Before almost every photo session, my clients prep me for how awkward they are behind the camera. Although it’s my job, I understand their feelings because I am not a huge fan of getting my own picture taken. It’s a nerve racking task and most sessions are for special occasions so you want your pictures to come out perfect. Once a lens is pointed in your face, everything becames more noticeable. Your fingers become claw like, your arms become straight and heavy, and you are no longer naturally posed. When getting my own pictures taken, I have had several photographers tell me to, “be yourself” or “act romantic” which I have found really hard to do. When you point at camera at someone and ask them to be themselves, what does that mean? Dance, work, laugh, walk, sleep? That statement is too broad and I have learned how important it is to be directive so that posing is natural. Throughout my sessions, I talk the entire shoot so that my clients are less aware that they are getting their picture taken. Rather than telling your clients to laugh, create situations that will make them laugh. Ask them to tell you about their first impressions of one another or their most awkward date. Snap away while they tell you their stories. When I see photographers tell their clients to laugh on command, the same look always presents itself… wide eyes, chin back, an unnatural open mouth. If your clients don’t have funny stories, share some of yours. Trent and I have a handful of embarrassing moments and I’ll throw in a few which often makes my clients laugh. Joy and laughter is my favorite thing to capture. You want it to look candid so it’s important as a photographer to be prepped with ideas of how you are going to bring those emotions to life. Another tricky task with posing is hands. My clients tell me that their hands are what usually feel the most awkward. Always find a job for their fingers before guiding them into their next pose. Thumb in pockets, grab your jacket, twirl your hair, hand on a wall, grab a branch, hands in back pockets, etc. If you let their hands hang down by their sides, they will often clench and look unnatural. I find posing to be the most important variable in a session and as a photographer I want all my clients to be able to trust that I will be able to direct them throughout their entire shoot.
Meet Brandon and Becca. Becca loves taking photos, but she falls into the same category as me where she prefers to be behind the lens rather than in front. They told me they would need direction so that their posing looked natural. However, my clients never give themselves enough credit because after giving them a few directions they were posing with ease. These two were AMAZING throughout their entire session and were so much fun to photograph. Towards the middle of the session, they started to get the hang of things and they were able to pick up common poses and direct themselves. Once this happens, I know my couples are completely comfortable behind the camera and we are really able to have fun and get some creative shots. Brandon and Becca attended the same high school and shared mutual friends. However, they didn’t care for one another (to put it nicely) during that time. It wasn’t until several years later when they bumped into one another through a mutual friend that they decided to hang out and talk. It was on a group date and they thought their hangout would be awkward because of the perceptions they had of one another back in high school. The hangout went well, they planned another outting, their friends “conveniently” bailed on them, and they had a great first date (although they didn’t call it that at the time). Their friendship grew and they went out dancing, hiking, and out for drinks. Finally, Brandon passed the friend line and asked Becca on an official date and from that point on they were inseparable. They have been together for over two years and Brandon proposed to her during a picnic back in December 2013. I’m so in love with all the images we captured and the gorgeous golden light we received toward the end of our session. I can’t wait for their wedding, congrats Brandon and Becca!