i, I'm Amanda Shrader! I'm a wedding and portrait photographer and creator of The Skirt Project, a women empowerment & body positivity movement. I am thankful to say I have been serving clients in the Staunton, Virginia area for over 6 years now! In 2020, when I created The Skirt Project, I gained a ton of knowledge of how to empower my clients during their portrait sessions. I am here to share my excitement & love for what I do, some tips on creating an empowering space for your clients, and how CloudSpot has changed my life/workflow over the past couple of years!
I strongly believe that all photographers, no matter your specialty–boudoir, wedding, family, senior– should intentionally aim to create a memorable and empowering experience for YOUR CLIENTS! Before having photos taken, our clients will think about wardrobe, makeup, location, and battle with their own confidence and insecurities. When your clients invest in a photography experience, you don’t want them to worry if they are going to feel awkward in front of the camera, resulting in not-so-good photos.
For me, The Skirt Project has shown me how important an empowering experience is. How meaningful photo sessions are and can be! I can’t do all that much to change the world, but by empowering other women, together we can do so much!
My tips for creating an empowering photography session for your clients:
1. Practice What You Preach
Let’s just admit it, being in front of the camera isn’t the easiest thing! Even if you LIKE to get your photo taken, it can still be nerve-racking and uncomfortable for some.
After 6+ years in business, I believe the biggest and most valuable tip for creating an empowering space for your clients is for YOU to get in front of the camera at least once/twice a year!
I personally do not loveeee every single thing about getting my photo taken, BUT the past two and a half years in building my passion project, The Skirt Project, I have been able to practice self-love and explore confidence in myself through experiencing my own photo sessions with my biz-bestie Jo Mahaney (@photography_byjo)
When you are able to “practice what you preach,” and become vulnerable in front of the camera, you are able to understand & empathize with some of your client’s thoughts & feelings during their session! It may even open your mind to parts of the client experience you hadn’t thought of before.
2. Communication is Key
You need to create a space of empowerment and authenticity throughout your entire client experience. Everything you say, from your social media platforms to your responses to inquiry emails, should echo the same values, brand voice, and consistent communication.
CloudSpot has become my #1 workflow and communication tool for so many reasons! I can communicate positivity and encouragement even after the session! When I send over their final gallery, I am not only able to deliver an easy & STUNNING gallery experience, but I can continue to customize their whole experience with me! My favorite way to customize my client’s gallery is to add folders! This awesome feature not only allows me to organize their day/session, but I am able to show them my favorite photographs first (Amanda’s Favorites).
CloudSpot has another fun feature, the notification bell, that provides me peace of mind and helps me further interact with my clients. This feature allows me to see when my clients have viewed their gallery, successfully downloaded their images/full gallery, and which photos they have favorited!
3. Hype Up Your Clients!
Your clients need to feel comfortable and like their best selves!
Can you imagine going to a photo shoot and the photographer barely talks to you? They don’t pose for you and never give you any compliments? Can someone say awkward?!?
When you compliment, guide, and connect with your client, not only will they feel more relaxed, but they will also become more excited and enthusiastic as you continue to talk throughout the session! Bringing as much positivity and reassurance that their session is going well, will allow for better results! Reassurance goes a long way, but it should come from an honest place. Never over-do it if the encouragement is not authentic.
4. Respect Client Boundaries and Their Vision
You need to create a comfortable and friendly environment where your client feels heard and respected. This isn’t about your portfolio at the end of the day. It’s about your client.
Communicate before the session so that you’ve already established a connection and can discuss ideas, comfort zones, and their vision for the session. Devoting the time to respond to emails promptly and thoughtfully shows your clients the respect they deserve.
If your client has efficiently communicated with you prior and/or during their session of how they want their session to look/feel, it is not okay to push them in a different direction. You need to respect their limits of poses and I always recommend asking if they have certain poses they would like to have in their gallery!
Since switching to CloudSpot, I have felt 100% more confident in my workflow and client experience. Thanks to CloudSpot I am able to empower and encourage my clients throughout their whole experience and it feels great!
Want to Learn More about Me and How I Use Portrait Photography to Empower Women in The Skirt Project?
The Skirt Project is a women empowerment & body positivity movement for all women! There’s seriously nothing better than loving yourself. I’m proud to say that I have been able to help women tell their stories, build friendships with other supportive women, and inspire others to fall in love with themselves and their bodies. Women are able to step out of their comfort zone & be vulnerable, do something that truly embraces their beauty, and have photos of themselves that reminds them of how badass they truly are. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, celebrating a new addition, or just celebrating you - The Skirt Project Experience Session is for you! To find out more, visit my website.