I love to meet my clients before the photo shoot whenever possible. I am a people person that prefers to handle things one on one and not over the phone. Usually, if I have time, I ask to meet my clients to break the ice and get a good grasp on what type of person I am dealing with. Sometimes clients ask me to meet before I suggest it, which makes me realize they are equally as interested in our shoot as I am. To me, each person is unique and every situation is different even when it seems like the photographic process is the same.
There is a scene in the movie Philadelphia where Tom Hanks is dancing by himself and totally immersed in the world of Morzart's music and away from his problems. Music brings people to life and has a great way of taking us on a journey, calming us down and changing our mood. I ask my clients what music they like and prepare a play list for them just in case they forget or don't have any music during the session.
Carry a Photo of a Loved One
I have a photo of my kids in my wallet and on my phone which I frequently pull out before walking into various situations. My kids make me happy and being that I know that I do everything I possibly can for them, I use their image whenever possible to change my mood. So, when I see them smiling back at me I become more centered and focused on the task at hand which puts photographic things in the perfect perspective.
Being prepared for a photo shoot wether you are the photographer or the client is very important. Don't leave it up to the other to direct the entire shoot because you might find you didn't like all of their ideas. Make suggestions, scout out locations, look at coloring, clip out desirable images, make a shot list, ask questions, talk about the shoot and be prepared. In the end you will find that just being prepared can calm the nerves so that the creative shooting can open up into places you hadn't thought of before.
Just Say Eff It
Nervous? Who really cares in a week, month, year or decade from now? Sometimes you just need to say eff it and go balls to the wall and jump without fear of failure. Do your homework, know your process and be prepared. Then once you have done all of that... just say eff it. If you fail you fail and if you succeed you succeed but always try to master the process. I have found tons of success through my failures and even though it was never fun to fail, it was always exiting finding the success on the other side.