Before anything, let’s be real – getting your picture taken is kind of intimidating! Even being a photographer, I still get nervous getting my portraits done! Because of this, clients sometimes have a hard time smiling naturally, making it a challenge to capture their genuine expressions! BUT. If we, as photographers, know our clients are going to get a little nervous before their session, we can take charge to help ease their nerves and keep their energy up! There are three key ways we can do that:
1) Set Expectations
As a photographer, you’re in charge of keeping a good flow throughout the session. This sounds a little intimidating (especially if you’re an introvert like me), but it’s a lottttt easier when you set your clients’ expectations. Before each session, I tell my clients it’s okay to feel nervous because I know that’s how they’re feeling! I then talk to them about how this session is about more than just their pictures – it’s a memory for them. I tell them I want them to feel free to laugh, smile, joke, play and simply be themselves. When I give them these expectations, the seriousness of the session lessens and becomes A LOT more fun!
2) Keep YOUR energy up
When I began photographing people, I think I had the expectation that they would be the ones bringing all the energy. I was simply the photographer. But I was sooooo horribly wrong. When you’re photographing someone, you’re their number one encourager AND you control the energy. If your energy is low, your clients will reflect that, which will cause strained smiles rather than the genuine laughter you want to capture! Keep your energy high by getting to know your clients, continuously telling them how well they’re doing and how beautiful their portraits are turning out! Being a continuous source of encouragement will help boost their confidence and comfortability throughout your session together!
3) Don’t Leave Room for Awkward Silence
Truthfully, this was the toughest part for me to learn because I never knew what to say when I was photographing someone. As soon as the camera went up, I would stop talking. The problem with silence, though, is a client will interpret it as, “Oh, something is wrong,” and may jump to thinking they’re not photographing well. So, instead of filling the session with awkward silence, we have to fill it with something. There are times where I fill the session with instructions. For example: When I’m photographing and have the camera up, I’ll continuously be instructing someone to look at certain angles or to switch up their arm placement. But there are other times when I’m actually not using words at all! When I get really excited, I let out giddy squeals and noises that make my clients straight up laugh! And finally, my favorite, I’ll fill the air with TONS of praise. You’ll hear a lot of, “GIRL, YOU LOOK LIKE A QUEEEEEN,” from me or, “HOLY SMOKES, YOU GUYS ARE KILLING ME, YOU’RE SO PERFECT.” All of these options show your clients everything is going well, rid them of any self doubt and will keep them smiling & laughing the entireeeee time! 🙂
It can seem like a lot to manage, but the best part is these tips aren’t hard to put into place! It mostly just takes practice! The more you start to create a comfortable flow with your clients and practice keeping your energy up (whether it’s through words or noises), the more your clients will show you those genuine smiles you’ve been dying to capture! 🙂