For most of us, sitting down for a formal photo shoot is a nerve-wracking and daunting process. If we are sitting by ourselves in front of the camera, we may be nervous and unsure of what we should be doing. If we are sitting with others, such as part of a family photo, we are often trying to sit still while children are crying, screaming, or oddly staring.
As a photographer, your job is to not only get the best shot possible, but also create the best environment for the shot. Many people assume that getting your clients in the best position for the best shot is a matter of luck or timing. If you believe that myth, then you’ll be forever chasing a perfect shot that’s always out of your reach. Photography is about capturing and creating the moment.
Putting your photography clients at ease is one way of taking charge of the moment. When your clients feel comfortable, they respond better. When they respond better, everything seems to fall into place: communication, posing, and the entire session experience.
The 3-Step Path to Helping Camera-Shy Clients Relax
Image via Flickr by Brad Montgomery
So you may be wondering that if putting your clients at ease works, how do you do it? Explore the following three areas where you can meet that objective.
Address the Little Details
Before you have a photo shoot, take some time to review the environment from a client’s point of view. The place you select for a photo shoot may be perfect for you, but is it comfortable for your client? Consider the following questions:
- Is your air conditioning running properly or do you need air conditioning service by an HVAC professional?
- Will you be facing unwanted background noise?
- Will you have any other potential distractions?
Understand Your Client’s Goals
Instead of focusing exclusively on getting the best shot, make sure you understand what the client wants. Is the client looking for a picture as a memory piece or it is the photo concept more spur of the moment? Understanding these goals will help you tailor your communication. Ask questions directly or use a client photography questionnaire.
Continue Communicating Throughout the Shoot
Photographers often stay quiet throughout a shot to prevent any mishaps, but this silence can be nerve-wracking for a client. Continue communicating throughout your photo session so that your client knows what’s going on during the shoot.
The Moral of the Story: Create the Experience to Get the Shot
Many photographers blame a bad shot on a client’s attitude or actions. This blame isn’t helpful for the client or the photographer. A better approach is for photographers to focus on what they can control.
Instead of whining about a scared or uncomfortable client, take the time to see how you can help that client move through the photo shoot as relaxed as possible. This mindset puts control of the photo shoot back where it belongs — in the photographer’s hands. Remember, clients are looking for this professional confidence.