SENIOR GUY STYLE ~ Treat Your Guys Like Adults

I’m about to share with you a concept so simple, it’s PROFOUND.

Yep, it’s deep stuff here at Senior Guy Style.

Listen carefully…When you’re working with your guys, whether it’s at a pre-session consultation, the session itself, or a viewing appointment, TREAT YOUR GUYS LIKE ADULTS.

That’s it.  That’s the simple yet profound concept to getting great,natural shots of your guys.

Don’t ignore them, don’t treat them as a side note, don’t only address their moms. And ladies, here’s a big one, don’t “mother” them.  You’ll get much better results if you talk to them like the adults that they are desperately wanting to be recognized as.

I’ve found for not only myself, but for most photographers, we achieve our best results when our models feel engaged and valued in the session. What we do behind the scenes to achieve that goal will definitely affect the final images.

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I’ve heard over and over again that the guys “just aren’t into it.”  Well, I’m sure some of them aren’t.  But it’s our job, as the highly skilled professionals that we are, to overcome whatever obstacle we may have and produce fantastic images. Thankfully, the mood of a guy (or girl) that just isn’t into it can usually be altered very quickly with a few simple actions.

Here’s a few specific things that I do with the guys to establish trust and confidence right from the start.  No, these are not scientifically proven, but they sure can’t hurt.

~ Shake their hand as soon as you meet them.  It’s courteous and shows that you recognize their importance. And it’s a very “adult” thing to do.

~ Call them by their name as often as you can.  Again, it makes them feel important.  Everyone likes to hear their name.

~ When you’re beginning the session, if you’re asking questions about choices or discussing what the plan is, address the guy and not the parent. Or at least be sure to address them both and not only the parent.

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I’m primarily an on-location photographer so I’m often walking from place to place with my models and parents.  I make sure that the majority of the time I’m walking beside the guy, engaging him in conversation.  It’s so easy to chat with the moms and then the guy will dutifully follow behind.  But any time I’ve noticed that I’ve done that, I’ll politely finish up my talk with mom and purposely start walking beside the guy.  If you’re not sure what to talk about, here’s a few general conversation starters:

~ How’s your Senior year going?

~ Do you have an easy schedule or a hard one?

~ Have you made any plans yet for after high school?(this is a polite way of asking about college without assuming that they are going to college)

~ What have you enjoyed most about being a Senior? 

~ So you’re involved in {sport/club/activity}…how’s your season going?

~ How long have you been involved in {sport/club/activity}?

~ Are you going to continue doing {sport/club/activity} after high school?

~ Do you want to stay close to home or go to a different state?

Those are just a few very general openers that should get at least some polite responses from your guy, and hopefully loosen him up a bit. And finally, if none of those things get him relaxed, you’re welcome to use my super secret line guaranteed to get a big cheesy smile out of him.

Before I ever start shooting I say to my guys “I’m about to become your very favorite person because I’m going to tell you something that you will never, ever, hear from a woman again.  Ever in your life.  Listen up.  Today, you can do nothing wrong!

That always gets a big laugh from both the guy and the mom! And for you male photographers, sorry, but it just doesn’t work the same when you say it. You gotta find something different haha.

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So there you have it, one small, simple concept that can make a world of difference in the mood of your guy.  Treat them like adults and engage them in every way you can during the session.  Not only will it change the way your guy relates to you, but it will also change your attitude towards your guy.

One more thing…

…don’t ya love those collages I’ve posted here?  I put these together with my very favorite blogging tool, BlogStomp.  BlogStomp makes it so incredibly easy to make collages of as many photos as you like, sized and optimized for your blog, website, Facebook, or whatever else you choose.

And, they’re offering a 20% Discount code exclusively for SENIOR GUY STYLE readers!  …because they’re just awesome like that. 

Use the code: SENIORGUYSTYLE20 

That makes it less than $40! This code is good thru April 2nd, 2014.  Enjoy and get your BlogStomp on!