There are a lot of things that make for a great photographer. Understanding composition, light, and the technique required to make a great picture are only part of the puzzle. One of the most important aspects of being a really great photographer is being able to make your clients feel comfortable in front of the camera. Some people have a natural gift for this, but some don’t come by this gift so easily. Here are just a few things you can do to help your clients feel at ease in front of your lens.
If you, yourself, are tense… odds are your clients are going to feel that. The easiest way to help others to relax is to relax yourself. Stand up straight when you talk with them; it portrays confidence. If you portray yourself as confident in your craft, this will also help your clients feel comfortable.
Choose Your Words Wisely
The way you speak can have an impact on how your clients perceive you. Saying “um,” “like,” and “uh” can give the impression you don’t really know what you’re doing. You also never want to say “whoops,” “uh oh,” or “that doesn’t look good.” You will never imbue confidence into your clients if they catch you muttering dissatisfaction to the LCD screen on your camera.
Most people are not comfortable in front of the camera. They don’t know how to pose themselves or what to do with their hands. You are the expert. You are the professional. Take control and help guide them into poses that are going to be flattering. The more you take control and help them, the more relaxed and natural they will feel.
People are more likely to be comfortable and act natural in front of your camera if you are yourself. Don’t try to be anything you’re not. Be yourself. If someone hires you, it’s because they like you and your work. So be yourself, so your clients can be themselves.
Be Ready to Shoot
The least professional thing you can do is show up to your shoot without the equipment you need–batteries not charged, memory cards full. The best way to approach a shoot is to have already talked to your clients about their expectations, know the location, and be prepped and ready to go. Nothing looks more unprofessional than a tardy photographer who is not ready to go.
Be Aware of Boundaries
Not everyone is comfortable being touched. Always ask permission before touching a client, even if it’s something small like brushing their hair out of their face or adjusting their hand. You never know what a person might be uncomfortable with, so avoid this by asking permission first.
Show Them A Few of the Pictures
Not everyone agrees with this advice. But I often find that if my client is nervous or doesn’t think they look good, showing them a few of the pictures we just took gives them an immediate confidence boost. Just make sure the pictures you show them are good pictures and ones you’ll be presenting them in the finished product.
So whether you have a natural gift for making a person feel at ease or if you struggle with it, you can see how these simple tips can help your clients feel more comfortable. Remember to be relaxed and confident and to always be yourself. Don’t forget to give your clients guidance and encouragement along the way and you are bound to see your clients relax and feel at ease in front of your lens.
About the Author
Stephanie lives in Central, Illinois, is married to her best friend, Ryan, and enjoys the company of her rambunctious lab-beagle pup, Kit. She is the owner of Green Tree Media and is passionate about photography.
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