“I love the juxtaposition of old and new.” – Lulu tells me when we first meet at Hong Kong’s iconic IFC tower. “I’ve only been here a month but I love this city!”
I nod in agreement. She had taken the words straight from my mouth.
Up until this point, we had never met. Lulu & Keith were total strangers. She was a friend of a friend. Since I was in Hong Kong for a holiday, I wanted to make the most of the trip.
So here we are, at IFC Mall, in Hong Kong.”
Daniel’s Photography Tip:
When I first started out as a photographer, I made the mistake of trying to become my clients’ friend. Three years later, my advice is simple. Don’t put yourself inside the friends-zone.
I find that when I photograph people that I know very well (and are quite ‘chummy’ with), I direct less. I push less. I squeeze less from that couple. I find myself biting my tongue, giving up earlier at a session, and missing out on opportunities right in front of me.
This may seem like a bizarre inverse relationship to you, but through my experience, I produce my best work when I don’t feel the need to protect a friendship. I say the things I need to say. I point to where I need to point. I pose the subjects as I need to.
By all means, be friendly and polite. Have fun and share a laugh. These are the basic interpersonal skills that as a photographer you must master, but do not trap yourself into becoming a client’s best friend.
Maintaining a professional distance between yourself and your subjects ensures that they listen to your directions. You owe it to you clients to produce your best work. After all, they’re paying you for a service, not to be your friend.
See more tips on Client Relations.
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