Most people do not feel very comfortable in front of the camera. It can be a little intimidating and cause people to tense up. When you're photographing an engagement shoot that's the last thing you want! Learning how to make your clients feel at ease and relaxed in front of your camera is one the most important skills you have to master as a photographer.
Every couple is different and every relationship is different, so naturally what works with one couple may fall flat with another. It's incredibly important to quickly establish a connection with your clients, so you can decide what will work best for them.
The more you can get people to relax when they step in front of your camera, the more authentic, genuine, and emotional your photos will be.
Here are a few of my best tips for drawing out emotion in clients!
I always start every session by explaining how I am going to run the shoot. I let them know what I am going to be photographing, how we will move through different locations, and that I will guide them through poses. Most importantly I always remind our clients to relax, have fun, and focus on each other.
It's incredibly important to talk to your clients during their session. Encourage them. Tell them when what they are doing looks great, and remember to give them feedback throughout the entire session.
I talk to our clients constantly throughout the shoot. I ask questions, tell stories, and just act like my goofy, slightly-awkward self. It helps make people feel more relaxed and develops a relationship between you and your clients.
It's really important to find small ways to add movement to your photos. It helps create more authentic-looking photographs and genuine expressions. A great way to achieve this is by giving your clients actions to do instead of just posing.
I like to have our clients walk together holding hands. Occasionally I'll ask the groom to brush the hair out of the bride's face or pull her in for a kiss. Have them dance, make funny faces, whatever you need to do to create motion and get them to loosen up!
During a photo shoot you always want to try and create some natural moments within the posed situation. One of my favorite ways to achieve this is by guiding the couple into a pose, and then after I've taken a few photos I tell the groom to whisper something completely random in his bride's ear. Her reaction is usually a genuine laugh, and this creates a fun, playful moment to capture.
Photos seldom look natural when both people are looking straight at the camera. I often instruct clients to look over my shoulder and past the camera to capture a more natural image.
This is always a go-to of mine during some point of the shoot. I tell our clients to do an obnoxious fake laugh. They usually feel super awkward doing it, which ends up making them actually start laughing for real. These are always some of my favorite photos from a session.
This is another one of my favorites. This usually goes one of two ways depending on the couple. It either ends up looking like an incredibly romantic, Notebook style moment or the couple starts cracking up laughing, which is also totally adorable. Either way, it's a win!
Every so often during the shoot, I have our clients gaze into each other's eyes and take a deep breath. It helps them calm down for a moment, reconnect, and engage with each other.
This is always fun to throw in every once in a while to change things up. I tell our clients to start singing whatever random song comes to my head. Usually it's something super 90's, and they laugh and get really into.