How to Make Clients Confident Behind the Camera


Dear Jasmine,
I want to ask you a question. How the heck did you get all your confidence with your clients? I am about to secure my first ever engagement session, and, on the one hand, I’m so excited I could jump up and down all day and, on the other, I feel like I could go throw up with anxiety – in a very lady-like way! 😉 Did your confidence bloom over time? I often have trouble telling my clients what to do and how to pose on a shoot because I get flustered easily 🙁 I, like you, love the natural, candid emotions, but you said in one of your videos that you have to “pull this out of them.” HOW?! 🙂
Waiting for the Confidence to Come

Dear Waiting,
Well, before a formal answer comes, we need to clear a few things up. Confidence is a somewhat new idea for me. For most my life, I’ve been the person who prefers watching, not engaging. I struggle in new social situations and find myself flustered when I can’t walk into a room a feel comfortable. Still to this day I get nervous before I shoot clients. Seven years into my business and the butterflies in my stomach? They’ve MULTIPLIED.

Now that’s on the table, let’s chat about what we can do, in spite of how we feel…and help our clients trust our direction and ability to produce the type of images we’re proud of.

I’ve discovered the following tips helpful:
1. Let the clients unfold naturally.
At the beginning of a session or on a wedding day, I stand back and let the couple fall into what they normally do together. Their bodies will–simply as a byproduct of time spent together–fall into what’s natural for them. Once I see this, I work around and modify the pose with small changes (like closing their fingers so they’re not wide spread, or ensuring a hand isn’t dangling but placed strategically). Part of posing naturally is seeing what they do instinctively, then making small changes.
2. Follow clients on social media.
Whenever I’m shooting, I talk to my clients behind the lens. This helps produce a candid, conversational appeal. However, the most sincere reactions and engagement happen when I connect on a personal level. For example, at a recent wedding, I connected with the bride and her bridesmaids after reading about her bachelorette party on Facebook…this produced squeals and laughter, which resulted in great candid photos. Social media can help connect us to our clients on a closer level.
3. Set no expectations.
At the beginning of each photo shoot, I tell my clients I expecting nothing from them. I only thing I want is for them to have fun, relax, and enjoy…and I’ll take care of the rest. If subjects worry they’re expected to show up and act like models, the photos run the risk of two people not looking like themselves. I give them permission to simply be and this sets the tone for an enjoyable shoot with no expectations.

Speaking of permission, here are a few posts that might help you as well…
The Permission to Feel Beautiful
Can a Shy Photographer be Successful?
Basic Posing Tips
Tips for Posing a Couple on a Wedding Day

I hope this offers a little more insight into how I work, but–more so–what you can do to bring out the true soul of your subjects behind the camera.
Stay Fabulous,

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  1. Alyssa

    July 1st, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Love love this post! I personally find social media a wonderful way to connect and ask questions about things I have seen or they like. I also want them to feel natural and not the pressure to feel like models! So fun!

  2. Anllelina29

    July 1st, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Jasmine you are FABULOUS!!! love your work and explanations in every single post 🙂

  3. Allison

    July 1st, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    This was so helpful! Thanks Jasmine! Hopefully these ideas will help to erase the pre-shooting nausea I get from nerves 🙂

  4. Rachel Leigh Greene

    July 1st, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Number one is SUCH a great tip!

  5. Norma Skinneer

    July 1st, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Knowing your couple as individuals like this helps us avoid the "formula"-type photographing. We are more relaxed too which does help confidence. Great advice.

  6. Charity

    July 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for a helpful article! I liked this a lot!

  7. Eric Rogers

    July 2nd, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I don’t know if its a coincidence or not, but I happened to book my very first engagement session this week as well. I was wondering the same things and this post was very well timed. Thank you for the advice.

  8. Jade

    July 2nd, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    j* your words are like little nuggets of gold 😉 thank you

  9. Mercedes

    July 2nd, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    These are really helpful tips! I’m off to read the rest of those posts you shared. #3 is especially good. I’ll have to remember to communicate that at our next shoot.

  10. Emily

    July 2nd, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! This is something I struggle with and I love your tips! This is going to be SO helpful!

  11. Whitney Lane

    July 2nd, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    So true 🙂 Confidence is such a strange thing… i think most ppl don’t really have as much as you think they do 😛

  12. Katie Jackson

    July 2nd, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    You method of posing is perfect! Naturally polished:) Sometimes photographers dictate too much and then the poses end up looking awkward. Sometimes photographers don’t pose enough and the couple poses themselves in unflattering ways. I love your method of letting them pose naturally but making small adjustments.

  13. Kristin

    July 2nd, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Love these tips.

  14. Alaina Bos

    July 3rd, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Great tips Jasmine!

  15. Dan and Melissa

    July 3rd, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing about your fears as well. You are the best!

  16. Chris Renton

    July 5th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Connecting on social media is a great idea.. makes it much easier to start a conversation and relax your clients. I also love the idea of telling them you expect nothing from them at the start. Nice tips!

  17. Jeanne Mitchum

    July 5th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    These are such great tips!! Thanks so much for all that you share!

  18. Ashley Rogers

    July 5th, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Great tips! I especially like the idea of connecting with them via social media. Thanks J!!

  19. Anja

    July 9th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve often heard you say "it’s important to set expectations". This is one situation where the opposite is true. I love it. Thank you, Jasmine.

  20. Adrienne Maples

    January 14th, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I think a lot of this comes naturally for some photographers but others have to push through to make it happen. Love that you shared your advice on this!

  21. James Billett

    March 10th, 2016 at 11:24 am

    What a natural way of working and it shows in the images. Great ideas.