Interacting with Clients | photographers
Friday, October 24, 2008 at 9:36 PM
As part of an ongoing goal, I am trying to make my way through the Ask Jamie a Question Day questions, one step at a time. You all asked some really great questions, including:
"Do you have any tips or ideas that you use for how to interact with your clients? Like, how do you set them up in a "pose" and get all the great expressions? I'm always curious on if there's a better way to interact with my clients and what to say to them, etc...I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on that!"
I loved this question because honestly when I started photography a year ago, this is all I thought about! I used to get SO stinkin' nervous about what to say, how to act, what to talk about, how to direct clients, trying not to make the session awkward--ah, I was a wreck! The most important piece of advice I could give is that IT GETS EASIER! It really does. Get out there and practice, practice, practice. It really helps to first get very comfortable working and posing people you know--that way if you ask them to do something and it kind of looks funny, or doesn't turn out how you want, you can just laugh about it and move on! Shooting your friends just for fun is not something you should stop doing once you start making money in photography, it'll constantly help you get better and better! Check out this shoot I did for my best friend Jess a few months ago: to this date it's one of my favourite shoots because we are just so comfortable with one another. Another blast from the past is a graduate session with my friend Rachel from early October 2007. Wow, I cannot believe that was only 12 months ago! Life is so crazy.
As far as interaction goes, here's a rule: never stop talking! The art of small talk is so key. If it's a portrait shoot with just one subject ask about their job, what they do, talk about past shoots you've gone on, talk about places you've visited--I just talk my face off--which I'm pretty good at doing. For engagement shoots, this is the fun stuff! Who doesn't want to hear a love story? Ask about where they met, how long they've been dating, talk about wedding details, plans, where they are living, dogs, etc, really anything will do. Just be interested in them!
Posing is something that I've been trying to "step up" in my business lately. A few months ago, I felt like I got to the place where I could take a nice camera with a nice camera lens, put two beautiful people in the shade and tell them to just "interact" and wah-la! A natural looking, solid photo. Which is SO true--but I've been challenging myself to step it up with my posing and take my photography to another level. I read a lot of photography blogs for inspiration, and obviously if you are reading this, you do the same! I love looking at wedding and fashion magazines and advertisements--I'm also inspired by just watching how couples interact naturally. Work with different levels in the environment you're in, try different variations of standing, sitting, different angles--it's all about just putting yourself out there and trying something new. Usually I'll start by telling the guy something like, "How about we get you right behind here and just lean down and wrap your arms around Jane's waist. Jane just look up at John for these next few." This usually leads to awkward laughter and then a lot of fun. As the clients gain confidence in you throughout the course of the shoot things will begin to flow so much more naturally!
As far as actual "talking" and interacting goes while shooting portraits during a wedding day or on an engagement shoot, I say a LOT of things like "Perfect! That's awesome! Hold that right there! That's so gorgeous! Holy crap this is amazing light! Just turn and look up at him right...there, yes, perfect. Now lean in a bit more--you can never be too close during an engagement session." Ah, it sounds quite hilarious when I type it out. I laugh a LOT during sessions--like waaaaaaay too much, way too much! My cheeks hurt after a shoot because they are just been exercised the entire time. If you're having fun and laughing and at ease (or pretend to be at ease in the beginning, hah!) your clients will most likely be as well.
I hope this helps!
I hope this helps!