• Bride & Thrive

How to Make Your Clients Feel Comfortable in Front of The Camera

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

You may have the best equipment and technical experience out there, but if you can't make your client feel comfortable in front of the camera, what good is it? Helping your clients feel confident takes practice, but there are some very simple and achievable ways that I personally have found helpful in my own wedding photography career that I would love to share with you all!

Here are some of my expert tips and tricks to help you master your client experience...

Have a Plan...in Advance

Research in advance the kinds of poses you want to incorporate in your shoot. I literally do this before EVERY shoot! I jump on Instagram or Pinterest, look for inspiration, and save the ones I like. In fact, I will even make a posing guide or list like this one to download to my phone and have handy for the day of the session to refer back to. I try to choose natural looking poses, and then I imagine how I would direct my clients in order to achieve the look I'm going for.

...I imagine how I would direct my clients in order to achieve the look I'm going for...

For example, if I chose this photo for inspiration, I would probably say something like "Slowly sweep your hair away from your face and look out into the distance."

Keep the Conversation (& the Compliments) Rolling...

When I'm working with clients, I am constantly trying to find ways to compliment them as we shoot...Even a simple "YES!" or "That looks AMAZING!" is enough, and it's perfectly okay to put these affirmations on repeat!

I myself have experienced first hand what it's like to have a photographer who barely says a word, and even for someone like myself who knows what looks good in front of the camera, it's extremely awkward and uncomfortable.

*(P.S. I highly recommend every photographer gets IN FRONT of the camera once in awhile to remind yourself what it's like to be a client. Take mental notes of what your photographer does well and also what they didn't do well -- then, take it, learn from it, and grow!)

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt!

Sometimes when I direct my clients, they won't always do something they way I originally envisioned it...

However, this is not always a bad thing! In fact, sometimes their interpretation will look just as good, if not better, and they will pose in a way that is unique to how they perceived your direction.

Instead of trying to correct, ADAPT! And go with it! If you're client hesitates or isn't sure if they are doing something right, it's okay to say "ACTUALLY, WAIT! KEEP DOING THAT! THAT'S PERFECT!"

There is nothing more unattractive than a rigid photographer who is so set on a specific pose that they won't adapt, and who keeps trying to correct the situation...This only breeds an insecure, uncomfortable client as well as a frustrated photographer...

Don't be Afraid to Model the Pose or Show it to Your Clients

Some clients are just more visual learners than others. Sometimes I will literally take out my phone and show them a pose I have saved so that they know what I'm talking about (OR I will just model it myself the best I can). My clients usually respond with something like "OH! Now I get it!" and they immediately become much more confident and comfortable. Where there is clarity, there is confidence...and it's the photographer's job to provide that clarity.

Whenever a client has hesitation, that's an OPPORTUNITY to gain their trust and build their confidence. It's not a sign of failure, but rather, it's a chance for you to give them excellent client service by interacting and providing the right response or course of action.

Where there is clarity, there is confidence...

If it Doesn't Work, Don't Force it!

First off, I would never FORCE a client into a pose like this photo, nor would I attempt this pose right off the bat.

This pose requires a great deal of confidence, vulnerability, and the courage to try something different.

If I'm shooting individual portraits, I will assess the bride's comfort level first and begin with poses that are really natural and simple to understand.

I've learned from experience that people are not typically comfortable looking STRAIGHT at the camera with a model stare like this bride is doing here.

Thus, I don't force the issue, but rather ask the bride to do something like look down at her flowers or look away into the distance.

*(One of the best directives to make a bride more comfortable is to ask them to smile at their groom as he stands off to the side.)

Then, if the bride starts to build more confidence, GREAT! Go ahead and start asking her to look directly into the camera. Start off by asking her to smile at the camera first, and then eventually ask for no smile (i.e. the model stare).

If she doesn't build confidence, stick to the level she is comfortable with, stay complimentary, and once you get the necessary shots, call it quits (you want to give them the time they paid for, but you also don't want to force someone to keep shooting, especially on a wedding day. It's okay to let them relax for a few minutes and chat with their loved ones. Ultimately, you want them to TRUST you and like working with you, especially if they will be taking more photos with you later on throughout the wedding day).

to summarize....

  • Plan ahead...

  • Compliment...

  • Adapt...

  • Model or Show the Pose...

  • & DON'T Force...

Do these things and your clients WILL trust you...they WILL gain confidence...and you WILL get those killer 5 star reviews!!

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