Connection is everything! Without connection it’s extremely difficult to capture true personality and raw emotions. Your subjects cannot relax, and be themselves. Connection takes away the awkward silences. It allows you to focus more on the moment, and less on the pose.
So how do you create connection with your clients? What if they’re awkward, or grumpy? What if you’ve never met, or you knew each other many years ago but haven’t caught up since? Here are a few easy ways to connect with your clients.
Relate to Them
Example 1: Grumpy dad shows up for portraits. He clearly does not want to be there. Guess what? He’s definitely not alone. I have multiple grumpy dads a year, including my husband. Some people just do not like to stand in front of the camera in clothes their wife picked out and pose for an hour.
Let him know you know how he feels.
Share a story about your own experience with someone who hates their picture taken.
Tease them about it throughout the session.
Validate their feelings.
Example 2: Mom feels awkward in front of the camera. Who doesn’t feel awkward in front of the camera? Okay, probably a lot of people. But I’m not one of them.
Relate to them with your own experience, or let them know that most people feel a bit awkward at first.
That brings me to the second point…reassure them. Tell them they look beautiful. Tell them the outfits they picked out are amazing. Tell them their kids are so much fun. Tell them that you work with crazy toddlers and grumpy dads all the time. Tell them not to worry. Relax them, and get their focus away from all the stresses.
Joke with Them
I love leaving a session with inside jokes. Whether I’m making fun of myself, sharing embarrassing moments or funny stories, I get them laughing and having fun. It opens them up, and allows them to be comfortable with you.
Be Their Friend
Stop looking at them like dollar signs, or people to pose. Just be their friend. Get to know them by asking genuine questions, and listening to their answers. Where are they from? How did they meet? What do they love to do? When they leave the session, they should feel like they have a new friend, a lifelong friend.
Play with them
That’s right. Let them play. It loosens everyone up. “Motion creates emotion.” You can use natural movement instead of lifeless poses to get your clients to show authentic emotion. When your clients are focused on an action instead of a pose, their true personalities show. You can ask them to repeat the action or do it faster or slower. The repetition causes them to relax and get into the motion. If they mess up, everyone laughs. Action is truly the easiest and most fun way to find the raw expressions.
All in all, just have fun. As you start connecting more with your clients, you will fall more in love with your job. If you liked this post & want more posing tips: “How to Photography People: 10 Tips Guaranteed to Improve Your Photos!” And if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!