If you want to be a photographer, you've got to get good at a variety of technical things - understanding light, knowing how to use your equipment, and having knowledge of the principles of photography, things like aperture and shutter speed. However, there are other less tangible things you've got to master, at least that's what I believe, to make good pictures of people.
You have to know how to make people feel relaxed.
Here's what I've learned so far: most regular people, most of my clients, and me included, are not naturally comfortable having their photograph taken. In fact, I've found that some people aren't just a bit awkward - they actively dislike being photographed. Now, obviously if someone has booked me or any other photographer, they're trying to get some nice images of themselves and their family and friends. BUT they might still be nervous, and in my experience, that's generally the case for almost all clients.
As a photographer, People have to feel at ease with you. The best environment for photos is a relaxed, non-judgmental space that is familiar to the client. And as a your photographer, it's my job to make you feel like this whole photo shoot business is a piece of cake. Because it is.
Here's how I do it. I talk a lot. I have a conversation with people, because that's what people do when they get together, they shoot the breeze. So, our session will feel like we got to know each other, had a laugh, and then it will be over before you realized it had begun. Now, don't think this is me not working hard, or not doing my job as a photographer: that's definitely not the case. I'm talking with you, I'm chatting with your kids if there are kids around, and I'm concentrating on the technical and compositional details required to make excellent photographs.
Making my clients comfortable during a shoot is just as important as the resulting photographs. In fact, comfort is required for good pictures, period.
And at one of my shoots, I guarantee you'll have both!
Places I've been, people I've seen.