The hardest part of a portrait photography session is keeping people natural and relaxed. In most cases, the photographer and the client meet for the first time and it can be really difficult to quickly get into a state of confidence. It’s important to be skilled with the camera and get the most out of your models.
These are some of the difficulties you’ll have to overcome to become a great portrait photographer.
In the following article, I will give you tips and tricks to help you get into this area of photography, get the most out of your session, interact with your subjects and give them the right advice.
1. Choose the right location
Photographing someone in a space where they are not comfortable is the right recipe for a disaster. Try to involve customers in the choice of the place, many people will feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. For inexperienced models, a private place will also help to avoid unwanted glances and to allow more freedom of expression.
2. Define the details of the photoshoot
A well-made contract with your logo will help to show your clients how serious and professional you are with your business. I recommend sending it by e-mail before the session so that they can read it carefully. All details of the photoshoot, such as price, location, the number of photographs, etc. will be so clear to the two parties. This will give them extra security, not knowing you personally.
3. Create a connection with them
Starting the photoshoot without knowing each other is not easy and not even recommended. Try to get together for a coffee before the photoshoot, spend time with them, chat, discover things about their lives and show that you are really interested in what you do. It will be easier to really understand their needs and get a better result!
4. Prepare yourself properly
It is important to arrive at least 15 minutes before your clients and prepare the equipment, as well as solve all possible technical problems before the photoshoot. These aspects must not interfere with the session, you must remain focused, relaxed and interact naturally with them. If you have to photograph outdoors it is essential to know the place first, choose different backgrounds and study how the light will be during the session.
Take a look at one of the previous articles that I wrote. It will help you define some more key points to keep in mind during the session.
5. Take charge of the situation
In order for your clients to put their trust in you, they will have to feel confident in what you are doing, professionalism. Even if you feel nervous, try to show authority.
6. Test and learn
Don’t stay committed to one idea if it doesn’t work. Keep trying different poses, props, and backgrounds until you find the right situation, something that really works. Keep your mind open, get inspired by the place and the light to obtain great results.
7. Keep the communication going
If your clients aren’t feeling comfortable, keep the conversation flowing by suggesting new poses or offering encouragement. A wall of silence isn’t going to help them relax or soothe any of their fears. Try to maintain a dialogue between you and your subjects to understand what they are uncomfortable with.
8. Always ask
If for some reason you need to touch the persons you are photographing, to show them a pose or arrange a detail, ask first. This gesture may make some people very uncomfortable.
9. Don’t share your errors
If something goes wrong during the photoshoot and you make mistakes with the exposure or focusing of an image, do not share it with your clients. They will worry unnecessarily about your skills and this will not help in general.
These suggestions are a good place to start. Later you will need to understand what works better for you. With time and practice, you will naturally develop your style by helping people feel comfortable, put their trust in you and get the perfect shot!