It Takes Two To Tango
Good morning everyone! Wow, this autumn has really flown by for me; please thank your photographers, we've all had about a million photoshoots this month and we're tired! Today I wanted to touch more on a topic I've already talked about before, because I feel it's an ongoing topic that's always relevant to clients seeking out a beautiful shoot – How do you get your session to turn out as great as the rest of your photographer's work, and is there any way you can influence the results?
The short answer is – abso-freaking-lutely! Generally speaking, when you hire a photographer you should be hiring them for the right reasons to begin with; it shouldn't be simply because they were cheap or convenient, but one would hope that you actually like their style as well.
Because before I can even delve into what you can do to help ensure you better photoshoot results, that really is the first integral step: Hiring a photographer who's portfolio you love! This fundamental tip is often overlooked by many, when it's actually one of the key players in how happy you'll be with the results. I know I sound like a broken record online when I say this, but photographers are never one-size-fits-all. This doesn't mean sending just any photographer a bunch of photos you found and asking them to edit like that – it means finding a photographer whose work already looks the way you want it to.
It may seem like we all use the same medium for our art, but we all produce widely different results in style. Some of us aim for the light and airy approach, some of us edit with more dark and moody tones, some really like to play with flash for more dramatic effects while others prefer strictly dreamy, natural sunset lighting, and all of us see through our lenses very differently! That's why, if a certain style of photography resonates with you a bit more, remember that the first step to achieving your ultimate photoshoot actually occurs before your session even begins; by choosing a photographer that's a good fit for you.
Now that you've found your dream photographer, does this mean that you can kick back and relax and your photographer will make the magic happen? Well, to a certain extent. But what if there was more you could do to turn your photoshoot up a notch?
From the title of this blog, you probably get where I'm going with this. When it comes to the customer and professional relationship in any industry, it really does take two to tango! Now, if you're hiring a photographer whose work is consistent and whose portfolio you love, the likelihood is that no matter what, you're going to get good results. But think of it this way – photographers usually get too many clients to ever be able to post all of them online, so of course this means they'll always choose to showcase their absolute favorite shots on their website and social media – the envy-worthy shots. So the question is, how can you help influence your photoshoot to be that level of gorgeous – so good that your results end up being some of your photographer's new prized works of art?
First and foremost, what you wear and the level of thought you put into it is going to have one of the biggest impacts on the success of your final photos. I can't emphasize this enough – casually sporting a college sweatshirt and sneakers is not going to yield the results you see in your photographer's work. We want to see you dressed like you're going to a special occasion – because you are!
Think of your photography session like an investment, because it definitely is. Often the prices we pay for a good photographer could buy us one, two, or even three ultra fancy dinners at a pricey restaurant. And if you went to a really high-class restaurant or dinner party, you'd definitely be mindful about what you wore! Some clients even buy outfits specifically for the photoshoot, which I generally encourage. While I'm not saying you need to go and spend a fortune, I do know that investing a little time and thoughtfulness into your outfits is always what takes these photoshoots to the next level and makes them stand out – making the investment you spent on the photoshoot itself even more worth it!
So let's touch on the specifics of how to decide what to wear. Depending on who you are and your personalities, there's definitely a variety of different looks you could aim for. When it comes to couples and engagement shoots, you could either go for the super dramatic and get a bold show-stopping dress, or maybe boho with a lacy sundress and indie jewelry, or you could go for casual but still ultra-fashionable with ripped jeans and boots or even a hat. For families, you may want to color-coordinate a little with accents of a specific color, or even just stick to a particular theme, like picnic-vibes with floral dresses and corduroy.
However, one thing to be careful of is to risk going from trendy to tacky. Dramatic isn't always better, and my general rule of thumb is, could you wear this to a banquet, restaurant, or party in the future and not feel a bit silly in it? Yes, I am talking about the weird trend of fluorescent spandex maternity dresses and yes, I will be brutally honest that I kind of hate them. While I love a bold dress, I want it to be authentically dramatic, without looking like a cheap costume that you could never wear again. For maternity, I would generally recommend maybe veering away from the frilly-neon-purple-spandex gowns and instead opting for something a little more wearable, like a flowy mustard yellow sundress or long-sleeved velvet sweater dress.
My biggest recommendation, always, is to do some research before your photoshoot. The absolute best way to find outfit inspiration is to look through your photographer's pre-existing portfolio style, google image searches, and apps like Pinterest or Instagram, and even Etsy! When you type in terms like "engagement photo outfits" or "styled family photoshoot", you're going to get a lot of results with trendy clothing ideas to help you find inspiration, some of which will be more casual and some that are more formal. But at the end of the day, putting some time and thought in your outfits is really going to help build that bridge with your photographer and help them achieve the results that you both want, the photographer included!
So now that we've seen how fashion can make a big difference in the results of our photos, is that all there is to it? Actually, when it comes to client coordination there's three things I find have the biggest impact on successful photos: Hiring a photographer you love, being thoughtful about your outfit planning, and finally, being willing to jump in and release all inhibitions.
Often a frustration for me as a photographer is receiving a client who has high expectations for their session, but is unwilling to fully engage. The grass is gross, the bugs are scary, the water is too wet. Often much of the breathtaking photography we covet involves being open-minded – laying down in a rolling field, standing on a windy cliffside, or even a romantic make-out session in the ocean. But to achieve those photos, those clients needed to be fearless for them. I am always one hundred percent ready to jump into nature for any of my sessions and I will voluntarily walk up to my knees in mud to capture a photo if I need to, but for a truly astounding session I need you to be willing to take that leap with me too!
And finally, while the first half of being fearless means physically diving into your shoot, the second half is about being willing to emotionally dive in. I've found that the main component of my most prized couples photos has been one thing: The couples from those sessions had no inhibitions about holding back their feelings for one another. If you're a couple who's very uncomfortable about PDA, this is where we need to be willing to break down those walls! As a photographer, I can give you all the posing ideas and prompts in the world, but if you want truly captivating photos, this is where "it takes two to tango" really comes into play. I need you to tango with me on this.
This means paying less attention to me and the camera, and far more attention to each other. This means flirting, goofing around, cuddling, spontaneous kisses, and altogether interacting like you would in private. As a photographer, I've seen it all and there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Portrait photographers don't get uncomfortable, we'll be laughing right there with you and you'll hear that shutter click even faster the second that you smother your fiance in kisses!
What it comes down to is this – even the most talented and high-demand photographer isn't a complete magician. At the end of the day, a key player in the result of our most successful photos is our clients' cooperation, coordination, and willingness to take that extra leap with us. Let's dive right in and get the photos of (both) our dreams!
Morgan Ofsharick at MEO Photography specializes in proposal, engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, family, and headshot portrait photography, servicing New Haven, Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, Litchfield, and plenty of other regions around Connecticut!
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Just a little spot where I try to offer helpful tips and insight on how to achieve your best photo session, and also some occasional art discussion as well!