Updated: Sep 2
Vada told me that her husband Sly was the shy one with photos. Which, to be fair, is the consistently common comment I hear from wives and girlfriends of their respective partners. After observing and behaving in certain manners throughout my photoshoots, I've come to a few conclusions. Those being that people dread being viewed as, or feeling, ridiculous or substandard, are immersed in discomfort when they are unknowing of what to do (comparable to performing some new action or in an event for the first time), and feel that there is a certain way to behave in the newness, as if it is somehow contrary to simply being who and how they already are. Of course, all of that seems obvious. Though what seems to be the part that is missed, is how to navigate those relatable emotions experienced by the client.
Here's What I Know for Myself & My Truths
It is absolutely essential to approach the entire photo shoot from a lens of confidence, a laid-back attitude, and (the most important) a FUN, good time. To the point of conveying that there is nothing that the client can do to mess it up, that it is absolutely irrelevant what any passerby thinks (because let's be honest, we'll probably never see them again, and what they think is none of our business anyway), and you as the photographer are not judging any action that they are taking. Because you're the phenomenal photographer that they've chosen to walk them through the process. And you know that to be truth, because here you are with a booked client.
The process is undeniably one of the most fun experiences I've had to date. Particularly when you get your clients to a space where they feel comfortable to play along, and with each other. They cease feeling like the shoot is a performance that they have to deliver on while juggling stage fright, and rather it's transformed into an moment of enjoying the people they are surrounded by, and are safe to express the full extent of their joy, love, and unique sense of being. In that, you can absolutely still get your posed frames, but setting the precedence I described opens up the opportunity to capture the candids of people being their truest selves. The ones that when you capture them, you're revealing a sense of beauty to them that they may not have seen before. And even if they have, they will be enthralled that you immortalized it into imagery. In doing so, you are also affirming what you said throughout the whole photo shoot - that they are making your job one of the greatest that there is.
We are all on equal playing field. That of being humans who regulate emotion, oftentimes based in ego/fear, and the way to help each other out of that fear is to extend the hand of compassion and love. And what better way to do that than through kindness, humor, and friendship?