It’s a random Monday morning, so we’re going to guess that you most likely aren’t sailing away on a magical Caribbean adventure right now. (Unless of course you’re reading this from the open seas, and then to you we say “ahoy matey, we’re oh so jealous!) For the rest of us, let’s all close our eyes for a minute as we’re sipping our morning coffee and imagine we’re on vacay. The wind’s in our hair, we’ve got a little of the extra vacation pep in our step, and the only thing we’re stressed out about is what we’re going to pick off of the buffet for lunch. Are you feeling as relaxed as we are? Good, then let’s take five minutes away from your beckoning to-do list and get your learn on!
If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you know two things for certain:
1. Cocktails are simply more delicious at sea (and you can somehow magically consume more of them ; )
2. There is nothing more awkward than having your photo taken in front of those cheesy backdrops. Sidenote, has anyone else ever wondered why they need a backdrop that makes it look like you’re on a cruise ship?! You LEGIT already are.
There’s no place that solidifies how awkward it is to be in front of a camera than these mini-sessions where things are micromanaged so much you basically aren’t sure if you’re a human or a newly sunburnt statue. It just plain feels gross, and every single time we get those images back we can always see the discomfort behind our frozen eyes and glued on smiles. So when we first picked up cameras back in 2010, we vowed to do better. To create images that had life and feeling and energy. Images that were true to the people in them. And because we think that awkward photos should be a thing of the past for everyone, we’re sharing some of our favorite tips with you in a multi-part series that begins today!
Let’s put on our crispest of lab coats and talk photo psychology before we dive in. There is one main thing that leads to natural images, and it’s not any specific prompt or pose you can have in your back pocket. It is CONFIDENCE. You want your subjects to feel totally confident to be their most awesome, most natural, most true selves. But how can you make this happen? Lucky for you, confidence isn’t alone, because he doesn’t show up to any party without his best friend comfort. And comfort is definitely something we can make happen. So talking about creating natural images is essentially just talking tips for how to make absolutely anyone comfortable in front of your camera. It’s no different than how you absolutely MUST put on your stretchiest pants before you turn on Netflix. Without comfort that confidence just isn’t going show up in your queue! Now let’s hit play on this series.
Part I: Begin with Movement
When it comes to our first tip for creating natural images, it’s all about starting your session off on the right foot. So lets also talk about what those feet should be doing! No matter what the setting is, or who is in front of our cameras, we ALWAYS start with movement. Giving people something to do lets them focus on what their bodies are doing not on the fact that there’s a brand new giant camera in their faces documenting their every move. And once we’re eased into the shoot and everyone is warm then we can start going to some of the more still, intimate moments.
But wait! Before you rush off to your next wedding ready to have your bride and groom begin with a Dirty Dancing style lift, let’s chat about what we mean by this. We absolutely aren’t asking our couples to do anything they aren’t comfortable with or that takes any extreme amount of effort. These sorts of things tend to only make a person feel uncomfortable, which is the absolute last thing we want. Remember, comfort builds confidence, and confidence is what allows people to feel free to be their natural selves in front of your camera. Generally, we stick to things that come naturally to everyone already, like simply walking hand in hand. Then after a few laps (we give them time to warm up by shooting different orientations and focal lengths) we head off to really begin the session.
This is really such a little change that if you make a conscious effort to remember will make a big difference. Beginning with movement eases people into the limelight and makes them think “I got this!” which is juuuuuusst the kind of confident mindset we want them in later when we ask them for that “nobody puts Baby in a corner” moment ; )
Stay tuned for the next part in this series, coming to the blog next week! And as always we love when you inspire our upcoming education posts, so reach out on social media or through a comment below if there’s a topic you’d like to see up next! Happy shooting friends!
Love + Laughs,
Sarah & Ben