Is there anything you are self conscious about?
This is one of the questions I ask ALL of our couples right after we meet them for the very first time in person at their engagement session. It is an intimidating question (and I simply acknowledge that outright as I ask it! Remember that we ALL have insecurities!) but it is absolutely crucial in helping to ensure that your clients love their photos!
I’ve heard of other photographers asking this question and it’s one that I think EVERY photographer should ask!! Why? Let me give you an example:
Let’s say that your bride likes being photographed on her left side because of how her hair parts, a birthmark/freckles, or just for any number of reasons — she likes how she looks better when being viewed from the left side vs. the right. You don’t know this and she’s probably not going to tell you without you asking because people are nervous going into their engagement session and they most likely don’t feel confident to just bring up the things they are self conscious about! So, throughout the session, you photograph her on both sides but, without knowing, you actually take more photos on her right side than her left side. The lighting is perfect, her hair and makeup are amazing, it’s a gorgeous backdrop, and you think she looks stunning! But, when she gets the photos back, she doesn’t love them as much as she could love them because, ultimately, she doesn’t like how she looks from that right side angle (where most of the photos were taken) and that’s the first thing she sees. Yikes!
One more example:
Maybe the groom will say, “Haha! I don’t like my beer belly!” (P.S. The more candid and authentic you are when asking this question, the more freedom you will give your clients to be open and honest with you!). Now, you’ve noted that he is a bit self conscious about his stomach area and, if you notice that in a certain pose, he is too relaxed and his stomach isn’t looking like he might want, you can say, “Hey _______, pretend like there’s a string in the top of your head, pulling you towards the sky. Great! Looks amazing — can you also tighten your core a bit?” If you hadn’t asked him what he was self conscious about and he hadn’t shared that it was his “beer belly,” you telling him to tighten his core might make him feel bad about himself because inside, he is insecure about this area. But, since you have already discussed this, he is thankful that you told him to tighten his core and, when he gets the photos back, he will be much happier with the end result!
Think about yourself for a moment. When you look at a photo of yourself, what is one of the first things you notice? Most likely, you’re going to notice your flaws — it’s an unfortunate part of human nature! I love the conversation that is happening big time right now around accepting and loving ourselves and our bodies of all different shapes and sizes; this is SO important and such a good thing to keep talking about!! But, if we’re being completely honesty, people are still going to look at their flaws (I, for example, don’t love my legs, so I might first, without even realizing, look at a photo of myself and analyze what my legs look like!). We all do it!!
By simply asking, “Is there anything you’re self conscious about? Anything I should know? Do you have a better side? : )” — you are giving yourself an opportunity to knock it out of the park with your client’s photos and make sure that they will love how they look!! Happy shooting!!
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