Yikes… you have a beautiful couple and the light could not be more gorgeous! You start out strong and suddenly you have NO IDEA what pose is next! Does this happen to you? No? Is it just me?
Well it used to be…
Before I spent a ton of time and money on all things posing…. I would spend hours in front of Pinterest and try to memorize all the poses. Sometimes I would add them to my phone or write cues on the back of my hand! I even bought prompt cards to hang off my camera bag in case my mind went blank!
Maybe this doesn’t seem like such a terrible strategy but it does two important things to the flow of your portrait session.
First, if you are at all like me and get into the zone, you are not going to stop shooting to start scrolling frantically through your phone or prompt cards. Instead, I would rush my clients into new locations and redo the posing we have already done, waiting for all my memorized ideas to come flooding back. When your session goes something like this, all your images start to look the same and does not provide much variety. If you don’t feel very inspired about the posing neither will your clients. Your session will feel choppy and maybe a bit rushed as you hurriedly move your subjects around your location.
Second of all, whether you are stalling while you try to remember all your poses or you actually pause the shoot to scroll through your notes, your clients will not feel confident in themselves or in you as their photographer. They may feel like the session is not going well or that they are doing something wrong. Worse they may feel like you don’t think they are amazing models and getting the best pictures of them. If you are not confident and in control, your clients will have zero confidence in their images.
They will remember how you made them feel!
One of the best pieces of advice I have heard and it completely resounds with me is this. Your clients may not remember all the poses of their session but they will remember how you made them feel. When they see their images, it reminds them of feeling awkward, unattractive, or uncomfortable. They will not love them. No matter how amazing they are. Clients who receive an amazing customer experience from you, have made them feel beautiful and that they rocked their session, they are going to remember this feeling and will be excited about their images and love them! They will love you! Your clients will tell all their friends and share all their images on social media!
Make them feel like rock stars! Use lots and lots of verbal words of affirmation! Praise them for everything. It seems strange but your clients are looking for you to tell them that they are doing it right and that they look amazing!
Be in control and confident!
Your clients are looking to you to tell them what to do! They are also looking to you to make sure they are doing it right!
It is a good idea to start your session with your camera still in your bag and just chat and make connections for the first 5 minutes. Give them an overview of what is going to happen in the next hour. Assure them that all your clients are not models or had any modeling experience! You will guide them through all the poses!
It is natural for the first 10-15 mins to feel a little uneasy and awkward. Remind your clients that this is normal and when you sense they are really getting into it and posing becomes more comfortable for them… Remind them how far they have come! They are now ready for “advanced” posing! This totally boosts their confidence.
Acknowledge their effort and how great they are doing.
When something doesn’t look amazing or maybe they didn’t follow your directions exactly… don’t correct them… just say “oh my bad, I meant to say “this” or “that” until they are in the position you intended. You never want them to feel like they did something wrong. Make sure your directions are clear and easy to follow! Demo as much as you can!
My favorite line from Amy and Jordan Demos is “feels weird! But looks great!” It makes them laugh. I have had many clients that tell me after they see their images that they remember me saying ” I know if feels really weird, but trust me it looks amazing!”, they are amazed at the final product because it felt so unnatural to them in the moment but they loved the end result! Build their trust in you! Be the professional!
Remember to be fun, interactive and silly if need be. Most important be your authentic self and really focus on serving and loving your clients!