If you photograph people, especially for events like weddings or other gatherings, then you know that getting a great photo takes a lot more than having a good camera. Even if you just enjoy getting photos of family and friends how, you interact with your subjects make a huge difference in how the photo feels.

If you piss people off or make them feel self-conscious chances are they ain’t gonna look good in the photos.

Many photographers say they like candids best. That way there are no awkward moments when you have to overcome the awkwardness of pointing a machine at someone and putting them on the spot to perform. Not too many folks care to turn on an authentic smile for you just because you command them to do it. Candids mean none of of that. (Unless you are caught doing it.)

But successful people photography is more than just candids. Most of the time you have to interact with your subjects which means your task is 50% your technical skills and 50% your personality. Or maybe 30/70 or 60/40 or something. Not sure how to quantify the ratio, but there is a big percent of soft skills involved.

Mostly it’s a matter of distraction. Our minds are pretty fluid, constantly pinging from one subject to another so the key is to get your subjects mind off the camera for just a moment and be ready to get your shot. How you do this will vary from person to person so you need to wend your way, sensing when you find that brief hole in the other person’s self-consciousness.

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