The further we learn our craft, the more we understand how our client's decisions and actions influence the final results. Photography is a creative art and therefore falls into the realm of subjectivity, but people agree on a lot of the basics.
We, humans, are highly intuitive creatures, and we are a discerning lot. We recognize quality when we see it, and more importantly, we know when something doesn't meet our standards. Many people can tell the difference between a good photograph and a great one, even if they don't understand why they feel that way.
As a paying client, your interest in creating the highest-quality photos possible is the most powerful it will ever be. You may not care whether one artist or another creates beautiful images. Still, you want your photographer to create beautiful photos of you, and you're likely investing several hundred dollars to do so. Since your photographer is the professional, you're expecting them to carry the majority of the responsibility. This expectation is as it should be, and dedicated professionals understand this, but your involvement in the process is a critical aspect of how the images come out.
So, how can you, as a client, better influence your photography session?
Dedicate yourself to learning everything you can about the photographers you're considering hiring—are they comfortable communicators? Are they confidently answering your questions? How flexible are they? What images of theirs can you see in their portfolio, and what quality do they exhibit? How much additional information are they providing you?
Be honest about what you want your result to be and communicate that. If you're not sure, share that as well. A great photographer will help you make informed decisions. Some questions to consider: What final products matter to you; wall-art, small prints, digital images, an album, or something more unique to you? Where will your final images be displayed, your home, your office, the bedroom, the family room, a hallway, or on a shelf? What colors make sense for you? And, is there a theme or mood you're trying to create?
Be open to the photographer's input. True professionals in this field are trained professionals. Whether they've learned through practice or formal education, they've learned to see the world differently, and they are aware of how the smallest changes can have a dramatic effect on the final result.
Prepare in advance. Whether it's getting the clothes ready in advance, getting a good night's sleep, or planning out locations that will have added meaning for you, the more thought and effort that goes into your session and communicating with your photographer will positively affect your session. You can reduce your stress by coming prepared, and that allows the best version of yourself to show up to your session.
Get Comfortable. Whether we're talking about your "pose" or general comfort level with your photographer, relaxing before and during your session is vital. A great photo session, in our opinion, allows for several breaks and some candid style shots. These are some of the most critical moments during your photo session because they'll inform what happens when the shutter opens.
These five items are but a shortlist of a very nuanced topic, and we could discuss at length, but that wasn't the intention of this article. As a client, understanding that you have a critical role to play in how you're images come out will go a long way in helping your final portraits come out the way you want.
It is your photographer's job to help in every way possible, that's what you're paying them to do, but in the end, they can't do their best work without you. Photography has always been about relationships. Since a camera is nothing but an expensive piece of equipment, connecting with your photographer on some level has always been one of the most critical aspects of every photograph ever created.
Thank you for taking the time to get involved and investing in your session with us. Your role as the client doesn't begin and end with the transaction. We understand that truth, and, as your photographer, we can't wait to make that all-important connection that will influence the rest of your experience with us.