It wasn’t until someone forced me to take photographs with my boyfriend John that I realized how nerve wracking it really is. As a wedding and engagement photographer, I am constantly telling couples to kiss, put your foreheads together, stare into each other’s eyes, etc. For me, it has become the norm and prior to my experience on the other side of the camera, I had no idea what my clients were going through. A couple of summers ago, I photographed a wedding in the Dominican Republic. The bride was a photography major in college and loved taking photos. When in the Dominican, she decided it was an absolute must to get my boyfriend and me in front of her camera. From this experience I gained so much insight from my clients perspective and as a result became a much more relatable photographer.
I was so excited to get cute pics until I actually got there and she started directing me. You want me to do what?! You want us to kiss and hold the pose there while you rearrange your lighting? But it’s hot outside… this is so uncomfortable… I feel my nose sweating…
Those were just some of the thoughts going through my head in the first five minutes of our session. John and I felt so uncomfortable and couldn’t help but nervously giggle. As the session went on, we gradually got more comfortable and settled into ourselves and really had a great time.
Ebby L Photography
Above, John and I had been holding that kiss for what felt like hours. The entire time, we tried not to laugh holding the pose and I am so glad we kept it together. I mean, look at that wave behind us!
The important takeaway from the awkward insight – make sure your clients know it’s okay to be nervous in the beginning. Make silly jokes or share your own experiences on the other side of the camera. Tell them about other clients getting a beer before the session or staring in the mirror way too long to figure out their good side.
Being a photographer, I am constantly sharing photos of clients I take pictures of. In the first 3-4 years of business, my Facebook profile and business page were cluttered with images of others. It wasn’t until I saw another photographer post portfolio pictures of herself that I realized how important it was. Your clients want to know who you are! By showing them pretty pictures of yourself, not just iPhone selfies, you’re helping them identify you with your high-quality work. For an added bonus, hold a camera in your pictures to give them an even bigger reminder. For other social media branding tips, check out the article Official Portfolio vs. Instagram.
The photo on the left is a step in the right direction but a poor quality image. You want the photos of yourself to be a representation of the images you will give your clients. For more insight on how to take better “selfies”, check out Bill’s article and learn to take super selfies.
Ebby L Photography
Yes… you read that right… after my nerve-wracking, giggly experience taking photos with John.. I actually felt more confident! I gained assurance in myself after seeing that even though we felt like the definition of awkward, we still got great pictures! I also became more certain in my ability to take pictures. After learning how my clients could be feeling, it made me realize that them getting back their beautiful images I took is even more exciting than I thought. Now when I hear clients say, “I hope we weren’t too awkward!” or “ah does my hair look okay?” I feel confident showing them a sneak peek on my camera screen to reassure them that yes you guys look THIS GOOD and that you have nothing to worry about.
So overall, get on the other side of the lens! Ask a photog buddy to take an afternoon and exchange headshots with you. Make a day of it with your significant other and teach them to use the camera while also getting pictures of yourself. Learn how you feel in front of the camera. Show off the photos of yourself and use them to represent your brand/business. If you’re just starting out as a photographer, make sure to read 8 Things I wish Somebody Told Me When I Was A Beginner Photographer.