If you’ve ever had your pictures taken by me (or have second shot with me), you will know a few things. First, that when I say “One more time” I usually mean at least three more times… second, that I will stop about anywhere (no matter location or background) for amazing light… and third, that my “Arielle laugh” becomes all too familiar by the end of the session.
I don’t know about you, but I personally feel awkward in front of the camera. I’m FAR more comfortable behind the lens than in front of it…. and I would venture to say that’s true of about 85% of people… especially photographers. So when we take clients out and give them the “now look at each other and laugh” instruction, most times it’s followed by awkward laughs that can feel really uncomfortable and forced. Most of the times it turns into a real laugh, but still with the initial awkwardness. You all know what I’m talking about right?
Well I’m not even sure when this started happening, but somehow I developed a laugh over the last couple years that has become a distinguishable trait to most all my couples. I think I started feeling the awkwardness of when I would ask them to laugh and so I would just demonstrate it for them… but in a really really interesting voice! Which then in turn made my couples laugh genuinely because, well let’s face it, I sounded like an idiot and so it made them feel less stupid. It looked something like…
Me: “Ok, now Josh nuzzle into Amy and Amy turn your chin towards me and give me a little giggle… ‘hehehehe'”
Josh + Amy: (laughing because I just sounded ridiculous)
Me: (click, click, click) Boom!! Super cute pics with genuine laughs!!
I have gotten some of my best laughs from my couples just by showing them what I mean. Obviously we don’t want couples or families to start fake laughing with those heads thrown back in a clearly disingenuous way, but what if we could make them feel so comfortable that genuine laughter just naturally follows?
It doesn’t have to be a fake laugh that gets them going necessarily. You do want to think through what you are doing that is making your clients feel comfortable though. Are you encouraging them, praising them, instructing them, showing them what you mean instead of just telling them? You would be surprised how many people walk away from sessions with photographers and just feel like the whole time they didn’t know what to do and felt uncomfortable. If there is ONE thing that I can beg you to do from now on in sessions, it’s to talk with your clients, joke with them, laugh with them throughout the session and then when you give them an instruction, they don’t feel like they are preforming, they feel like you’re all just hanging out! You will be amazed at the difference of demeanor in people when they feel like you are a friend and taking time to care and just hang out with them.
So whether you want to adopt the ridiculous “Arielle Laugh” and try it out at your next session, or if you want to come up with your own thing, just remember to start having some fun! Which will in turn make it more fun for them and give you better more authentic pictures… which also results in a better client experience! Check, check and check!!
Hope this was helpful!
If you want to read more helpful tips, check out my 5 Must-Do Business Practices for Photographers!