How to not look like an idiot during your portrait sessions

I'll be honest, I used to freak out right before an engagement/portrait session.

My main problem was I didn't want to look like a complete idiot with the couple.

Here's one tip that has helped me SO much over the years and helped me become comfy while shooting with clients when I became brain dead.

Stay cool, calm & collected. (Sounds like a no brainer but seriously, if you start to freak out because something happens, or the weather isn't right, or your MOJO is off...your couple is going to be like what in the world, why are they so frantic.

When I first started out, I would look at the image in the back of the camera and I'd be like "oh, that's not what I wanted let's try it again." Often times snurling my nose and being like ughhh... why isn't this right. HELLLO. Well... when you say things like that, it makes the couple think that something is wrong with them.

Normally that client might say a statement like...

"Oh, I broke the camera."

Of course they would be joking but somewhere deep inside you know that one of them is thinking, "hmmm I wonder if I looked this way or that way." If you look at an image that you just took and it's not the way you wanted it... just be like oh ok great! Let's go over here I have another idea. That's what I do. Me and Pedro have a system.

Basically if we are shooting and I can't come up with any ideas, I'll put my couple somewhere and then shoot a few frames and then say ok, great got it! Let's go over here. I'm basically stalling time until I can think of my next idea.

Meanwhile Pedro is usually looking at me like I'm a half crazy person shooting them in a dumb area that we both know doesn't look good, but then he hears me only shoot a few frames and say GOT IT!, then he's like ohhhhhhhhh stallling.

MMMhmmm that's right.. stall away. I mean you think these brilliant ideas just come, wham bam one after another. Nope they don't and like with anything some days are worse than others. Let me tell you right now, when I'm feelin that frame and that mojo is dead on it' doesn't sound like a few clicks from my camera, it sounds like britney spears is right next to me with a crew of paparazzi, i shoot that shiz till i can't shoot no more! WOOOHOO for mojo!

So if you can't think of any ideas, just have them do something and take some photos until you do think of something.

You don't look like an idiot and they don't feel ugly.

SCORE. moving on.

OH, one last thing... - if you are finding that your stall times are lasting way too long, take a lookbook with you. Whip that baby out and show your clients what you want them to do.

Remember that doesn't make you less of a photog that actually makes you more helpful. People are visual so half the time when we tell them a pose, they are like what language are you speaking?!!? Only photogs really understand photog language.

Let's go shoot some people,



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