I’m very open with my clients about why engagement sessions are so important to what we do. Part of why is that an engagement session is the perfect time for me to se exactly what poses and cues work best for each couple. If I’m trying to do that on a wedding day, things feel rushed and I end up eating a lot of time trying to figure out who they are together.
Part of figuring out who they are and how they interact is trial and error. I have hundreds of posing variations rambling around in my head at any given time and chances are, every now and again, we’re all bound to get it wrong from time to time. Here’s how to steer your clients right out of a pose that doesn’t work with just a few easy tips.
- Stay calm. Your clients can sense when things aren’t going right. No photographer is perfect and chances are, your clients don’t expect you to be. It’s okay to get it wrong now and again — the important thing is to recognize that you do and steer them right out of it and into something that works without them ever knowing.
- Praise them through it. Engagement sessions for me, are all about building trust. From the beginning, it’s our first portrait time together and they’re nervous. It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve been in front of a camera, it’s all new because they’ve never been with you. If you’re suddenly saying “Nope, that looks weird,” or “Ooh, not like that!” , your clients are going to immediately revert back into that mode they started with. Nervous. Second guessing themselves, and maybe even feeling a little bit guilty for “doing it wrong.” One of the most important things you can do to continue to help your clients open up with you together is to praise them through what they’re doing wrong. Instead, snap a few and say, “That’s great guys, let’s try this,” and continue on.
- Don’t immediately move them completely. Instead, simply try a variation of the pose before breaking the whole thing apart. Take a moment while photographing to figure out what’s really wrong and go from there to try and steer them into the right direction. His arm being weird? Instead, have him cup her cheek, or instruct him in a new way to move the awkward arm. If she’s sitting in an unflattering way, simply reposition her by having her angle her legs differently or move to a different shooting angle to shoot it more flatteringly. The point is, try to make it work before completely throwing it out.
Hope these tips help you at your next session steer your clients out when their pose turns awkward! And because every post is better with a photo, here is a very lovely couple in a wonderfully non-awkward pose from one of my favorite recent engagements. They nailed it. #modelstatus