The Actual Shoot
Okay, so we're gonna talk about, I'm gonna tell you about what I do at the shoot to get to know these families fast in person. So now I have this information about them and now so what do we do at the shoot. So I want to talk to you about this because some of this is gonna be hard for me to talk over when we actually have the family in here. A lot of it happens in my mind, so I wanted to makes sure that I really just touched on some of this pre-shoot, beginning of the shoot stuff, okay. So at the very beginning of the shoot and I know that I talked about this a little bit already, I take the time to gauge the vibe of the family. So it's just like when you walk into a party or even when you walk into someone's home and you can feel it, right. You know what they're like. I feel your vibe right now. I'm just being a dork, but it's true. Like some people, you know, you get up to them and you know that they're gonna be like a hugger or you know that they're gonna tell you everything about t...
heir life or you know that they're a little bit more introverted. And when you get with a family, I usually meet with them at their car and I can tell right away. Like I said earlier, you know, sometimes the family's bouncin' all over the place and the mom, like my friend Stella there that does that now, you get there and she's got like this wagon full of clothes and she's trying to get dressed in the back of the car and she's just awesome. She's got like this amazing extroverted personality. It's great. I can tell right away how she wants me to treat her. How this is gonna work. And sometimes you go and you can tell that mom feels really self-conscious, maybe she's a little bit worried about having her photos taken. Dad seems a little grouchy, so I'll pay a little more attention to him actually and make sure that he's like cool with what's gonna happen. I get down on my knees and I say hi to every single child individually. It is so important to do that. I leave my camera in the bag at the beginning and I really take the time to relate to every family member. And you can do this in like five minutes. This takes letting go. Give yourself, be yourself. You do not have to be anything but yourself. Remember they came to you because they love your brand. They came to you because they love your style. So just be you and relate to these people and let them know that you actually care about who they are as humans. Okay. So how do we make this connection happen and quickly? Right? Because I only want to be there an hour, they only want to be there an hour. We gotta do this fast. They have to relax and you're gonna be the one that makes them do that. And luckily, you've already set the tone by being in charge, so they feel a sense of relaxation there. They know that they don't have to take care, that they're not worried about you know, Johnny sitting in a little red chair and being really well behaved. They're totally cool with you being in charge. They already feel a little relaxed, but you have to continue with that. So there's a lot of power in encouragement. I know that I already talked about this a little bit, but I'm gonna talk about it again because it's so important. I never stop talking, ever. I'm tired after these sessions, but I'm like, oh my. Like for this shot particularly, right. Get everyone together and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze your family together. You are so beautiful, Mom. I cannot believe how gorgeous you are. Dad, your little boy is snuggling into you. He is so cute, just squeeze him a little bit tighter." Just constant talking. "Oh my gosh, you are right in the middle, honey, you're right in the middle of all of your siblings and doesn't that feel silly?" constant. Encouragement is really important because if you just do it and you kind of stand back, they're like, "Now what?" (laughs) Like, "Is this going okay?" Like, "Is everything going okay?" Of course, the baby, she's like, "What's happening?" But constant encouragement, there's a lot of power in simply telling them that they look great. Simply telling them that what is happening is just right. If one of them's throwing a fit, like which happens, I'll be like, "It's fine! Don't worry about it." I'm looking at one of our audience members because I've photographed her family and her child actually vomited (laughs) at our session, okay. Did you feel stressed out? I was like, "It's fine! They vomit, these are kids. Like this happens, right." We went and I brought 'em back in and kept photographing him afterward. Encouragement is so important. You are gonna set the tone. You gotta keep encouraging because they're worried, they're nervous, they're having their photos taken. Most of us hate it, right? The power of touch. So when I was a nurse, one of my very first preceptors told me, "You will never know how powerful touch is until you reach out and you touch somebody that is going through something hard and you see their body relax." And that's a totally different thing, right? Nursing and photography are very different but it's true. So I'll sit with a mom and this is two points. I'll sit down with a mom and I'm posing them and you can tell that she's like (sighs) and I'll just my hands are her shoulder and say "You're fine. You look beautiful." And I touch her. And I think that allows her to be like, "Okay, we're connecting, like this is a touch-er." And I know that this hard for some people. I'm not a personal space person, obviously. But touch is really important. If you want Dad to turn his head like that, touch him and turn it that way. If you want the little one to put his hand on his mom's hand, grab that little guy's hand and put it there. They are okay with it, most times. And you'll be able to tell if they're not. If someone looks like they're really shying away, obviously, you're probably not gonna want to touch them. But going back to this whole session experience, my people know we're gettin' close. They've seen my portfolio. They see that this is what's happening, they're not surprised, they're not surprised at all. The power of touch goes the other way with the clients touching each other. As soon as you get them this is a momma holding a baby, you get them in there holding their child or whatever and you ask them to touch each other and what's interesting is that even a family that's really close you ask them to stand next to each other and they'll make space with their bodies, they will. You bring them in again and you say we're going to touch we're just going to... The teenager all I can say, you're going to touch your mom today I know that you don't want to, you're going to have to hug your sister we're going to do it and they do and they relax, so touch is actually very very powerful. The power of breath, this is another one of our students here, I'm a big yoga person I do a lot of yoga I believe a lot in the power of breath. If you have a client and you pose them and it looks like they're like this, they probably are, they probably aren't breathing literally. So often during a pose when I'm guiding and directing and I want them to relax I'll say take a deep breath with me and just exhale, just exhale and they do and the whole pose just kind of relaxes. So pay attention breath is actually very powerful. Often what I'll say too to parents, this is one of my favorite things to ask them to relax I'll say just grab your baby and breathe them in and every, I promise you, every mother knows exactly what I'm talking about when you say that, fathers too. They just know what I mean to breathe them in, so the power of breath this is going to help people to relax. Humor, this is my people right here. The power of humor, don't be afraid like I said this earlier, be a fool be silly with these kids. Open up be playful, if dad's having a hard time I know a lot of people worry about dads, joke with him, get in there make sure that he's laughing. Help them to relax, humor is going to really help people to relax when they realize that you are lighthearted and that you're there to have a good time. We're not there to make them do anything boring and uncomfortable we're there to have a really good time and humor is a great way to say that. Movement, the power of movement, when all else fails start moving. So if we're posing people and they're looking really uncomfortable the kid is having a tough go it's like okay this isn't working, the shoot is not lost you just got to move. So we're going to go into some movement poses I'll talk a little bit about it in the next segment, but when a person starts moving their body they relax period. So if you're doing some posing and it's seeming like it's looking really stiff it's not working start moving. You can move to another part of the location you can ask them to dance you can ask them to hold hands and walk, movement is a great way to get people to relax, it's just a more natural state of being than being stagnant, so movement is super powerful.