There are photographers who give their wedding photography clients very precise instructions about how to stand, where to look and how to hold themselves. I’m not one of them.
My clients are not professional models and it’s wrong to expect them to behave as if they are. People can look stiff and smiles seem forced if they are trying to hold their arm in just the right position, whilst smiling but still gazing into their partner’s eyes!
So, what do I do instead? I try to create an atmosphere where the clients feel comfortable, where they are able to feel relaxed and enjoy the experience of being photographed. Because that’s what it’s all about: Whether it’s a wedding day, engagement photo session or lifestyle shoot, you’re there to have a good time not to feel uncomfortable. Fortunately it’s been over a hundred years since neck braces were a necessary photographic accessory!
How do I create this atmosphere? Well, firstly I have a great empathy with anyone who doesn’t like being photographed. For years I avoided it where possible, preferring to hide behind the camera. As I learnt more about photography, I got used to being photographed but I remember how it felt. I like to think I’m amiable and easy-going, and that helps put people at ease. I try to help clients have fun and laugh, but I don’t bombard people with cheesy jokes!
I don’t cajole people in to doing things they’re not comfortable with, although if something crazy springs to mind I’ll definitely suggest it. If the client is up for it, then great! If not then it’ll keep for another time. I create an opportunity for the clients to be themselves, to behave naturally within some broad instructions; asking them to walk down a path and come back, stand in a particular spot, that sort of thing. Getting the clients to help each other do something physical (climbing over a log, stand on a chair) is a great way to help get rid of self-consciousness. As their confidence grows, the photographs get better and better.
It’s a great feeling when a client who was a bit nervous or self-concious at the beginning of a photo session relaxes and starts enjoying themselves. I can see it happening in front of me. The result is a set of photographs that they love and that I’m proud of. Everyone wins.Pin It