Making Your Client's Feel Comfortable in Front of the Camera

I recently photographed an engagement session in downtown Charlotte. During the planning stag of the session, we constantly referred to them as their "Save the Date" photos, as opposed to their engagement photos. Why? Because her fiancé was so uncomfortable with the thought of taking photos just for the sake of being engaged, he had to have reason to do them. He is the NICEST guy you will ever meet, but he is also very humble... so attention on him (for an entire 1.5 hours), while being photographed did not make him feel the warm and fuzzies. So, I thought this would make a great post! Especially because of something his fiancé brought him to ease the "pain" of getting his photo taken. Below are my go to's during a session to make a client feel comfortable in front of the camera. 

  1. Compliments. Believe me.... this is a HUGE confidence booster, if not the most important one. Telling someone they look beautiful, stunning, or gorgeous just feels good! I'm not saying lie, tell the truth. Unless your couple is showing up in sweats, then I can 100% guarantee they are looking fabulous... they just need a little confirmation. And when a couple is kissing, laughing, or just smiling to cherish the moment between the two of them... well, that is freaking cute... so tell them how cute they are!!! I get it, behind the lense you have million things to worry about (your ISO, Exposure, Shutter Seed, Poses, Reflectors... and that person who keeps walking into the frame...), we've all been there. At the end of the day, my priority has always, and will always be my clients. Pointing out the obvious and letting them know how stunningly freekin' cute there are... just works! 
  2. Call Out the Diva Factor. Everyone has an inner Diva. Have you ever danced in front of the mirror before??? There it is... your Diva. This totally goes for guys as well. So when I'm shooting and I see someone pull a Beyonce or Brad Pitt type pose... I call them out, because I want them to know I see their inner Diva and they are rocking it!! Again, having someone recognize you for more than what you normally see yourself as builds confidence. And confidence creates stunning poses.... so rock your inner diva girls... and guys ;) 
  3. Show Them a Photo. I know this is like the cardinal sin for photographers, but I personally have no issue stopping mid session to show my clients how gorgeous they look. When the can see a glimpse of the what the finished product will be, they immediately become more comfortable. However, I must caution.... try not to show an unflattering photo, or one where it is over/under exposed. Show them a photo you know is going to be good with or without post-processing.
  4. Booze it up! When all else fails, if they would like to incorporate some liquid courage into the mix... have at it. I am by no means recommending to enter into a beer pong tournament prior to the session... but a glass of wine might help ease them in and feel a tad bit more comfortable. No joke, at my last session, the couple brought the two bottles you see below.... and I obviously had to snap a quick photo. Though he was nervous about the engagement session, I will say on record, that he never had to use them. However, if he did feel the need... I would have had no issue at all :) Whatever it takes for the shot! 

Hope this helps, and if you have other tips... feel free to share :) ps.... don't they look comfortable???

Making Your Client Feel Comfortable in Front of the Camera | Cathy Durig Photography