But it doesn't JUST happen when I lift my camera, I have to help my clients feel comfortable and trusting to let me in on that emotion. Below are the steps that I take to encourage those natural emotions from my clients as we move through the portraits.
1. Give them permission.
One of the first things I do with my clients BEFORE the session even starts is give them a pep talk. I explain to them that above anything else, our time together should be FUN! I want my couples to laugh and enjoy every minute we have together. I explain to them that there is no right or wrong and that I'll be giving them LOTS of direction as we move about. But ultimately I want them to forget about me and enjoy each other!! As the photographer it is up to ME to give leadership and direction to my clients. That means I need to give them permission to be goofy, to have fun and to love on one another. They need to hear from me that they are free to be their amazing selves. This has been instrumental to the success of each session and opens up the doors of trust with my clients!!2. Give Direction AND USE THEIR NAMES!
I explain to every client that I work with that my goal is to create intimate and natural images. And while I want them to be free to move about and interact with each other as they wish, I certainly give them specific direction and use their names to do so. So instead of just placing them together and saying ok now act natural, I EXPLAIN to them exactly what I'm looking for!! I use their names explaining what body part needs to be moved, where they should be looking and HOW they should be interacting. And if my second shooter or husband is there I'll even SHOW them exactly what I'm looking for! But let's be real for a second, this part can be hard. It can be hard to give specific and detailed instructions to your clients, it takes thought and coordination!! Which brings me to point number three...
3. Don't be afraid to make fun of yourself!
As I'm giving direction to my clients and using their names and adjusting my settings I can stumble. I may jumble my words or do things like mix my clients names together (oh heeyy Billiam!), which I am notorious at doing;). My clients might not understand what I'm asking them to do and they may become confused. But instead of being embarrassed or flustered I turn it into an opportunity to make fun of myself, to get my clients to laugh, to build our relationship further and to capture natural smiles!4. Be confident!
As the photographer it is my job to be the leader of my clients. I MUST be confident in myself as I stand behind the camera. Of course there will be times when I stumble or make mistakes but it is so incredibly important that I don't allow anything to make me flustered. It takes confidence in myself and in my abilities to garner confidence in my clients. The more comfortable and confident I am, naturally the more confident and comfortable my clients will be. Your confidence is what can make or break a session and could be the difference between an amazing session and a mediocre one.
5. Praise your clients.
I'm known to squeal ALOT during an engagement session or a wedding day. I'm not afraid to tell my clients when they do something that I love!! I tell them how adorable they are, how cute they are being and if I like what I see. This praise and encouragement goes a long way to instill confidence in my clients. It's important to give them feedback and to let them know how fabulous they are!As I move through a portrait session whether it is during an engagement session or a wedding day I am confidently communicating to my clients. I'm using their names, giving them specific direction and HAVING FUN!! At the end of the day I want each of my couples to have an amazing experience and to leave our time together feeling encouraged and excited!!