So I think I've got a good grasp on how to compose a photo, check lighting conditions, adjust lighting conditions, set the camera controls, and press the shutter. However an ongoing issue that I have is in dealing with the actual people that form the subjects of each photo. Whether it be weddings, children, portraits, candids... it is inevitable that some clients will just be plain difficult to deal with. Not necessarily because of their personalities but because of their stage fright once a fat lens is pointed in their direction.
I always thought I was pretty good with people, but when I took on photography jobs involving people, I realised I had to develop a skill of making people feel comfortable... being able to ease the tension with a genuinely funny joke, maintaining tolerance with a group containing at least one rebel, making a child laugh (continuously over a long period of time), convincing parents that it is better to just "look at me" rather than disciplining their children who don't smile at the camera (so many times I finally capture that gorgeous photo of a child only to have one of their parents yelling down at them), and of course keeping a nervous and slightly vain bride from looking like a shop mannequin. It can be difficult to dedicate so much time helping a client relax and be natural in pose while staying completely on top of the technical and creative job at hand.
One of the most important things I have learned is how important it is develop a rapport with clients prior to the photoshoot. That is, having them know me and me knowing them at a personal level. Trying to break down any barriers that might get in the way so that when the photoshoot starts, I'm already sharing stories and encouraging natural expressions. Sometimes I bring my lovely partner along who is really personable and great with people. That helps. With children, I let them see my camera and we start with funny faces and talk a lot about their favourite games and sometimes I ask them to tell a completely made-up story, and their eyes light up with invention. For adults, I've carefully tried to work out the best but least corny approach to complimenting their looks and how well they are posing, and "trying" to instil confidence.
For many clients, it's all too easy. Some people are a dream to photograph. But others do naturally carry a lot of insecurity and self-consciousness once the shooting starts. I know I do, which is why I like being on the business end of the camera.
So I'm just wondering, what other advice or tips to others have in dealing with people and bringing out the best in their images?