We wish that wedding, engagement and portrait photography was as simple as just showing up, taking photos and walking away with a full set of naturally beautiful smiles and candid moments, but unfortunately, it's not that easy. Photographers always find starting out that you need to know more than how to set doable prices and how to buy the right lighting gear—you need to make your clients feel comfortable in front of your lens so that you can get those great shots.
Jasmine Star recently made a video with some great, simple tips for putting clients at ease. One of the big ones is spending time with your clients before the shoot. Walk around, meet for coffee, talk about your day and get to know them as people—and let them get to know you. This is such an important step in the process, and it can be easily overlooked if you're just focused on the photography aspect of the shoot. Allowing the clients time to relax will put them at ease and will let you get some of the most genuine shots.
Explaining how the shoot will go is another important step. Knowing what to expect from the shoot and from you will let them mentally prepare for the shoot and will assure them that there won't be anything unexpected. Relaxation is key. They also know, in return, what they're supposed to be doing. With less confusion, you'll get a lot less strained, deer-in-the-headlights shots.
Also, be confident when you're giving direction, and give specific direction. Having a lens pointed at you is already nerve-wracking for a lot of people, and giving them vague instruction to "just act natural" is even more intimidating. Come prepared with poses you want to hit so you aren't scrambling for ideas when the time comes (or worse, you aren't beginning to rely on the cheesy, overdone poses).
"Often times, I pose clients, letting them know that that's where I want them to ultimately end," Jasmine Star says in the video,"then I ask them to relax and find their way back into that pose." Capturing how they move into the pose will make for much more natural, candid-looking shots.