HEY THERE PHOTOGRAPHER FRIEND!
Thanks so much for being here! I am sure you are an absolute GUN at what you do but in case you are looking to up level just a little, here are some things I have learnt along my journey that will hopefully help you on yours!
Ready for my tips that help me capture candid moments, big belly laughs, wild, full of movement and emotion filled photos??? Here they are!
BE A FRIEND!!!!
Yep! That's it! That is my biggest secret as to how I am able to capture what I do. Think about it, how can you expect your clients to let down their walls, be wild, crazy and willing to make a fool of themselves in front of your camera when you're practically a stranger to them?
From the moment someone first reaches out to me, it is my aim to become an old friends. I want to talk to them as if I have known them for years! Heck no do I email with a 'thank you so much for your enquiry', I email with a 'hey girl hey' or an 'uhhhhh! You guys sound like absolute legends, I can already tell I am going to love hanging out with you guys!'. Creating an instant connection is so important!
Other ways to create that connection besides through your emails is by taking the time to jump on a zoom call or meet up at a cafe before your shoot or before they even book in! I meet up with every single wedding client either in person or over zoom within our first few emails, waaaaayyy before they sign a contract!
WARM THEM UP!
This flows straight from getting onto that friendship level with your clients. It's pretty common to feel awkward in front of the camera, I know I do! So when your couple, family or whoever it is arrives for their shoot, don't jump straight into it! Think about it like getting into a pool of cold water, we don't want to just throw them in the deep end, you want to ease them into it!
So how do you do that??
One way that I love to help them warm up is to start the session off by grabbing a coffee together or cracking some drinks and chatting about their day! I like to get them used to me being around them whilst holding a camera, before I start using it!
Another thing I will do, if we are heading to a more remote location, is I will try to car pool with them so that we have time to get comfortable with each other before we even arrive at the shoot!
I use this chat time not only make them feel like we are just hanging out as a group of friends but also put their worries at ease by telling them how the shoot is going to go. I will take the time out to explain that I am not wanting to pose them, that there is nothing they can do that is 'wrong' and that I 110% have their backs!
BRING THE VIBE!!!
This is probably one of the BIGGEST things that transformed my way of photographing... playing music!
Seriously if you have never played music during one of your session, DO IT!!! I promise it is life changing!!
Throwing on some tunes brings a vibe that you just can't create without it, it immediately makes everyone more relaxed (including you!) and makes it FUN!! There is no more awkward silences and definitely allows a few guards to come down.
I bring along a mini, bluetooth, clip on speaker that I hook up to some pre-made playlists on my phone. I have a few different playlists that I have created to help fit with the different moods I want to enhance and also to the personalities of my clients.
ACTIONS NOT POSES!
My next biggest tip on how to get natural moments isn't of stiff and posed images is to... NOT POSE PEOPLE... GASP!!! Such a shock I know! But it is a trap we all as photographers continue to fall into.
I am not saying just tell your couple to do whatever they want, because honestly they will probably freeze up under the pressure of not knowing what you want them to be doing! Still direct them, still guide them throughout the whole session just tell them actions to do instead of poses to hold! For me the more movement the better, so I try to never get my couple to do anything that means they are standing completely still.
For example here are a few of my favourite prompts or actions I give my couple clients...
Go for a stroll and stay as tight in to each other as you can.
Give her the bumpiest piggy back ride you can!
Imagine it was super super cold and you guys are trying to warm each other up.
Whilst walking and holding hands, stretch out as far as you can from each other then come back in and crash together.
Almost kiss whilst you smile as big as you can, with teeth! (Sounds strange, but this one always creates those super close giggly shots, which I love!!!)
This is a biggy! Setting expectations with your clients may sound rigid but it goes a long way to putting your clients at ease as they have all the info they need, upfront! No need for them to be worrying about what the session will be like, what they are expected to do, what they should be wearing etc.
Here are a few examples of expectations I hold for my clients and how I communicate them:
I expect my clients to be willing to get active during their shoot and to be ok if they feel a little silly whilst doing it! This all starts with my website, all of my copy on my site is purposeful to communicate that! Majority of the photos I display on my website and socials show movement, piggy back rides and laughter. When people think of my photography I want 'fun and joyfilled' to come to mind and that is the vibe I expect my clients to jump on board with!
I love to help my clients out with advice on what to wear! It plays a super big role in how they move and overall look of the images I capture. I always tell them to 'wear whatever they feel comfortable in' and advise them to not wear anything they feel they need to constantly pull up or down or adjust. I tell my clients my aim is to capture them and not their outfit! So wearing bright solid colours or crazy patterns can be really distracting from their beautiful smiling faces. I chat this through with my clients and also send a pinterest board with examples for anyone who needs extra ideas!
Be transparent about all the legal stuff! I have all of my clients sign a contract and always walk through it with them where I can! This way I get to chat through with them everything they can expect from me, like turn around times and quality of work whilst they also can understand what I expect from them. I find that this puts my couples at ease to see that firstly I am legit and secondly I am an expert in my field and I know what I am doing!
I think you get my point! Keep your clients informed at every level and answer their questions before they even ask them! I know it sounds like a lot of work and doesn't sound too related to getting candid photos, but trust me it is sooooo closely related! The more your clients know what to expect and what you expect from them, the more they will trust you as a professional/friend and be willing to jump onboard with any crazy idea you through at them!
OOFT THAT WAS A LONG ONE!
Congrats you made it to the end! As you can see this is something that I am SUPER passionate about and I really do hope you find some little nuggets of gold amongst all of my ramblings haha! If you ever want to go a little more in depth with me on topics like this, I would love the opportunity to help you grow and thrive in your business! Jump on over to check out the mentoring opportunities I offer.