Never tell your client to smile

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by PeterToronto, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. PeterToronto

    PeterToronto TPF Noob!

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    First impressions are so important in all facets of life. When you first meet a client for your initial consultation, do you not try to put your best foot forward by presenting yourself, your business, and your product in the best light possible? Of course you do. Does it not make sense to do the exact same thing when you're with that client on location, or in studio, for the actual session? Of course it does!

    One part of presenting and carrying yourself properly involves not repeating errors that are so synonymous with the typical point and shoot generation of digital enthusiasts and camera phone shooters. Never tell a client to "smile", and God forbid you ever ask them to say "cheese". If you do, the client will transfer all of their previous negative photographic experiences onto you. Immediately, your rapport and credibility with your subject will be minimized, and may even be lost entirely.

    Instead, catch them off guard, and in the process get a genuine reaction out of them by asking them, or telling them, something that they're not expecting to hear. In other words, keep them on their toes. Here's a suggestion: instead of "smile" as a direction, how about trying "mitochondria" or "broccoli". Seriously, anything is better than "smile" because you're a professional, and professionals know how to draw out the true personality of a person during a portrait session. Most important of all, remember that sometimes it's not in every person's nature to be comfortable with a smile. If you create a relaxed and enjoyable session, that lets the client open up and be themselves. Once you have accomplished that, great images are sure to be produced as a result.

    By extension, you as well need to be yourself and be comfortable with who you are as a person and as a photographer. If you can master that, the rest will flow very easily.

    As always, if you found this of interest, or would like to see the accompanying image, please feel free to visit my website.

    Peace
    Peter

    peter anthony PHOTOGRAPHY - Home
     
  2. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy TPF Noob!

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    I'm just now breaking into the world of receiving payment for my photos, which means a lot more portraits. This was very helpful, thanks!
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very good point and nicely put.

    Although I disagree with saying brocolli (or another word) to replace cheese. This has the very same effect.

    Instead, build a rapport with your client as you are shooting, talk to them, make them comfortable. When you have a chance, make a joke, either about yourself or something else to make them smile, comment on what is going on in a funny way... keep it as a natural conversation without using single words or corny sayings to get them to smile and you will have that rapport... and they will be more comfortable with you and the session will move much smoother.

    Just my 2 cents...
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. Same as photogs who say we're going to take this photo on 3...

    1, 2, 3 and every one has a weird look on their face. I have had to use the 1, 2, 3 with large groups but I always shoot on 2, lol.
     
  5. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ....and dont get me wrong, you write great advice. But the whole "if you like this, check out my site" is a bit lame IMO.

    People here are photographers, not clients, so whats the point of trying to gimmickly attract people to your site? Do you just want to see your counter go up?
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    +1, and the images will look much more natural.
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    A bad joke tends to work better because you don't want them laughing, lol.
     
  8. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, they fart. Which is uncomfortable for everyone for the next little while.

    Oh yeah, I made a fart joke. :greenpbl:
     
  9. mishele

    mishele Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We have an amazing guy that comes to our school to take pictures of kids and he does some funny stuff.
    Asks if mom and dad eating spiders.
    Calls them Disney character names.
    on and on........=)

    I think he makes me laugh just as much as the kids.......always a fun day.
     
  10. mishele

    mishele Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    And you said you weren't drinking today.......:sexywink: Or was that just not this morning!?
     
  11. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    lol Mish... that was this morning :)
     
  12. smilano

    smilano TPF Noob!

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    Interesting opinions on this--and, I guess my take away is that it "depends"--depends on the context, age, connection. with kids ( i raised 2) I might be outrageous; with some folks I play an "imagine" game--ie--imagine you are..... there are lots of tricks. but in the end it's about having a connection and understanding a little about them to raise the right thought/question/phrase/joke at the right time
     

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