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Filed in blog, Family, Mentoring, Portland — February 7, 2023

3 Tips On Capturing Genuine Collection

Mom holds her small son to her shoulder and he closes his eyes
Mom and son walk together cheek to cheek
Mom picks up her son
Mom and Dad hold two kids while giggling
Son holds Mom's cheeks as she smiles up at him
Son twirls Mom's hair around
Family looks out at the water together

3 Tips On Capturing Genuine Connection

How do you tell your client’s story in a meaningful, AUTHENTIC way? I get it. I’ve been there. You see these amazing images captured by other photographers and they just seem so natural but when you try to create something similar, your clients just don’t seem to settle into it organically.

Tip #1-Preparing Your Client:

Communicating with clients prior to the session can look very different from client to client. I generally feel that most clients fall into three communication styles…….

  1. The client that just loves everything you do, expresses trusts in you that you will make things look magical and therefore gives you full creative control
  2. The client who is super communicative with sending you lots of inspo images and wants a lot of insight to help prepare
  3. Lastly, the client who may give you a few details but doesn’t really know what they ultimately want

The best way I’ve found to properly prepare all three types of clients is to hop on a zoom and just open up a dialogue. Look at images together and walk them through what you see when looking at the images. Ask them what they like with specific images. A lot of times clients can’t really pinpoint what it is they like about an image, they just know they like it. When I can strip the images down into layers, it helps give them context as to what they are seeing but also helps trigger a direction with planning their shoot. Describe the textures of the background, what type of lighting is in that image, how the wardrobe compliments movement or other subjects, etc. Be vulnerable with them as much as you can, that way they can be vulnerable with you.

Tip #2-Prompt Your Client Rather than Pose

I really try to prompt my clients rather than “pose” them. I found early on that most times clients feel extremely awkward when I get in close and move them around with a hands on approach. Taking a step back a bit and asking them to do a simple task or two together allows them the space to do it in their own, unique way which also gives them the space to settle into it naturally. Does that make sense? If you are too intense with specific instructions it can make them feel like they may do something wrong which then makes things stiff. Example:”Hey, why don’t you grab your kiddo’s hand and go find your favorite flower together?” This allows them to walk hand in hand naturally, interact together when picking a flower and settle into it naturally. Conversely, if you were to grab a flower for them and then hand it to the kiddo, place it into their hand, etc, it would feel rehearsed when they then hand it to their mom. You may get a cute moment out of it when posing them but you’ve missed all of the excitement leading up to it between them AND the natural moment of the kiddo looking up to their mom all on their own with a genuine, organic look.

Tip #3-Read The Room/Environment

Some clients will naturally interact mostly on their own and some will look at you needing you to lead them. When I say read the room that’s what I’m referring to. If they are all kinds of stiff, be silly. Be the awkward one so they don’t have to be. If they are seemingly stiff, ask them to move. Keep them moving. Most times when I pose couples I will have them sway back and forth while holding each other. This simple movement triggers a natural response and allows them to relax. If I’m posing a single subject and feeling like things are just too robotic I will ask them to close their eyes and inhale/exhale as if they’re in yoga. I will literally breathe out loud with them as if I’m a yoga instructor if needed. I’m not kidding! When I mentioned earlier to be vulnerable I really mean it. Be confident and be silly. Be their biggest fangirl and tell them how amazing they look. When I look through my reviews from clients, you want to know what the common thread is in almost all of them? It’s that I made them feel beautiful, like a friend and/or that they just felt so comfortable. Trust me when I say, while it does somewhat come naturally to me to be able to connect with other humans, it also comes from a place of being vulnerable. If I’m not vulnerable, how can I ask them to be?

Side note…….this mama in the photos above sent me one of my favorite texts from a client to date following her first session with me. It said, “Okay, so you’re a magician. My kid literally ate rocks and we somehow look like models. You’re worth every penny and more. THANK YOU for these!” Backstory……..She was feeling stressed midway through the session and I believe I said something along the lines of, “I promise you that even though this feels like a s*** show, your gallery will be beautiful. I’ve got you!” She relaxed after that and we had a great time together.

Christina if you’re reading this, I still laugh every time I think of this text and then smile. You’re one of my faves for life! Thank you my dear friend for the sweet words and for sharing your adorable family with me!

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