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The Psychology of Getting Awesome Pictures

psychologyWhen it comes to taking high quality pictures of subjects that look natural, it is very important that your photographer have the correct equipment, know how to place you, and that the lighting is correct.  However one important aspect that most photographers miss, even skilled photographers is making sure that you understand the attitude or mind set going in to the shoot.  Having the correct mind set is very important in getting the very best pictures.  Below are 4 important mind sets you should avoid when getting your pictures.

Mindsets to Avoid

1. Lets hurry up and get this done.

This attitude is very prevalent in men.  Since 90% of most session reservation are actually booked by females, its no wonder that men are just tagging along to make the wife/girlfriend/mom/fiance happy.  However many times they bring an attitude of “I really don’t want to be here” or “This better not take very long”.  This attitude can stress the subjects out, and even though they are smiling you can feel the stress in their face.   The only remedy for this is to communicate ahead of time how important the pictures are to you, and double the amount of time you think it might take, this way they don’t get anxious when their “make the spouse happy time” draws near.


2. The photographer knows what I want.

Even though good photographers will ask you what your looking for in your session, it’s still impossible for them know exactly what you want, and what is important to you.  This is why it’s important for you to spend some time before the session looking around on the Internet for posses or styles you like.  Just do a quick google images search for “family photography poses” (just replace the word family for whatever reservation style you are getting).  You will see several poses that only you can say you like.  Email your photographer these poses and tell them this is your style.  Also when at the session don’t hesitate to speak up and mention what it is your looking for and what you want captured.

It is also a good idea to have a general knowledge of the area you are going to and have the spots you want to shoot at already in mind.   Things will change when you meet, but at least you know the general feeling of the location and spots where you will get your pictures crafted.  If your going to a location that your photographer knows but you don’t, then ask them for pictures of that location ahead of time.  You don’t want to arrive at the location with a style of clothing that just doesn’t go with the surroundings.


3. Smile and Say Cheese?

While your photographer will probably ask you to smile, its important for you know that having fun during the session is actually more important than your smile.  You might be able to trick your friends with a fake smile, but you will know right away that you have frustration or tension in your eyes.  It can be a half million things from tension with the kids to an argument you had with the your spouse just moments before arriving.  While it is impossible to know what life will throw at you, it is possible for you to change your mindset and focus on being very positive and communicating to those with you how important it is for everyone to be in good spirits.

Be sure everyone is well fed before the session, but not stuffed, be sure to eat a light healthy meal right before your arrive (bring a tide stick if your nervous someone is going to stain their clothes).   To keep the mood light maybe have the family tell some jokes or listen to a funny cd to your way on the session.  Maybe watch a funny light hearted movie before you arrive and let everyone know to just relax and have fun.  Remember its a combination of preparation and communication that makes this happen.


4.  Everything needs to be perfect.

So you bring your toddlers to the session and they just won’t look at the camera, and no matter what you try they just won’t co-operate.  Another scenario might be that you wake up with is a huge pimple that came out of nowhere, or you hair is just not cooperating at all.  It happens and there is really nothing you can do about it.  What you can do is make the most of it by being subject to change.  In situations like this just adjust and capture other pictures you know you can get.  Don’t let frustration set in because it will show in your face.

Remember as a parent you can use one of the best know techniques used for 1000’s of years, that’s right bribery! Bring some treats a toy or something your toddler really adores and present it as a reward if they co-operate. For children under two be sure to have a toy that has worked to make them smile.  A good photographer can capture children at play and living life as a child.  Most children will not have a problem co-operating with play time, and these types of pictures can be priceless and many times turn out better than the “smile and say cheese” shoots.

Also know that any professional studio will do serious post-production editing to make you look your best.   Photoshop will clean up any blemishes you have and leave you looking your best.  So if you have something that is bothering you before the session please communicate these concerns to your photographer, and realize that everything does not have to be perfect.  A relaxed, joyful, and fun spirited mindset will make things perfect and getting your into this mindset can make a huge difference in capturing the very best images.


Final thoughts

So we have seen that staying relaxed and basic mental planning can go a long way in turning a good session into a spectacular session.  Communication is the real key to this mind set, and communicating this to yourself and those in the session with you is the key factor that makes all the difference.  If your spending a good amount of money getting these pictures it’s important to bring the best ‘you’ to the pictures you can possibly bring.  And the best ‘you’ is someone that is happy, calm, prepared, and ready for some awesome pictures!