Dec 31, 2010

January 2011 Cover


Feature :: Creating Confidence

Creating Confidence
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.

Be prepared.

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.

Keep talking.

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.

Be yourself.
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
Melissa Jacks Photography

6 Best Wordpress Plugins for Photographers

NextGen Gallery: I use this for my portfolio. What sets this gallery plugin apart is the simple and easy to use administration. It can easily handle multiple galleries. I tag my photos by location and set up a location page to easily show my clients location possibilities. No need to have to add photos to specific galleries. Once I tag them, they automatically go into the specified gallery. Easily create galleries by tag; newborns, kids, families, etc. You can view my example here:

Screen shot of NextGen:

WP-CopyRightPro: As everyone knows, if someone wants to steal your images, they will find a way to steal them. However, this plugin is definitely a deterrent. It will prevent right clicking, as well as image drag and drop. It even protects against selecting text. Screen shot below:

Akismet: This plugin is one of my favorites and most used. It takes the pain out of managing comment spam. One of the wonderful things about Akismet is that it learns from its mistakes, so that eventually it can not only greatly reduce comment spam, but completely eliminate it. No more moderating comment spam. Akismet filters it for you and you can delete spam in one click at your convenience.

WPtouch: A great little plugin that creates a simple mobile theme for your blog. Automatically transforms your blog into iPhone application style theme - for use with pretty much any mobile device, iPhone, iTouch, iPad, BlackBerry, Palm, Android, etc.

Headspace: Takes care of all the Search Engine Optimization so that you can focus on providing great content. I like this better than All in One SEO pack.

WP Super Cache: Makes your blog load very fast. Also uses much less CPU processing.

Thank Me Later: I haven't actually installed this yet, but I think it's a great idea. Thank Me Later will automatically send an e-mail to anyone who leaves a comment on your blog. You can use this to say "thanks" to your visitors, encourage them to sign up to your newsletter or RSS feed, etc.

Recent Session :: Allyson Kaye Photography

Meet Ashley! She is a Senior at Palo Verde High School. This session was so much fun! It reminded me how much I love taking pictures.

I had the opportunity of starting my business about 3 years ago. At first, I started just for fun and soon realized I could turn something I love into a full time business. So, that is exactly what I did. This last year has kept me extremely busy. I felt blessed to be getting so much business, but, at the same time, I almost forgot my love of photography. This session however, reminded me how much I love what I do, and why I do it.

After the shoot, I found myself wanting to drive home as fast as I could to download them and start processing them immediately. I stayed up late that night eating Oreo cookies (with milk of coarse) and finished the entire session. I use to do that when I first started my business. So, with all said, that is why I LOVE these pictures. They brought back my giddy school girl crush like feelings for photography!

I used a canon 40D with a 24-70mm f/2.8L. This session was was all done in natural light.

-Allyson Wall
Allyson is an on location photographer serving Las Vegas and Salt Lake areas.