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Loosen Up!

May 9th, 2012  |  by  |  published in Featured, Shoot

In honor of the Posing and Composition workshop that I’m leading with Jamie Wexler next week, I wanted to talk a bit about some of the techniques that I use to get nervous couples to loosen up.  How many times have you been told by a perfectly lovely bride and groom, “Oh, we’re not photogenic at all”?  Or, “we always look silly in photographs– and not in a good way”?  Or, “the groom (or the bride) always looks stiff or unhappy in photographs”?  How do you take these couples and get them to loosen up in front of the camera so that you can get natural, relaxed (and dare I say happy) expressions from them?  Every couple is different (as is every photographer), so you need to find something that works for both you AND the couple, but I wanted to share a few of my tips for getting couples to loosen up in front of the camera.  Now, some of these tips I tend to use during post sessions or engagement sessions, and some of these lend themselves more to weddings.  But they are all things that I keep in my bag of tricks, ready to go.

1) Talk to them.  About anything, really, especially if you have a lot of time (on a post shoot or at an engagement shoot, for example).  If they are really fired up about the wedding details, then you can talk to them about that, but MOST of the time I find that will leave one of them (usually the groom, but occasionally the bride)– the one who has been less interested in wedding planning– high and dry.  So try to find some common ground.  I may ask them to tell me how they met or got engaged.  If one person is talking more than the other, I’ll find specific questions to ask the less-talkative one (even if we spiral off into work topics or their house on the Vineyard or their favorite vacation overseas).  If they seem quiet, then sometimes I’ll do most of the talking in the beginning (until they start to relax).

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