If you find yourself letting your anxiety get the best of you before each of your sessions, you aren’t alone! Half the photography battle is the mental battle and no matter how many sessions you shoot over the course of your career, you may always feel little butterflies before each session begins. It’s normal-heck, it still happens to me and I’ve been shooting for ten years! However, I’ve got five simple tips that are going to help you feel confident and ready to rock every.single.session! You ready? Let’s do this!
Establish a session workflow: Would it surprise you if I told you that I tackle every single one of my photography sessions the exact same way? Well, I do. There is nothing worse than drawing a creativity blank in the middle of a session OR forgetting to photograph a particular pose or family grouping because I simply showed up to the session, winged it, and hoped that I captured everything that my clients deserve. The secret to successful sessions is a workflow that works FOR YOU and I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. Grab a pen and jot down all of the photos/poses you’d like to capture for your clients during each session. I.E.whole family sitting, whole family standing, photo of just children, photos of children individually, photo of mom with children, dad with children, etc. Then list an order in which to take said photos to ensure that you don’t forget any of them! All of our creative juices flow differently so what works for you may not necessarily work for another photographer, and that’s a good thing.For me, I begin all of my sessions with my seated poses and end in standing poses. However you decide to lay out your workflow, practice it. Then practice it again. Then call up a friend and practice on them. Run through your workflow so many times that you could orchestrate a session in your sleep. Consider yourself an actor/actress with your workflow as your script. Once you’ve got your workflow down pat, those anxious butterflies will fly away and you’ll only be left with excited butterflies because you’ll walk into each session confident in your workflow.
Prep your gear and pack your bag the day before your session: It might seem like common sense, but, truly, taking the time to pack your bag BEFORE session day will eliminate any last minute stress caused by scrambling to find fresh batteries or empty CF cards. If you have a session on Saturday, charge your batteries on Friday, format your CF cards on Friday, and tuck it all in your bag on Friday. Even if your session is an evening session..pack your bag the night before. Trust me. You’ll sleep better and you won’t ever run the risk of showing up to a session without the gear you need.
Touch base with your client the week of the session: Chances are, your client booked a session with you weeks or months in advance. There was a ton of correspondence in the beginning as you discussed session date, time, payment information, etc. When this initial correspondence ends, I always let my client know that I will touch base with them the week of the session just to say hi and confirm our session plans. And then I make sure that I do. On Monday mornings, I touch base with every client that I have a session with that week. This shows your clients that their session matters to you and it shows your professionalism as well. And, we’re humans, things happen, so it’s best to reach out and triple check that all of your initial correspondence still checks out vs just assuming because heaven forbid you or your client shows up at the wrong date/place/time. Talk about NOT professional. Don’t be that guy.
Leave 10 minutes earlier than you think you should: Your clients are counting on you to be on time and ready to go at the arranged session time…not rolling up to the parking lot at the session time. Whether the session location is a five minute drive from your house or an hour drive, leave ten minutes earlier than you think you should. This gives you a little wiggle room for any traffic or delays you may encounter and it also allows you a few quiet minutes prior to the session time to scout the light at your location and get your camera settings established before your clients arrive.
Rock it out: If you’ve done all of the things we’ve chatted about..if you’ve packed your gear the day before your session and touched base with your client and pulled into your session ten minutes early with your workflow so engrained that you could do a session in your sleep, then all that’s left is for you to rock it out! As the saying goes, ‘fake it till you make it.’ Chances are, your clients have butterflies in their tummies too and it’s your job to put everyone at ease and make the session a fun experience. That’s why they hired you, after all, so do YOU and rock that session so hard that you can’t even fathom feeling anything but confident. You’ve got this and I’m here cheering for you every step of the way.