Confidence comes easy for some brides and grooms. Having a camera around doesn’t phase them one bit. They feel entirely sure of themselves and don’t think twice about how they look during portraits.
But this is definitely NOT the case for everyone.
I believe that everyone has this ability to reveal their true selves in front of the camera, but that some people need extra help navigating their way there. It’s our responsibility as professionals to guide them to this place of security so that the end product (prints, albums, etc.) will create genuine feelings of pride and happiness. We don’t want them looking at their wedding day photos down the road thinking “I look so uncomfortable” or “that doesn’t even look like me, why am I making that awkward face?”
Here’s some advice on how you can uncover that hidden, beautiful confidence that will radiate through images…
ENCOURAGE AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION
Engagement sessions are not just for providing save-the-date or wedding website images. They’re an opportunity to learn your client. To understand their comfort zones, insecurities, natural movements and overall personalities. This valuable time with your client basically gives you a mental cheat sheet so that you’re prepared on the day of their wedding. This valuable time together before the wedding day will help you predict where challenges may arise, and therefore be proactive with an effective, customized game plan.
Furthermore, an engagement session is the PERFECT opportunity for a client to shake off those nerves that interfere with their ability to let loose and be themselves. The walls come down and you’ve suddenly reached an understanding of what each of you can expect on that special day.
P.S. Don’t be afraid to explain this to a client who is undecided about whether or not to schedule an engagement session. They may not have realized this va e, and will appreciate you bringing it to their attention as they consider their options.
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPLIMENT & GIVE HELPFUL FEEDBACK
The client can’t see the back of your camera – YOU can. When you take a moment to review an image, and realize they’ve NAILED it – say something! Be clear about what they did beautifully and let them enjoy that excitement with you. This is HUGELY important. Paying those valuable compliments is not only a wonderful way of building their confidence throughout the session, but it also gives them really great feedback to use throughout the rest of the portraits.
BE SUPER-AWARE OF DISCOMFORT & REACT QUICKLY
Discomfort may arise, especially when you’re asking a couple to kiss, wrap their arms around each other, etc. You’ve suddenly stepped into their intimate space, and so it’s absolutely natural for them to feel awkward or maybe resist some of the direction you’re offering. Don’t get discouraged and give up on that gorgeous pose or movement. Instead, remain super-aware throughout the session so that you can recognize any discomfort arising. Once you see it – squash it! Crack a joke to clear the air, tweak the pose a bit to accommodate, or maybe push that photo idea to later in the portraits so they have a little more time to unwind. This proactive approach, followed by an immediate and effective reaction, is what will move the portraits along smoothly and create even more comfort for your client!