No matter how experienced you are as a photographer, any shoot can be slightly intimidating at times. It's easy to doubt your ability to satisfy someone's needs, especially if they're paying you. It can also be difficult to find a stable way to attract a variety of loyal clients. Even though I've been taking photos for over 8 years, I still find myself nervously approaching those who are interested in working with me. I often ask myself things like "What if they don't like the results?" or "What if they'll regret paying me?" After all, you want to make the most of your skills in order to make someone's day through your artistic vision. Imagining scenarios in which the opposite happens can prove to be an ever-present obstacle. The good news is that these shoots can be exceedingly fun and creative, even if your clients are a family you don't know well.
There are several steps you can take which will increase your chances of having an exciting, successful, and productive photo shoot, be it with strangers or with friends. I hope these tips encourage you to pursue your dreams without letting doubts and fears consume you.
Before your shoot, get to know your client. A phone call or several text messages might seem like enough, but being more involved will earn you bonus points. It can be an invitation to have tea or to meet up at a local cafe. It can even be a pleasant discussion right before a shoot. Think of this as a friendly relationship between you and another individual. In order for it to be meaningful, you must understand each other's creative visions. Your client doesn't need to be a full-time artist - every person has a unique outlook on life that is worth listening to. By discussing your shoot beforehand, you'll be exposed to fresh ideas, thoughts, and expectations. Without expecting it, your discussion could inspire you in many ways. This, after all, is a wonderful collaboration!
In addition to giving you mind-opening ideas that will enhance your shoot, a meaningful conversation will make your client more comfortable in your presence. Once they familiarize themselves with your style, their confidence in you will grow. I love having short but meaningful conversations with my models before a shoot. This way, I acquire valuable information (which helps me take the best possible photos for my models) and get the chance to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone (which gets rid of somuch tension and stress). If your subject is confident in your skills and aware of your artistic vision, they'll glow in your photographs, resulting in photos that will compel them to work with you more often.
You might be brimming with exciting and creative ideas to satisfy both your inner artist and your clients. Despite your beautiful enthusiasm, don't instantly dive into complicated compositions when you start to shoot. Dedicate the first few minutes to taking very simple portraits. This will leave room for guidance, conversation, and ideas. Since the creation of complicated shots demands a lot of focus, there's no room for conversation. This can result in confusion and miscommunication, which is something that can be easily avoided by taking simple photos at first.
This might sound very unappealing, but it's a great way to provide clients with room to make mistakes. What puts my models at ease is knowing that the first few shots won't be perfect. Even professionals models need this reassurance! Let your client know that the more you shoot, the easier posing and feeling comfortable will become. (This is where taking simple portraits comes in handy! Consider it a pre-shoot confidence ritual.) Once they gain this necessary confidence (thanks to your encouragement), you can start focusing on compositions, poses, expressions, and so on. This method will build mutual trust, allowing your subject to see you as a friend and not just an intimidating camera holder!
A combination of a comfortable shoot and brilliant photos will leave your clients yearning for more creativity. Even as a photographer, I feel this with models; some individuals have the loveliest attitudes, an abundance of patience, and a tremendous willingness to learn. This continuously draws me back to them. If they asked me to write a review for them, I wouldn't hesitate. Friendly people have a way of attracting all kinds of clients and admirers. Once you've developed a comfortable relationship with your subject, ask them if they're interested in writing a short review for you. Once a potential client understands why youstand out as an artist by reading these reviews, they'll want to hire you. Clients want great photos and a pleasant shooting experience, so remember to always keep that in mind!
Once you have at least one review on your website, join online communities. Perhaps you're already a member of a Facebook group for local photographers in your area. Make the most of these connections and gently advertise yourself. Shameless self-promotion is truly shameless in photography communities. When it comes to other social platforms, use relevant hashtags that will catch the attention of locals. On Twitter, typing #seekingphotographer or #photographerwanted will provide you with an abundance of awesome opportunities. Don't be ashamed of letting others know about your passion. Once you spread the word, you'll give yourself more and more chances to attract the right clients.
If you ever feel doubtful, know that there's a reason your clients chose you as their photographer. Even if they have certain expectations, you're bound to meet them. Your style will emerge in any creative situation because it's a tremendously beautiful part of who you are. Don't forget that. :)
About the Author: Taya Iv is an admirer of books, nature, and photography; She spends her life loving (and writing about) all three. She hopes to inspire others to find beauty in everything - including themselves - and to make the most of what they have.