1) Get the most natural smiles. People like your work, and like you if you relate to them. When you make new clients/customers, create a conversation with them. Get them talking. The more you can get to know about them, the easier it is to tailor what they want. Doing this will get you what most photographers strive for: candid photography. When your clients are laughing with you and talking with you like they’ve been your best friend for years, you will get amazing smiles because they trust you.
2) Children need respect too. Even the shyest of little people can come around if you treat them with respect. Many parents don’t talk down to their child. So don’t assume that you need to raise your voice to that high pitched giddy fakeness (leave that for pets-even though some of them can’t tolerate it either-I’ll come back to that in a minute though) Many kids will see right through you and become even less interested in what you want them to do. Your mission is to get this little person to trust you. So, the best way to build trust: be real. Don’t lie, don’t bribe, and talk like you’re talking to anyone else. Make sure you also tell parents (in a polite manner) you’re the professional, and it’s your job to get this kid to smile the way you want them to. Also remind them not to bribe the kid prior to your session, this gives the child(ren) a negative vibe like “this session is going to be a terrible experience, but if you behave, I’ll reward you.” A professional photographer will make the experience fun if given the right chance. Remind parents that is part of what you do, and Do it! Have a mini session ahead of time with parents to explain these things and to set expectations for both parties. As you have some, so do they, this is a good opportunity to find out what they want.
3) That leads me to my next point, ALWAYS pre-plan your sessions. Find out exactly where you’re going, what time frame is available to you, and what you plan to do during the session. For newborns, this may be a 3 hour session to allow for clothing changes, diaper changes, crying, feeding, etc. For families going to multiple locations, it may be the same depending on drive time and cooperation for the kids to warm up to you. Make sure you have an idea of what poses to do ahead of time to, this significantly cuts down time trying to think of poses and keeps the session flowing and your poses unique.
4) Be fast. Get lots of practice trying to capture certain poses, get to know your camera and its settings thoroughly. Doing this can be the difference between ok and amazing, or blurry and perfect. It’s ok not to get paid to learn something new. Keep in mind, building a solid portfolio for potential clients can earn you more money than that one session.
5) Know your role, as a photographer, you have to wear many metaphorical hats. Each one provides different functions. Sometimes you have to be a friend, a clown, serious, saucy, etc. Try finding which role will get you your desired results for a certain pose. More often than not, distinguishing each role can be used on more than one client.
6) Pets are hard. You need to first learn what gets their attention without making them come to you. I can tell you right now, with almost every pet, whistling makes them come or gives you undesired outcomes. Some squeaky toys will grab their attention without movement. Certain noises can also get what you’re looking for. You WILL at some point have to follow them around so they get comfortable with you taking photos. It is also beneficial if you tell the pet owner not to try and make them look, because like with children, they will look at the parent and not you.
7) Perfection takes time. I ALWAYS tell this to my clients, if you don’t want to be patient, I’m probably not the photographer for you. You know your photography skill set better than anyone, use it to your advantage. The surest way to get repeat clients and referred is to do things right the first time. We can’t please everyone so be sure you know your time frames and be honest with your clients about them. Before they leave their session, review what you’ve done with them, and make sure that you got everything they expected.
8) Under promise, and OVER deliver. It is important to set standards for both the client and yourself, however, always try to overachieve. Go out of your way for your clients, they’ll appreciate it and it will benefit you in some way.
9) Keep learning. Always explore new ways to better your craft. Because in the field of photography, there is always going to be someone better, trying to outdo you.
10) Do NOT get discouraged. Yes, there IS going to always be someone out there better and trying to outdo you, but be true to yourself, you are one person, and in time, if you try hard enough, you WILL reach your goals. Set small ones at first, the bigger goals will come with experience and time. Believe in yourself because you are your own worst critic. And good luck!
I hope these tips helped you! Please leave me a comment below and be sure to SHARE this blog if it did help.