Photography: Setting the Mood

Set the Mood

Most people are not enthused to be getting their picture taken. People tend to think it’s an awkward process that will produce photos that reflect that awkwardness. We all have that terrible school photo that makes us cringe every time we see it hanging on the wall at our parents house. “Picture Day” has never had a good wrap, but it’s my job as the photographer to change that stigma.

As a photographer, I crave to be very intentional about creating an environment where clients feel comfortable. Whether it’s engagement photos, corporate headshots, family pictures, or weddings, It’s my job to capture the true essence of who people are. When everything is said and done, I want my client to walk away saying, “Well, that was actually kind of fun!”

I’ve been photographing for seven years and I’ve learned a few tips that always work when your capturing people:

  1. Show people your personality. If you’re buttoned up and closed off, your client will be as well. You want them to show you their personality, they deserve to see yours too!
  2. Become fast friends. Make conversation and get to know your client. Think of them as the most interesting person in the room, because honestly, they are.
  3. Play music. And turn it up. There is nothing quite like listening to a Top 80’s Hits playlist that will automatically make any personality shine.
  4. Laugh a little. We all know what our fake smiles look like in pictures. It’s our job to capture people’s real smiles. Laughing will do that in a heartbeat.
  5. Read the room. Stay attuned to each person’s personality that you’re photographing. If you’re an extrovert like me, learn when to tone it down a bit when someone is a bit shyer.
  6. Be Honest. If you see a fly away hair or an uneven collar, tell your client to adjust. Think critically about what you see in front of you, and stage the person in the most flattering way.
  7. Give instruction. First, tell people to stand up straight. Second, most people have no idea how to stand for a photo or what way to tilt their head. Go on and tell them. You’re the professional, they’ll listen to you!
  8. Be genuine. Give compliments where compliments are due. When you first met them, did you notice something beautiful about them? Tell them! Being genuine goes a long way. When you get a good shot, verbally assure your client. This will make them feel at ease and productive.

Taking photos doesn’t have to be awkward. It doesn’t have to suck. Keeping these things in mind, you, too, can have a successful, dare I say fun, photoshoot.

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