This is what usually happens: You go to the park to meet your clients, you head to your secret portrait spot and make a bunch of great pictures, then you declare the session over and you pack up your camera bag and walk back to the car with the clients.

The flaw with this is that those last moments walking back to the car offer different pictures than what you were doing over there in the park. You’re more likely to make those candid-looking portraits once your client thinks it’s over.

Keep your camera handy

Go ahead and pack up your lenses and lights, but keep a fast portrait lens ready to go on your camera — like an 85mm f/1.8. Keep your camera out of the bag and ready to use. I love to use the Spider Holster systems to keep my camera ready, yet out of the way. Make sure the lens cap is off and your settings are generally ready. You should be able to lift your camera and make a shot with one hand. Practice it on walks with your own friends and family.

Lead the way

Now walk ahead of your clients and keep an eye on things as you walk. Watch as they walk into a little patch of sunlight through the trees and feel free to say, “Oh! Stop a second right there and look at each other like you haven’t seen each other for a month.”

Or just be ahead and make a picture of them walking toward you. That’s what I did for this picture, and my client was surprised and pleased because she didn’t know I’d done it. The key to this picture is getting low and making the quick switch to AF-C so your autofocus tracks with them as they walk.

Don’t be done

You just can’t turn off until your client is driving away. There are terrific opportunities all along the path, and you never know what picture might present itself as you walk. Don’t be done until your client is gone.

Portrait Tips come out each week, and you can see them all right here.