Monday, November 23, 2015

Behind The Frame: Building Trust with your Clients

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Gaining your clients trust is one of the most important elements of taking a portrait.  Shooting a portrait is like a dance, it must be done together and you must trust your dance partner.  If you are posing your client and feel nervous or unsure they'll pick up on it and it will make them nervous, which will then reflect in their face in the image.  I'm always excited to try out a new idea and they definitely don't always work, but when that happens you still have to remain confident.  Sometimes when it's really not working I won't bother taking the photo and I'll just laugh and say well that didn't work and make some kind of joke to make them feel at ease and then immediately go into something that I know will look great so we can get right back into the flow of the session.  For many couples I get to know the bride well through meetings, phone calls and emails, but often I've only met or talked to the groom once before their engagement session or wedding (which is one of the great reasons to do an engagement session) so they tend to trust me a little less than the bride.  For this session we were on the beach right at sunset and the sun was the most amazing shade of pink shining right over the horizon.  However it was a little too bright, and being on the beach there was nothing to flag the light with so I asked the couple to lift their blanket above their heads and look at each other under the blanket.  The light diffused into this perfect pink sheen, with a little sun flare right over the groom's head.  Now I had the great light, but I could tell the groom felt a little silly so this is where trust becomes important.  My personality by nature is to gush and get very excited when I know I'm getting an image like this, others may become more quiet or focused, but whatever you do you have to communicate to your client that what their doing, although it may seem a little odd, will make an incredible photo.  I asked them to lean into each other like they were about to kiss, but instead of kissing, just smile at each other, which creates this lovely very intimate moment.  This photo feels to me as if someone literally lifted the blanket from on top their heads and is peering into a little slice of life, which just happens to be a moment full of love as their eyes lock and his hand gently pulls her in closer from the waist.  If they hadn't trusted me that this photo was great the gaze in their eyes would have been completely different, and that, for me at least, is the whole magic of the photo.

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