Connecting With Subjects
Any photographer will tell you, getting a subject to relax enough around you to get a few decent shots of them is no simple thing. No matter how relaxed you think someone is, the minute they see a camera, they tense up. And being relaxed is key to making a good image.
Unfortunately, there's no easy way to do this. Everyone is different. What matters is that you behave to their expectations!
Some clients want you to be fun, and put them at ease. Some feel that the best way for them to feel good about photographs, is for you to be the cool professional! Either way, your whole job, is to be a people person.
It’s easy to get nervous during a photo shoot with strangers. To Paraphrase the famous photographer, "Never let 'em see you sweat!"
If you are tense uptight, your client will be even more tense and uptight. And there's no way the photo shoot will go well!
Dating Your Client
As with dating, the best approach is getting to know each other. Spend time before the camera gets out, to ask questions. Be polite. Remember Kindergarten? Or your Grandmother? The lessons learned from both apply here: Be polite. Be nice to people. Ask questions.
• Simple things to start: "How are you? Any trouble getting here? How was your morning?"
• Next up, try connecting on a more personal level: talk about last night's TV show, sports, or the local news. (Avoid Politics... that's a potential live wire and could be a buzz kill for either you OR the client!)
• Perhaps the best is to get the person talking about themselves. Talk about where they are from, how they got here, their education, etc. Dive a bit deeper than the superficial. Be sincere. Ask a few follow up questions. Really try to get to know who it is you're shooting and what they are about!
Set The Mood
• Music sets the mood! Ask them to bring in their favorite music. Play it. Or keep a very long and varied list of music on your laptop or iPod. Let them pick the mood music.
• Lighting sets the mood, as well. use softer lights, while setting up and getting to know each other. harsh or bright light may come alter, but for now, keep it soft and soothing.
• Decor always helps. A few plants and some comfy chairs or a couch to relax in before getting started, or in between setups helps.
• Food is a god-send! Snacks, fruit, and plenty of water to drink are key to keeping your client happy!
Most people have never been for a formal photo shoot. Not knowing what is expected can make people tense. Spend some time before the shoot explaining everything. Let them know what you're doing and speak calmly and confidently. People feel more relaxed when they can see a confident person in charge And that needs to be you!
More on Connecting With Subjects
Group Posing Techniques