“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
A quote has never stood out to me in such a way as this one did. To be a photographer, whether that be a wedding photographer, a family photographer, and engagement photographer, you absolutely have to be a human first. I have always said,
"You can take the most beautiful photos in the world, but have a poor attitude that is more rememberable"
Clients seek out photographers who are more than willing and capable to make them feel comfortable while in front of the camera. Some people will be naturals and easily fall into poses, and others will find it more difficult. As photographer, your job is to make it effortless.
When I first started taking photographs, I did as we all do, I took them for friends. It is a great way to build out your portfolio and to test out your photographer personality on those who you already know and I highly suggest test running your personality a lot.
The real challenge is when you start taking photos of strangers and when you start getting clients that you have to engage with in more then one way. For wedding photography there are a lot of opportunities to let your personality shine through and it often allows you to bond with your clients, but remember throughout, always be kind. In the wedding photography business, your reputation is key and how clients remember their interactions with you will come to mind first over the photos you provide them, no matter how gorgeous.
Back in May a bride reached out to me about her small backyard wedding turned large boat cruise wedding. We had a couple of conversations over text and after a bit I suggested we meet in person. I always suggest meeting with potential clients as often as you can so that they can associate your photos with your face, your personality, with you. When I met her and her fiancé it allowed me to get a much better idea of who they were and how I could provide them with the best wedding experience I could offer since there wedding was only a couple weeks away when they hired me.
When their wedding day came, I was prepared and confident and I very much allowed that energy to flow into the way I worked and photographed. Turns out that there had been some mishaps for the bride and she was more stressed than she needed to be. When I noticed this, I didn't shy away behind my camera and just go on taking photos, I let myself be helpful in the ways that I could that didn't completely take me away from my job of taking wedding photos. It was as simple as relaying messages back and forth between her and her fiancé before their first look, or making sure that the flower girls had the right skirts on, or collecting the kids lifejackets because they had been put out of reach. These small things helped take some stress of the bride, and left her with an impression of myself that now comes to mind as being helpful and kind. It took almost no effort on my part and made the day flow so much easier.
It is in interactions like these, that bring your name to their mind first when someone asks them who took their photographs or when asking for recommendations. When your name is your reputation, you have to think of your clients first. You have to step out from behind your lens and reflect on your interactions with them. Only then will you be able to see yourself how they see you. If you wouldn't want to interact with yourself, no one else will either. Be kind. Be present and always be mindful of how you can help because at the end of the day, your actions will speak louder then any beautiful photo you present.