As a photographer, I can tell you right now: You have to be pretty tough. Your family shows up all dressed and beautiful and smiling and....expectant. They paid you to make their session dreamy and they are waiting for you to lead them. Today I'm going to throw out a few pointers to avoid stressing yourself into a knot and how to make your sessions feel peaceful. Here we go!
1. Ask yourself, "What is a session?"
Sometimes as new photographers, we worry about our "set list", our poses or images we "have to get." This is something I try to avoid now because the session is NOT a mini--I'm not shooting so my people can put their posed photo on their cards. I do love when my clients use their photos for holiday cards, don't get me wrong, but the sessions I take on are meant to tell the family story. It has to show interaction, in order to be the answer to the question: "A session is telling a story."
Get your family gathered. Clump them up in a group, spread them out over rocks, mix them into smaller groups, but gather them so that the photos you're taking tell the story of the family. Once they're gathered, you can move in and tweak a bit, but they should be turned inward, toward each other, not focused on you. Get a spot you love, gather your family there, and capture them interacting with each other.
Once everyone's gathered, get them touching. Encourage kisses, hands, noses, skin on skin. This will create natural reactions, usually giggles, lots of love. I barely have to tell my families how to react when we do this because it comes from within them.
4. Take a beat.
Breathe. Put your camera on your hip. Think.
You don't have to fill the air with chatter or movement every second. You can think through your location and shift if need be. You're not perfect, and neither is nature. Sometimes a great idea just doesn't work and you'll need to move. Guess what? That's totally fine, and it tells your family that you know what you want.
Your families need to know how they're doing. They can't see themselves, so they need you to give them some words of affirmation. Tell them it looks great! Encourage them, shift them, be excited! They will respond to your aura.
What do you think? How do you help your families move naturally in your sessions?