How to Make Your Clients Feel Confident in Front of the Camera

If I had a nickel for every time a client told me “I’m so awkward in front of the camera” I would be able to pay off all my student loans haha. #butreally. I say the exact same thing to my photography friends when it’s time for little ol’ to be behind the camera. When I’m shooting, I treat my clients the way I’d like someone to treat if they were taking my picture. My goal is for my clients to feel beautiful, themselves, and to have fun during our sessions! So I thought I’d share with you some tips and tricks to make your clients feel comfortable in front of the camera!

When I first started my photography bizz, I was just meeting my clients the day of to shoot. I knew a majority of them and didn’t feel like I really needed to meet with them before their shoot. But, once I began to get more referrals, I decided it was time to change the way I was doing things and really wanted to be intentional with building friendships with my clients! I’m a super relational person- I LOVE hanging out with people and getting to to hear their stories. So, I started asking my clients to coffee to get to know each other and chat about THEIR vision for their session. What are their expectations? What are they wanting? Where do they want to shoot? What are they thinking about wearing? What inspires them? What makes them unique? What’s their story? (the list goes on of questions I ask them during our hang outs hehe) I’ve realized that not only does this make my clients more comfortable, but it helps me out as their photographer! I don’t have to worry about that awkward feeling [like a blind date] whenever we shoot haha. It makes our sessions more laid back, fun, and easy going because we already know each other!

I was doing a couple’s shoot  a couple weeks ago and saw another photographer doing a shoot with a model. He was straight forward and although gave great direction [which I will go into shortly], he didn’t really come across as nice because all he did was tell the model what to do and what not to do. I think it’s our job as creatives to make people comfortable in their own skin and one of the ways we can do that is by giving them compliments! It might feel weird complimenting the opposite gender so you can say things like “That looks great!” “I really like the movement!” “What an awesome shot!” (all my clients are gals so I don’t have to worry about this haha but this is what I’ll say if I’m doing couple shoots or will compliment how cute they are together!) When I’m shooting senior gals, I yell things like: YAAASSS GURL, WERK IT, SLAAAAY, KILLIN’ IT, YOU ARE STUNNING, etc. You know, just stuff to get them pumped up and feeling like the beautiful humans they are! We have so much fun shooting and they don’t feel uncomfortable because I’m instilling that confidence in them! Your clients will feel like Beyonce

Another thing my clients will say [myself included] is “what do I do with my hands?!” I try to give them gentle direction and NEVER say anything negative or along the lines of “yeah don’t do that pose” or “that looks weird”. Instead, I’ll give them specific direction of WHAT I want them to do with their face/body. For example, if I’m trying to capture an emotion, let’s say happiness [because I try to get a lot of laughing photos], I will tell my clients a funny story, a joke, or some funny Facebook video I watched that morning to create that natural emotion. If I’m shooting a couple and want to get a candid laughing photo, I’ll tell the guy to stand in a specific place and to look at his pretty lady and whisper in her hear or tell her five things he loves about her and boom, I’ll get those sweet photos of them looking at each other and grinning from cheek to cheek. It’s all about directing and having your clients feel a genuine emotion!

I never realized how big of a role communication plays in photography, it’s HUGE! Before my sessions, I come up with a game plan of the most have creative shoots I want to capture. Once I have that vision, it’s time to communicate it clearly to my clients. Because I ALWAYS see things in pictures, there’s all these ideas that pop into my head during shoots and it’s my job as the artist, to clearly communicate that vision to my client. If you know me, you know how much I love putting my client’s beautiful faces in greenery. I’ll direct them to stand in front of a flower tree and will give them directions like: I want you to look up at the sky with your eyes closed and image that you’re at the beach. You’re laying out under the sun, with the sand between your toes. It’s warm outside and the sun is shining and there’s a nice breeze. Then I’ll guide them into positioning their hands and telling them where to place them and boom, your vision comes to life!

If you don’t know me in real life, I’m super goofy and weird and have no shame haha! I’m always telling jokes, singing, dancing, and just being ME! My clients and I are always laughing nonstop and having such a great time! I can’t stress enough how important it is to be YOU! It automatically makes people feel at ease and you’ll get those natural, candid, photos!

Julia MannComment