I think that one of the things that can be harder for a photographer is "posing" or "directing" their clients.
For me is a matter of practice, and ones you get those years of practice things will change, however for some people, no matter how many years they've practiced it, is like the fear of speaking in public mixed with the overwhelmingly position of having to juggle a lot of things in one (keep an eye on the light, change location, think about your camera settings, and you're supposed to be fun and contagious too! :) NOPE, no pressure friend! :)
Unfortunately though, "posing" is one of the biggest determining factors of how your photos are going to turn out, and your clients' experience with you.
Now, as I said, the number one solution is practice, practice, practice, however make sure you're not practicing the right things, and not just ingraining bad habits that will become hard to break.
So here are my 5 Tips for posing more confidently.
1. Try to eliminate the “could you, maybe, kinda, umm, sorta.."
This is something I always teach during my workshops, that most people don’t even realize they’re doing. The next time you go to pose someone, pay attention to how you’re starting your sentences. What I hear a lot when I am teaching this, is something like the following: “Maybe just kinda put your hand here and then sorta could you maybe just twist at the waist a little more, and then maybe, um, kind of just move more there and um……ACT NATURAL!!” :)
W-H-A-T? Ok, first this doesn't sound very confident, second did you even understand what you're saying?
Try instead, to give directions that are declarative statements, and starts your sentence with either their name or a verb.
“Meg, I’m going to have you look right at me. Good. Now smile look down. Keep walking. - Perfect. Now, Meg take that deep breath right there and look at Patrick and smile. Patrick look at Meg, yes! Like this! - Oh perfect, you guys are amazing! And now, just look right back at me. LOVE!!”
Speak from your heart, don't encourage a certain thing if you don't like it but guide your clients into what you're looking for with confident energy!
Speaking of starting with their names, brings me to point #2.
2. Call them by name Use their name & use it often!
I'm sure you are pretty sure that you call your couple with their names through out the photoshoot, but ask yourself how much you actually do it?
Try to call them by name every other sentece.
This is so important because you build a strong connection with the person that you're talking to. When we here our own names, we feel more connected with the person that is talking to us, we feel more liked, chosen, ultimately is a more confident way to address your couples than "could you, maybe, try..".
Lastly, and this may seems obvious, calling your clients with their names helps you to unfold the photo session in a smoother way, because it makes clear who you're talking to at any given moment. So, if she is already in the perfect position and you just want to adjust his posture a little, you don't end up losing that great shot, because they both move.
3. Keep Talking!
Is the most important of all! It doesn't matter if your clients are used to be in front of the camera, you need to be their mirror and guide them. If you stay quiet for too long (and 10 seconds can feel like ethernity in front of the camera), things start feel a little awkward, and your clients lose the focus and they start hearing the birds singing, and the wind in between the trees, and noise of the car passing by and is highly distractive!
So I think it’s super important to keep talking to your clients, but what you’re saying is just as important.
In the loop of all the things you're doing in the back of your head may be very tempting to just start saying things like: "I'm just going to shoot this horizontally and place you right here on my right. And I am raising my ISO, etc...
This is not what you're clients are expecting to hear. And this is also the biggest difference between a photographer great at posing and one that isn't: a photographer great at posing can pose, while carrying on wittu banter, knowing when to be quieter and when to pick up the energy, while being in control of a ton of other things and having a million of other thoughts running in their heads.
4. Have a few “go to” poses.
Every single photographer out there has had that moment where the bride & groom are ready to go, you have all the time in the world you need to shoot, they look at you expectantly…..and, boom, your mind goes blank. In that split second, you have forgotten every pose you’ve ever learned. And then proceed to flail.
So do yourself a favor and burn 3 or 4 go to poses into your brain, so that no matter what happens you can start with those while you take a couple of deep breaths and remember what you're doing again. :) It’s a huge life saver and also really comes in handy if you find yourself in a major time crunch.
5. Keep them moving.
In the same way that going too long without hearing you say something can make your clients really uncomfortable, holding them in the same pose too long can have the same effect, too. Pretty soon an awesome pose just starts to become too static, and it starts to be about you taking a picture of a pose rather than the REAL purpose of posing in the first place.
Silly, serious, quiet, cozy….it all comes out in those moments in between. And those kind of moments tend to happen a lot more often when there’s movement. Have them walk together or dance together. Even in my more “still” poses, I’ll still have them sway together or close their eyes to bring their foreheads together. Because what happens when they inevitably bump into each other is the space for those moments in between. And a chance for them to show who they really are.
As always, I hope this helped even if just a little bit! And I just want to say I’m really grateful for photographers like you guys who care about their couples, and their craft & want to keep getting better at it. I think you guys make this industry a better place.