Have a Chat – This is the pre-shoot meeting but very informal.
If you are a portrait photographer I assume you are comfortable talking to people. You have to be a people person and enjoy meeting people to do this job.
Now is the time to find out who your client is and vice versa. You have to start. Without being a gloat, tell your client about yourself. Throw in some jokes, bad jokes are fine too. Come to think of it, most of my jokes are bad but if you look a little silly your client will relax a lot more. Just don’t go overboard and look like a complete idiot. You want your client to smile not grimace.
If your client is a family, pay more attention to the person that seems most uncomfortable but don’t ignore the others. Ask questions and be genuinely interested in their answers. This doesn’t come naturally for most people so you may really have to concentrate. Don’t interrupt them while they are talking, that’s just bad and tells your client that you are not really interested in what they have to say.
This is where you find out what your client is self-conscious about. Don’t be afraid to ask you will be surprised at how open people are especially when you are tasked with making them awesome.
Find out their hobbies and interests. Ask about their family. People love to talk about their family.
You can also show your clients some of your work and get them to pay attention to the poses. Please, please show them photos of normal people. Supermodel shots will just bring back the insecurities.
This chat does not have to take too long (10 – 15 min) and then suggest moving to the studio.