How to Build Trust & Confidence in Your Clients During their Shoot
Building trust with your clients is one of the best ways to help boost their confidence in your abilities as a professional photographer throughout your photo shoots. This is especially important if you want to establish a good reputation in the industry, generate repeat business, and provide your clients with a good overall experience when they work with you.
However, this is a special skill set that doesn't always come naturally to photographers. Most photographers, especially professionals, take excellent photos and understand the technical side of the photography business very well. But that doesn't necessarily translate into being good with people and having the soft skills required to be successful in business.
Therefore, in this article, we will go over the top tips and tricks that you can use to build trust and establish confidence with your clients during their shoot so that you can earn a great reputation not only for being an excellent photographer but also as being somebody who is fun and enjoyable to be around.
Praise your clients throughout their shoot
Clients often feel vulnerable when they attend a photo shoot for the first time. Some clients feel awkward or uneasy during photo shoots even if they've done it a hundred times. So, you should always be trying to help your client feel relaxed throughout the session. One of the best ways to do that is by praising your clients as the shoot progresses.
Let them know that they're doing a great job and that the photos are turning out really well. By using positive affirmations, you can put your clients at ease, and this will not only help them to feel better about you as a photographer, but they'll feel better about themselves as well, and this will almost always translate into better, more natural-looking photos.
Show your clients images as the shoot progresses
One of the easiest and best ways to establish trust with your clients throughout the shoot is to show them some of the images while the shoot is still going on. By showing your clients a few previews of what they can expect from the photo shoot, they will feel good about what's happening.
Plus, they'll have trust that this was a good investment, they'll be much more relaxed moving forward because they know that they are guaranteed to have a good result from their photo session, and this will ultimately make everything run smoother both for you and the client during their photo shoot.
Use positive words to request alterations
Now throughout the course of your photo sessions, you're often going to be in a position where you need to request that the client do something different because you aren't getting the results that you want and that you know they will want. Therefore, from time to time, you're going to need to request that they do things differently and make changes to the way that they're behaving on the set.
There is a right way and many wrong ways to go about this. The right way is to use positive words when requesting changes. So, for example, instead of saying, "no, that's all wrong," you could instead say something like "that looks great, now let's try this" or something along those lines.
By requesting alterations with positive affirmations, you can keep the overall feeling of the photo shoot light and friendly, which will result in the client having a much better experience, and the photos will also be much better because of this as well.
Educate your clients on what you’re doing
Most clients who come in for a photo shoot are genuinely interested in photography themselves, and so by educating your clients on what you're doing throughout the session, you can establish trust and credibility with the client and build a reputation for yourself as being a professional.
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to inform them of every technical thing that you're doing with your camera or why you're doing what you're doing with every single piece of gear in the studio; the idea is just to let them know briefly what you're doing and why.
So, in other words, you don't need to give them a whole lesson or lecture about the technical aspects of photography; you can just let them know that you need to adjust the lighting, change the backdrop, or that you're changing a setting in your camera, etc.
By educating your clients throughout the session, they will feel more confident in you, which will, in turn, instill more confidence in them, and all of this will be translated into better photos after the session.
Speak with your clients on a personal level during rest breaks
Throughout the photo shoot, you will probably stop and take a few breaks, which will allow both you and the client to rest and relax for a few minutes. These breaks provide a great opportunity to speak with your clients on a personal level which can allow you to gain some insight into who they are as a person, but it also lets them see you In a different light as well. This can help the two of you establish a personal connection that will result in you having a more comfortable client and a better overall experience throughout the photo shoot.
Of course, if you're able to make a personal connection with your clients, then there is a much greater chance that they will return again and do more business with you in the future. This is true in any industry, but it's especially true in photography which is often a very personal and intimate event. Also, when you strike up a friendship with your clients, there's a very good chance that they will refer other businesses to you, so this can be a very profitable endeavor as well.
Always ask questions about what your clients like and dislike
Now you could be the best photographer on the face of the earth, but if you are taking photos that your client doesn't like, then you're unlikely to get repeat business from that client, and they will probably be dissatisfied with the service that you've provided to them. Therefore, it's very important that you ask a bunch of questions to your clients both before and during your photo shoots.
Some of the most important questions to ask include things like, "what are you hoping to get out of the photo shoot?" "Is there a particular look and feel that you would like to go for in this photo shoot?" "Can you show me some examples of photos that you would like to try and emulate during your photo shoot?" and so on.
Basically, you want to glean as much information as you can about what this client is hoping to get out of the photo shoot so that you can educate them realistically on what you are and are not able to achieve and set their expectations in advance of them seeing the final photos. Remember, when you know what sort of thing they want, you can prepare the shoot in such a way that is likely to result in photos that they'll be happy with.
There are a few different ways to go about this. You can have a simple conversation over the phone to ask them these sorts of questions, or alternatively, you can ask them to fill out a questionnaire on your website or a paper survey in your studio before you start the session. In any event, you always want to try and find out what they like and dislike so that you can do your best to provide a good experience for them and create images that they can’t wait to print and hang on their walls.
Be very specific about how your clients should pose
One of the issues that can come up during a photo shoot has to do with the way that your clients are posing. The pose that your client has is certainly very important when it comes to the final composition of the shot that you're taking, and so it's vital that they pose in an aesthetically pleasing way that's in line with the style of the shot that you're going for.
That said, it can be very difficult for some people to understand directions, especially when it comes to posing, so you should always strive to be as specific as you possibly can be when you're giving posing directions to your photo shoot clients.
One great way to help people understand the pose that you're going for is to mirror that pose yourself and show them firsthand what they should be doing. Surprisingly some clients still won't get it, so it can also be helpful if you have other photos with people in that same pose that you can show them.
At the end of the day, you will have some clients who still are unable to strike the correct pose, and so you need to know when to accept that and do the best that you can given the pose that the client is providing you at the time.
You never want to get frustrated or upset with the client, no matter how simple your request seems to be. Again, you always want to be smiling, laughing, and having a good time, so if they seem to be unable to pose in a certain position for whatever reason despite your best efforts, just snap the photo and move on to the next one.
Take candid photos when the client is relaxed
Some of the best photos that come out of photo shoots are candid photos that are taken when the client is relaxed and not posing or expecting a photo to be taken. Rest breaks are a great time to snap these sorts of candid photos, and this is especially true when clients have a difficult time following directions or posing the way that you would like them to.
In fact, many professional photographers use this strategy. When things aren't going well, they will call a rest break and tell the client to relax for a few minutes, and when the client is not expecting it, the photographer will snap several shots that, more often than not, turn out to be some of the best from the entire shoot. This is because when people are relaxed, they act naturally, and this exudes a natural beauty that can sometimes be hard to duplicate on demand with posing and positioning.
Keep things light and humorous
One mistake that some professional photographers make is trying to be too serious. Okay, you could be a very successful professional photographer, but at the end of the day, the client is the person who's paying you, and so your job ultimately is to ensure that they have a good time and are happy with the photos that they're paying for.
You never want to let your ego go to your head or allow yourself to be put into a bad frame of mind for any reason throughout your photo shoot because this will almost always result in the photos being less than they could have otherwise been if everyone was laughing and having a good time.
Any opportunity you can find to inject a little bit of humor into the photo shoot is going to make the client feel much more relaxed and comfortable, which will not only translate into you getting better photos, but it's also likely to result in them returning to do more business with you again in the future; which they definitely would not do if they felt like you were talking down to them or otherwise being dismissive of their feelings and opinions.
Play music to make things more fun and interesting
Now, if you aren't particularly great with small talk in chit chat that's okay also. Many photographers instead prefer to play music throughout the photo session, and this usually has a good effect on clients. If you really want to make the most of this strategy, you can ask the client to bring in their favorite music for use during the photo session because this way, you'll know for sure that they're guaranteed to love the songs that are playing in the background during the shoot.
However, there are also some clients who don't want to listen to music throughout their shoot because they find it to be distracting. Again, this is one of the questions that you'll want to ask people before the shoot so that you can determine the best way to go about conducting the session for that particular client.
Make sure your clients feel safe and secure
Photo shoots are often very intimate and personal experiences for people, and it can be very easy for your clients to feel vulnerable during a photo shoot, especially if it's their first time and they don't know you or they're not used to the process of being on a photoset.
Anything that you can do to ensure that your clients feel safe and secure throughout the shoot will go a long way towards helping them feel comfortable, which is the entire objective for you as a photographer when working with clients.
One great way to ensure that your clients feel safe and secure is just to ask them this throughout the shoot. You can ask if there's anything you could do to make them feel more comfortable or if there's anything they would like that would allow them to relax more.
In most cases, the client will say no, but just by asking these questions, you will be reaffirming to the client that they are, in fact, safe and secure with you and that they can go ahead and relax and enjoy their photo shoot.
Always ask clients before touching them
Finally, one mistake that many photographers make is touching their clients without asking permission. Oftentimes, the photographer means no harm by this and is simply trying to help the client pose in the right way so that they can get a shot that they know the client will be happy with.
However, some people are particularly sensitive when it comes to being touched, and even the lightest, most innocent touch can be taken in the wrong way by some individuals. So, to protect yourself and ensure that the client has a good time, simply ask them before touching them.
Being a great photographer is one thing, but being great with people is something else entirely, and it's a skill that most people must learn and practice in order to master. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you should be able to help your clients feel more comfortable during your photo shoot sessions, and that should, in turn, result in more repeat business and a better overall reputation for you and your professional photography business.
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