“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and… SNAP! The job’s a game!” // Mary Poppins
Sometimes having your photos taken can feel like a job! #AmIRight?! And even though I’m a photographer and I LOVE taking photos, I totally understand people not enjoying the idea of having their photo taken! (Pssst, let you in on a little secret, I’m actually a terrible subject and feel really awkward having my own photo taken!)
Most of my photo sessions are about two hours long. Think of anything un-fun you’ve had to do that lasted about two hours. (Waiting at the BMV. Lengthy doctors appointments. Folding laundry. That one required history class in college at 9AM.) I’m sure you do not think back on those two hours with fond memories. Asking someone who doesn't really enjoy having their picture taken to endure a two hour photo session is like asking them to go to a root canal, and then be happy while you’re doing it. I get it.
This is why I try to put having fun as one of the most important things during photo sessions or during portrait time at a wedding.
I understand that there’s a myriad of things most people would rather be doing than having their photo taken. And I want my clients to know that I see them, hear them, and I am going to do my best to make things as painless as possible. My way of making portraits fun is by making most of the session feel like a hangout with games and funny prompts. When I do this I have clients that end their session or on their wedding day say, “That was so much fun! It didn’t even feel like we were having our photo taken!”
Usually, I start my photo sessions with easy poses and movements that allow me to talk with my clients and drop my ever so magical jokes. Trust me, I should be a stand up comedian I’m so damn funny! Just kidding, I more like an awkward turtle trying to take pictures while making jokes. Either way, it’s hilarious to watch go down.
So you wanna know my secrets to fun times at a portrait session?
HERE ARE THREE WAYS I TRY TO HAVE FUN DURING PORTRAIT SESSIONS:
Obviously, I try to make things fun and funny. Sometime’s I make fun of myself. Sometimes I make fun of the situation. Sometimes I say silly things that will make you laugh. Laughter is the best way to get natural smiles out of people. I’m not above doing a silly little dance or say something weird or embarrassing about myself to make people laugh. All of this plays into a light and upbeat atmosphere that will create photos of you laughing and having fun. And isn’t that what we all want?
I utilize silly little games and prompts to lighten the mood. Standing still and smiling is soooo 1985. I will ask my clients to jump, walk, dance, create a secret handshake. Anything to have a little fun and lighten the mood. Every photo doesn’t have to be romantic. Every photo doesn’t have to be serious. Some of my favorite photos are from people playing a game and then they just bust out laughing.
DRINKS AFTER THE SESSION
All arduous tasks seem easier if you know there’s a reward at the end! If there’s time available I love to go get drinks with my clients after their session to just relax and chat. On wedding days I do this by promising a relaxation time or cocktail hour to my clients once we finish photos. Obviously, photo time on a wedding day is shorter than an engagement session but I want my clients to have fun either way. And knowing that there’s a drink around the corner will definitely help with that!
So while my top secret tips are super wonderful and work pretty darn well, there’s another piece to the puzzle…
I can only do so much from my end. Imagine us as dancing partners; I can lead all I want but if you’re dragging your feet, we’re definitely not going to win the dance competition.
So how can YOU help yourself have fun at your portrait session?
HERE ARE THREE TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN HAVE FUN DURING YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION:
RELAX AND TRUST THE PROCESS
I always tell my clients to take a big ol’ deep breath and relax!! Don’t worry about double chins, awkward positioning, or looking silly. I want you to look good just as much as you want to look good! Don’t be afraid to laugh if something is silly or funny. Let your emotions go! Don’t stifle them!
FOCUS ON ME, YOUR PARTNER, AND OUR TIME TOGETHER
Sometimes being in public places and having your photo taken can feel awkward. I get it, having tons of people around staring at you while you’re having your photo taken can feel weird. And I don’t really see it because all I’m looking at is you! So I suggest trying to do the same thing. Tune out the other people around us and just focus on me or each other. Pretend no one else is there and it’s just us in an empty location. Trust me, you’ll feel much better about it all!
BE IN THE MOMENT
Try to leave everything else that happened before the session or before portrait time behind and just be there in the moment. Spend time with your partner! This is a fun and exciting time for you both! So be sure to live that moment out and enjoy it! Sometimes on wedding days my clients will bring the stress of the day with them to portrait time and I always have them take a moment to take a huge deep breath and let it all out. Usually in this instance I may not start with something fun but more something relaxing so the fun can come later. I may even just have you two hug it out and hold each other for a few seconds. So try to leave everything that happened before the session behind and just be there in the moment and have a good time.
So I guess that’s my philosophy on fun and incorporating it into your portrait session! If you have fun your photos will look fun! So be sure to just embrace the moment, embrace the silly, and embrace the laughter and I promise you will look like you were having the time of your life during your portraits. (Likely because you were!)
I believe in FUN portraits of my couples! And I hope you do too!