The following is a guest post by SLR Lounge.
Engagement sessions can be an amazing time for both the photographer and the clients. In what other job do we get to spend a few hours in the sunset at a gorgeous location, doing what we love, and being with people who appreciate our passions?
However, with these benefits comes the pressure to perform, to be creative, and most importantly, to bring out the natural personalities of your couples while making them look good.
A big part of this is the ability to make them feel comfortable and even laugh.
Now photographers can be incredibly creative, passionate, and amazing at what they do, but not all of us are natural comedians. This is where experience helps and where having a bag of tricks and other posing techniques comes in handy. Here are a few ways to get your clients to laugh.
Consider cropping at the chest with the hands out of view. Then tell one of the two to tickle the other around the waist. Even if he or she is not ticklish, the attempt usually creates some good laughs. Be sure to not mention it too early, as you want it to be somewhat spontaneous.
Even the least funny photographers should be able to memorize a few one liners appropriate for common situations. Do what works for you and your personality, but here are a couple of ideas. As you have them in a kissing pose, consider saying something like “I said to kiss, not make out!” This usually results in laughter out of embarrassment. Consider making fun of yourself.
The possibilities here are endless but the point is, you don’t have to be a comedian to be funny, especially because the situations we find ourselves in are so common that we should have a few memorized and ready to deploy.
Engagement sessions can start to become boring and static if your couple is posed in static poses for the entire session. Consider “fireman carries,” piggy-back rides, and even jumping simultaneously if that adds action, character, and laughs to the scene.
Props like bikes or footballs or any other objects that introduce action and add a personal element are a great way to bring out natural interaction and laughs. However, this still requires some direction if your couple is not naturally having fun. In the image below, we had them spread their legs on the bike so that she felt off balance, creating a few big laughs.
Silly faces are a great way to get them to loosen up. Count to three over and over and have them make a different silly face each time. A lot of times, it’s not going to be the actual silly face but the reaction in between that you’ll want to keep. So make sure you fire away, not just on the expected third count.
A sure fire way to get some laughs is the element of surprise. I almost always pull the male aside for what the bride thinks is a personal coaching session. During this short time, I tell him to do something spontaneous when I say a certain word. That something spontaneous could be an overwhelming kiss or a surprise lift. You’ll have to make that decision based on the personality of the client and their tolerance for silly things.
The rule of thumb here is to get your clients out of their comfort zone. Action and activities will often be the solution to a low-energy or serious couple. Lastly, make sure that you’re not stressed or uncomfortable, because if the clients sense that, they’ll invariably feel that way as well. So make sure you have fun and to learn more about engagement photography, see our workshop here.
All images copyright Lin and Jirsa Photography.