Get there early and spend some time with your client
If a client is coming to your setup, then try to carve out a few minutes off your schedule to meet him in advance. This way the studio won’t be so awkward when you both step in for the shoot. Get the formalities out of the way and start connecting with your client. You can also ask your client questions about what he has in mind for the portrait. This way you will also get an idea where to start from. Break the ice so that your client feels confident that he has come to the right place and believes that the portrait is going to be great.
Talk to your client while you setup
If the person you are portraying wants an excellent picture and has the time to do it, take about 10-15 minutes to get to know them. Engage with your client for a considerable amount of time until you feel they are comfortable and ready to go. Start a conversation while setting your equipment like cameras, lights, stools adjustments or outfit and hair style etc. Ask your clients question about their favorite color of shirt or the kind of lightning they want in their picture. You have to do all of this while having a smile on your face. Ask your client the permission to adjust their shoulders or remove a crease line from their shirt. This will make them more excited about the picture and will bring out their most natural pose.
Keep your client engaged
Even if you start shooting, don’t rush the shot. Take your time with the camera and the person sitting in front of it. Engage with your client complimenting them and tell them to try different types of their own poses. Then tell them what you want to change about them. This will make the person forget about everything else and concentrate on the portrait being taken. Also keep them in engaged to what you are saying by stating a life experience of yours that is similar to their, your hobbies and why you started photography etc. You have to make that client your permanent one after that first meeting. You have to work for you best picture but believe me getting that perfect portrait is a reward in itself.
Start with poses that might not work:
Most of the time, people are shy and very uncomfortable when told to sit in a professional studio in front a camera. To make sure that your client is in the most natural pose when you take your best picture, tell the person to sit in a pose that you know are not going to work. This will give them time to relax their shoulders a bit and start getting in the mood. By taking 5-8 minutes with the client, you will start feeling that the client is now more engaged and starting to feel the vibe of the room. Get the awkwardness out of the way first before going for the special one.
Encourage, Encourage And Encourage
You have to keep the client feel better about what they are doing and you will also have to be careful not to fake it. You have to make the person in front of the camera believe what you are saying. Compliment them about their smile and their outfit. Tell them that they are doing excellent for first timers compared to others. Tell them that their portrait is going to be perfect because of how good they are doing.
As you can see, most of the tips are related to the personal connection because is the most powerful tool you can have when working with people. This practice not only works with headshot photography, it does with every kind of business nowadays. Just give it a try, don’t jump right on the task, try to connect with your client, friends or anybody, listen to them and you will see the dramatic change you will get out of it.