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In my recent article “Capturing Real Moments And Connecting With Your Subject,” I saw a comment from a reader who had a great idea. The comment was from Catherine Cattanach, and here’s the excerpt from the comment:
I’m just wondering whether you might consider writing an article on these one-liners that are effective in generating natural smiles and laughs, and then in the comments section people can contribute what works for them?
I think this is a great idea, because I have never been able to find any great lists of things to say to clients on the web. I’ve sort of just had to make stuff up as I go, and learn from trial and error.
So, what are your best and most successful tricks for making your subjects comfortable while you’re behind the lens? We want to hear from you! It could be a joke that you tell, a one line phrase, or simply a tip or trick along the way that helps your clients feel comfortable. I’ll start everything off with a few of mine and then we’d all love to hear what you all have to add…
1.) If I’m photographing an engaged couple, things can get pretty steamy between the two. They are going through a time in their lives of absolute bliss, and they are in that in-between stage where they aren’t dating, but they aren’t married yet. When I tell them to kiss while I take a few shots, sometimes I’ll say something to the effect of “Whoa there, let’s pull it back a litte, I didn’t say make out!” Here’s an image I got recently just after saying something like this…
2.) When photographing children (which I don’t do terribly often), I’ve found that things work best when they feel like they are in control and have a say in how things will go. Any time they can have authority, or prove me wrong in some way, they are happy. I know I’ve shown this image here before, but it’s a great example of this technique. This boy was NOT happy to be on a photoshoot, and we only had about an hour of time, so I had to figure out something quick. I found a brick ledge along a path and simply made a bet with him. I told him, “You see that ledge over there? That’s a big ledge and I think it’s probably too big for you to jump off of. What do you think?” Well, as you can imagine, about .5 seconds after uttering those words he was running over to the ledge and jumping as high as he could in the air. I got this shot of him just as he landed…
3.) Another thing I always do with children is give them a choice for a shot. If I have two spots I know I want to shoot at, I’ll ask the kids, “Ok, we’re going to take pictures at these two spots, which do you want to go to first?” Just that little amount of control over the situation is often enough to lift their spirits and get them excited. For this image I said, “Alright, we need to get some pictures along this path here. Do you want to walk toward the camera or away from it?” The older brother immediately said ‘away’ and I asked him to hold his sisters hand as they walked. Once they were about halfway down the path, I told the younger sister that whatever she did, DON’T look back at the camera!
Alright, there’s my tips, now we want to hear from you!