So how do today's leading wedding photographers accomplish this feat, both during engagement sessions and on the wedding day?
Get to Know Them & Their Story--PPA member Anna Pociask of Alabama starts the process by getting to know her clients and their story. "I don't make it about me; I turn things around and make it about them," she says. "I ask them lots of questions. How did you meet? When did you start dating? What is your proposal story? What do you enjoy doing together? It all begins from discovering their story."
Use Their Natural Emotions--Pociask stresses the importance of an engagement session as a way of deepening her relationship with the clients and extending her coverage of their personal love story. She tries to turn the sessions into a fun date during which the couple can relax, let loose and have fun. "They're engaged, so there is already a lot of chemistry going on," she says. "I try to tap into that chemistry and encourage them to show their passion for each other. I like them to get close. I want them to feel like it's real."
Once she feels like the clients have broken through the initial stiffness that often accompanies a photo session, Pociask offers a little direction to optimize the images. She will place them in certain scenes with good lighting and a good background, and then encourage them to act naturally. "Usually they will start laughing and being cute together," she notes.
Break the Ice If Needed--If they're self-conscious or have trouble embracing the moment, Pociask uses her own outgoing personality to put them at ease. "I'm a people person, and I love to make my clients feel special and beautiful," she says. "If things are a little dry, I keep plunging in, just being my fun-loving self and doing whatever I can to bring out their personalities. And I don't stop until I break the ice."
Pociask has found that these techniques work both for an engagement session and for the portrait segment of a wedding. At a wedding, time is more of an issue and settings may be more limited, but the general principle of tapping into a couple's natural emotion holds true.
"So much of this process is finding ways to bring the love story out of the couple," says Pociask. "That means encouraging them to exhibit the love they already have for each other. If you can do that effectively, then the love story often unfolds in front of you."
ALL IMAGES Â© ANNA POCIASK PHOTOGRAPHY