by Melissa Jacks
There are so many things I like about being a photographer. I like camera equipment. I’d rather have a new lens than diamonds…any day. I also like using a camera. I like being able to adjust the settings and change the lenses to create the exact image I want. I like being around people and interacting with them. I like post-processing. I like all of those things a whole lot. But what I love about photography is the way it makes people feel.
I love that moment during a shoot when I show someone a photo of themselves on the little LCD screen and they say, “I look so pretty!” and I watch them relax and blossom right before my eyes. I love when I am with a client and they are viewing their images for the first time and I get the exact same reaction. Those two moments are priceless to me. As a photographer I know that the only way to achieve those moments is to have a relaxed and confident client. I know that if they are feeling uncomfortable and awkward, they will look uncomfortable and awkward. If they feel relaxed and confident then that will be reflected in their images.
If you are like me, and I know most photographers are, I am a million times more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I know I feel insecure and worry about how “un-photogenic” I am. I think most of us struggle with the same insecurities, and that is what I try to keep in mind when I am with a client. There are many things you can do to ensure that your client is able to relax and feel good about themselves. I know that every client is different but here are a few things that work for me.
See the beauty in everyone.
I truly believe everyone is beautiful. Maybe it is their hair. Or their freckles. Or their smile. Or maybe their amazing personality. Everyone has something. Find it and make it shine.
Know your client.
Send them a questionnaire ahead of time. Meet for lunch. Chat on the phone. Know what they love about themselves, and also what they don’t like. Know what kind of images they are hoping for.
Know the location. Make sure your equipment is organized. Have your paperwork organized. Bring extra items your client might need- a mirror, water, hairspray, etc.
Silence is awkward in most situations. Have some funny stories ready or topics that you know your client is interested in. Laugh and joke…anything that takes the spotlight off of the client and the camera you have pointed in their face.
Tell them what you love about them.
Compliment them but be genuine in your praise. Show them a shot or two as the session progresses. This one thing does more than just about anything else you can do or say.
If you are relaxed and confident, they will be too.
I know how I feel when I see a picture of myself and actually like it. My self confidence skyrockets. I absolutely love that I can do that for someone else. Remember the power you have as a photographer. You aren’t just creating beautiful images- you are making someone feel confident and beautiful, inside and out.
Melissa Jacks Photography