I’ve had so many lovely brides with flower crowns recently. The little girl in me who loves magic and running off to the woods to read stories is delighted.
Rockland Estates was such a lovely venue.
One of the most common things I’m asked about by clients is how to prepare for a photo shoot. I’ve compiled the most requested information into one blog post which can be applied to most photo shoots, including engagement, lifestyle, boudoir, etc.
At least a month before the shoot:
At this point, we discuss the feel you want to go with for your photo shoot. Most of my clients have enjoyed doing activities or other adventures over just selecting a pretty place. Once we’ve figured out what you want your shoot to look like, then we can figure out where and when to do it. Sometimes we’ll put together a Pinterest board for inspiration, to help you hone your vision. (but we never replicate anything on Pinterest, as I respect other artists and would never want to just copy their work. I prefer that your photos are uniquely yours!). And I’m going to throw all kinds of ideas at you, so come with an open mind! Sometimes engagement sessions are more spur of the moment and we don’t do this sort of planning. Those adventures can be equally as fun.
At least a week before the shoot:
We’ll have a meeting to discuss the final wheres and whens. You’re going to want to figure out what to wear for your shoot. Some people opt to shop for outfits for their shoots, or rent from Rent the Runway and these will be dependent on the theme. It’s important that you feel at delighted and at home in your clothes. You can select one or a couple of outfits. Some people just bring a bunch of different things and we figure it out when we get there. Usually people change in the car or in local cafes, etc. For my work, I prefer clothes that are a little more dramatic, but that’s just my preference! I suggest that ladies get their hair and makeup done to look their very best for the camera, but again, that’s optional too.
A few days before the shoot:
It’s important to get plenty of rest and drink lots the days leading up to your shoot. Don’t forget your accessories.
What to expect on the day of:
I’ll give you some basic tips about posture and traditional posing when we start, which, if you’re getting married, will also be good pointers for the wedding day.On top of that, don’t worry about posing or making things perfect. I will pose you when needed, but it’ll also be equal parts improvisation. Mistakes are welcome and they are going to happen, so don’t stress. I love it when clients have shot ideas that they want to try and get excited and involved. The goal of the shoot is to play, to experiment, and see what works with the light. So don’t be too nervous. It’s almost like acting. You pick a character or a mood for yourself and we’ll play with that and have fun!
I just got off the phone with my friend Erum Rizvi, and it struck me that the most lasting happiness comes from the rich relationships I’ve made with my passionate, curious, intelligent, like-minded clients and fellow photographers. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.”At first glance, as someone who loves the challenge of reaching high mountain peaks — in both exploring and photographic challenges, I’d be compelled to agree with him. But after five years as a photographer, I’ve come to learn that deep happiness doesn’t come from how far you travel or what kind of awards you get.
Raylien and Brandon show me the ancient/traditional Taiwanese wedding pose: “Oh, my headache!”
After arriving at destination wedding spots, I’ll often explore a bit, and have adventures, but soon I find myself lonely and snorfling mini bar chips while watching Dolphin Spy on cable.* And even after the highs of business successes, I still feel like I haven’t achieved the level of artistry and proficiency that I REALLY want. The pressure is there to work harder to top myself.
*(An actual thing that actually happened. And Dolphin Spy is a real show.)
(Exhibit 1. a *HOT* photo I sent to someone after my third day of solo travel in Miami.
I fight to top prior successes, but topping this silliness happens pretty regularly)
Being found and cared about by people who love you because your mind and your heart shines in what you do carries you longer than you can carry yourself. This has been the year of clients who have trekked to strange and unusual destinations, they’ve climbed over giant fences in giant dresses, and kicked off their Choos to walk barefoot in rain-drenched forests — because they trust me and believe in me, and share my joie de vivre. That trust and the friendships I’ve formed is humbling. And if forms a cycle of gratitude and service that spirals out into everything I do. I work harder and love my clients like family (which is something I aspire to do with every person I work with). In return my clients can be vulnerable, they can blossom, and often they become lifelong friends who invite me to their science labs, crazy parties, and to break bread with them in their homes. I can’t imagine a richer life.
(Is there any way to better get to know a client than through the eyes of their friends and family?)
(she really was. I have 50 million shots of her balling and I didn’t realize this was her until I went to edit)
Are you a photographer struggling to form these kinds of relationships with your clients? It helps to talk about your interests and passions online so that potential clients have something to grasp when it comes to your personality. I often have people reach out to me and open with a shared interest. It also helps to ask about what their favorite bands and activities are when you have your first client meeting. Curiosity is your friend. Be interested in them. Not only are you getting to know them, but clients open up once they discover how much you share, which is the foundation for trust – which is the foundation for amazing photos.
If you’re looking for more connections in your field, take some time and write to the person you’ve always admired or respected, or to the person you think might share your interests. I’ve reached out to people I was timid about writing to, and most of the time, they were kind, easier to talk to than I expected, and I’ve made some lifelong friends. This is how strong communities are built, and strong communities and strong friendships will inspire you and get you through the tough times — and all in all, enable you to be better at what you do.