In my last post, I explained the best way I have found to handle clients who have a Packed Pinterest shot list. I also mentioned that I have a secret way to ensure I actually photograph the 5-7 Pinterest photo poses or ideas I promise to incorporate. It’s time to tell all…but first let’s start at the beginning, where the real problem began.
In my First Engagement Shoot Ever, I mentioned I was so nervous that I literally printed out Engagement Photos from Google to make sure I had plenty of ideas on posing, in-camera cropping, etc. Thankfully, I was shooting my best friend – who knew I was just starting out – so I didn’t feel awkward glancing at these papers occasionally. In all actuality, this was a real comfort for me as it prevented me from freezing up and drawing a complete posing or portrait styling blank that would make everybody uncomfortable! 😉
As I gained more experience, this problem lightened, but it didn’t ever completely dissipate. I gained confidence as a photographer and my skills sharpened as my eye for lighting and flattering angles became more precise and more expedient. But let’s be honest…there is a lot that runs through a photographer’s mind during a photo shoot (such as lighting, locations, angles, cropping, making clients confident or helping them act natural despite the camera, being mindful of the amount of time – or lack there of – to photograph the couple during their wedding day, the list goes on) and, no matter how many sessions or weddings you shoot, occasionally it’s as if a red siren goes off silently in our minds when we draw a blank and freak out inwardly while trying to keep a calm face. So began my search for how photographers combat or respond when this dilemma happens to the best of them…
I laughed when Jasmine Star mentioned during a workshop that she had a freak-out signal where she would have the bride twirl in her dress. This signaled to JD (her second shooter husband) “Mayday, Mayday! Step in and come up with something quick and save me so I can think of something else!”
Doug Gordon, and a number of other famous photographer educators, suggest (and sell) card decks. Yes, I bought some that first year. Shameful. (-_-)
I found two problems with these card decks. The first is that I wanted to look and act like a competent professional. And this did not look professional to me. When I photograph my clients, I couldn’t picture myself being all like “Hang on guys, let me check this nifty roll-a-deck because I need to see what to do with you next…” I feel like when a client who has invested in you sees this happening, they are
more most likely to lose confidence in your talent and ability, and therefore may lose confidence that their images will be all they hope they’d be. I believe this lack of confidence will affect their portrait experience as well as reflect in their appearance in your images. The second problem I found is that they are time consuming to look through, and they will always be the same images giving you ideas, which is not fitting to every couple’s personality nor is it beneficial to creating a diverse portfolio.
So, having decided these decks were not for me nor was it a part of the experience I wanted for my clients, I resorted to printing images to glance at – just like before….until a better idea came along.
At least I could tailor-make image ideas to fit the particular client, but the problems I faced were not dissimilar to the problems with the photo decks. I still hated that it
probably made clients feel less confident and that it came across as unprofessional, as well as making it obvious any time I drew a blank.
When I finally came up with a resolution to address these concerns, any brief moments of brain lapse became so much easier to work through, and I have never looked back. Instead of printing lookbook type sheets with poses and ideas, I create them in Powerpoint (***THIS is where I ESPECIALLY include my clients Pinspiration mentioned in the previous post.***).
Next I set my camera to take the very smallest .jpegs it can so that what I do next won’t monopolize to much memory on my memory cards. With each memory card I will be using for the session or event, I snap a few photos of various pages of the Powerpoint, so that they are accessible anytime I am shooting on any card throughout the day.
The next step is VERY IMPORTANT: After this is complete, reset your camera to taking full-size RAW files; trust me – you do not want your whole session/event taken in small images!!
This way, at any moment, I can scroll forward (to the beginning of my card’s memory) via the camera’s playback feature and grab a quick 1 second glance at posing ideas in those rare but brief moments I could use an idea.
This is literally 1,000 times quicker than grabbing anything to look at, keeps clients unaware that you are having a mini-freakout and maintains your client’s confidence, and can be done so quickly it is undetectable that you were doing anything other than adjusting your camera settings. It is a life-saver for me personally and I have loved that I never have to worry about where I stuffed a print-out idea sheet or how my clients may be feeling during these moments.
Everybody has their own way of dealing with things…and this is my way. I have come to really enjoy it, and I hope – if you give it a try – it serves you well! Stay tuned! My next post will be on my favorite lenses during a wedding or session and when I love them most.