Man or woman, sometimes we as photographers need a little reminder on how to connect with our clients, and sometimes we are transitioning from one niche to another and need some help on just how to do that. Today I want to share with you my favorite tips on how to connect with women. I have a post coming out soon on connecting with men so don’t worry, I have you covered.
Maybe the most important thing for you, the photographer, is to be calm, well prepared and friendly. If you are insecure, stressed or nervous, it will have a impact on your models and clients So do your best to be relaxed and calm before and during a shoot. This will help make you more creative with your photos.
Become at ease BEFORE you start shooting
Talk with your model or client for as long as you like before your shoot. I usually spend about 10-20 minutes before we start the actual shoot. I talk about everyday life and offer them something to drink. Share some of your ideas for great pictures, but you want to know if they are looking for anything specific. Nine times out of 10, they just want you to do what you do best. But it’s good to ask. Help your model/client feel empowered as well as encouraged. If they don’t want the power, then make them feel they are in good hands.
Give a few words of encouragement.
A few words of encouragement sprinkled throughout a photo shoot can help relax your model/client. Remember it’s almost a guaranteed that they’ll be more nervous and uncomfortable than you are. Give them some confidence, and their guard will slowly come down. Then, you can really connect and make some images that show them at their best.
Don´t talk about photography and gear
Don´t talk about gear, lenses, exposure, shutter speed, or the lighting. Unless your model is a photographer, herself, she will not have any interest in hearing about this. All she wants to know is that she is doing well. Remember, give her encouragement and keep her feeling at ease.
No big mirrors
Avoid having big mirrors in your studio/location. You should be your model’s mirror and are the one telling her that everything looks good. Only keep a small face mirror for her to correct makeup during the shoot.This might frustrate her at the beginning, but it will help her relax as you keep shooting and telling her that she looks great.
Pay attention to details
Look for things that may be out of place, such as rings or earrings that don’t match an outfit. Watch necklaces that don’t belong in the shot. Is the model’s nail polish chipped, did some hair fall out of place or is one shirt sleeve longer than the other?
Follow the 80/20 Rule
Portrait photography should be about having fun. You and your model should interact together in a positive way. But don’t be too serious! Relax, smile and have fun. Remember to let your own personality shine through. This will help her in feeling free to also let go and have fun with her session. The most important goal is to leave the session energized and excited to see the end result. On every shoot, I always aim to create some “safe” images of the model. For example, two head shots and two half body shots of perfect quality.
Getting these shots takes 20% of my time during a session. When those are done, and I know they are good, I try all kinds of fun and crazy ideas. Some of these photos will work magically and some will end up in the trash. However, this is your chance to create a masterpiece that she will love and cherish forever and one that you will add to your portfolio.
Photograph her from her best angles
Doing this is not something you can learn overnight. This takes time and experience to know which poses work for which body types. It is good to always think about hiding areas of her body which she is not so happy about: it can be her arms (cover those with a beautiful scarf) or her stomach (cover it with a pretty dress or a stylish corsage). Take notes after each session about the poses that worked and those that didn’t. Use your notes to refresh your memory before next shoot.