I don’t know if it happens to you but it sure did happen to us when we first started shooting. We would build ourselves up so much with a mental list of everything we needed to do. We would freak ourselves out anticipating the different scenarios of how the shoot would go. Would the groom be cooperative? Would the bride be self conscious? What if they don’t think we’re funny? What if I burp? Legit every fear that you have probably had we had in the past too. Our hearts greatest desire was to do a good job, give a great experience, and deliver amazing pictures that our clients could cherish forever all while focusing on exposure, posing, composition, white balance etc.
We soon realized that there was one thing that all of our clients had in common. They were nervous too! Once we realized that, we realized that a nervous photographer wasn’t going to make things any better. After all they hired you because they liked your work , am I right? They’ve seen the portfolio and based on that they had enough trust and confidence in you to hire you, so why the heck were we so darn nervous? From that moment we decided that our focus would be the client experience. By focusing on making our clients feel at ease and ensuring that they have a great time we found that we were able to produce our best work!
Here are some things to keep in mind before each session to ensure that you and your clients are set up for success.
1. Greet your client warmly
If you’ve ever met us in person you could testify to the fact that we are huggers! We always greet our clients with a huge smile and hug. By letting them in our personal space we make ourselves approachable and it helps break the ice.
2. Compliment your client
Your client, especially your brides will be so nervous. They’ve spent the last few weeks looking for the perfect outfit. They spent time into getting ready and as a photographer not recognizing that is a sure way to kill your clients confidence. To our lady photographers, think about when you get a new hairstyle or dress and the hubby doesn’t notice. Our male photographers, you already know especially if you’re married that not noticing the details can build a wall up rather quickly with you and your lady. This wouldn’t be any different. Not complimenting your client leaves room for thoughts of “I must not look good” and doubt in their mind.
3. Use your clients name
There is nothing more impersonal than not using your clients name. Learning there names builds trust and it also helps you be more efficient when directing them in and out of poses/actions. Saying ” Rachel now bring your right hand up to Nick’s chest and look at his eyes” is a precise direction and everyone knows who is doing what. Imagine if you didn’t use names and the groom thought that was a direction for him, ahhhh that would be embarrassing.
4. Let them know that they don’t have to be pros!
Reassure your client that they do not have to be professional models to look good in your pictures. All they have to do is have a great time you will take care of the rest. You wouldn’t believe how many clients we’ve had that said that they were so nervous that they weren’t going to be any good until we reassured them that wasn’t possible.
5. Give your clients actions not poses
Once we decided our focus would be client experience we realized that giving our clients actions would only enhance that experience and allow them to interact in a way that would allow them to forget about the camera, be in the moment , and allow us to capture their genuine and candid reactions.
We still use these five steps before every shoot. In doing so we’ve gotten rid of the nervous, built great relationships and captured some amazing moments while doing so.