"BUT STEPH, HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CLIENTS TO LOOK SO NATURAL?"
I've been asked this question over and over again so I figured I would give some insight onto how to get your clients to feel comfortable during their session. The experience your clients have with you during the shoot is JUST as important as the feeling that they get when their galleries hit their inbox! By creating a fun and memorable session, you are automatically setting yourself up for success with your clients!
If you are looking to get those genuine laughs, nose crinkles, and intimate moments keep reading cause this is a deep dive into my approach when it comes to working with my peeps!
Prompt don't pose
I think our biggest goal when it comes to posing is trying to avoid those prom-pose like photographs. As a photographer, we don't want our clients to look stiff and robotic and I can guarantee that your clients don't want that either. When I switched to prompting my clients instead of putting them in a pose, my photographs changed leaps and bounds. Think of creative movement-based prompts rather than saying "okay hand here, chin down, stay, now smile." Chances are if it sounds choppy and robotic coming off the tongue, the photo will look the exact same way. Try some prompts like:
- Smell her hair and tell her how good her shampoo is.
- Give me flirty eyes like you just saw someone cute across the bar.
- Kiss with your teeth! I know that sounds so weird but try it out!
- Time to play tug of war - I want you guys to run toward me and pull each other back and forth (no injuries please!)
Play some tunes
This is something that I implemented earlier this year and honestly it's been pretty game-changing for me and my clients! Music creates a welcoming environment and helps fill the air! I play music at every session possible. Not only does it fill the air between locations and prompts but it makes clients feel comfortable and welcome. Grab a speaker and an upbeat playlist and allow yourself to have some fun with it. My bad dance moves always get a good laugh or two at a session!
Bonus tip: If you have time, make custom playlists for your sessions! For my couples, I ask them who their favorite artists are or even what their first dance song was - from there I just build something super special and unique to them.
As much as we want all the photos of cute booty grabs and piggy back rides and couples rolling around in the sand, we have got to remember to slow down during our sessions. That's right, SLOW THE FREAK DOWN. I like to use really fun prompts just as much as the next photographer but allowing your clients (and yourself) to breathe is so important. After running around for some shots, put the camera down and just chat. Talk to your people. Check in with them! Make sure they are having fun. Slowing down also gives you some time as a photographer to come up with more prompts for your client. I can't tell you how many times I've "slowed down" to think of the next photo or even the next location. After chatting for a bit, I can move into the next part of the session with a fresh prompt knowing my client is at ease and ready for something new!
Get to know them!
A huge, huge, HUUUUUGE part of my process starts even before I first meet my clients at the shoot location. I make every possible effort to learn more about them before we even start shooting. AND I give them major hints on what they can expect during our session by sending out client prep guides. Creating a comfortable and welcoming space starts EARLY on. If you want those same feelings to be reflected in your photographs, your process leading up to the shoot should be just as open and comfortable. Ask them about their story, what their post grad plans are, how they met, what gets them excited . AND REPLY GENUINELY! By doing this, you are able to carry on natural conversation throughout the shoot because you've technically already met and can jump into the fun stuff!
Give them some control
Oooof okay I know this one might be hard and it was definitely the hardest for me to adjust to - especially as an Enneagram Type 1. Sessions are NOT one size fits all. Each couple, each grad, each biz owner is different. LISTEN to your clients and allow them to bring their ideas to the table. Some of my favorite photographs I've taken have come from this tip! Encourage them to bring their favorite 6 pack of beer and make it a date. If they have a dream location, make it work. Work WITH your people, not for them.
Dang, first blog post in a while and I had a lot to say. Can't wait to show up more and more on the blog in 2021! I have tons of content planned and can't wait to talk your ears off.
All the love from ya girl,