One of the greatest aspects about photography is networking. Humans can make connections in so many ways, some more personal than others, but nothing I have experienced is like getting to know someone while photographing them.
From the photographer side, the goal is to portray the person you are photographing in the best way possible. The camera forces you to look for the best in that person, to learn their story so you can tell it with your images. The best sessions I have had included in an initial meeting to get to know the person, their likes and dislikes, and what type of photos they hope to create. When it's time to start shooting, I have an idea of that person, it's a great starting point. After the initial consultation the actual session feels more like getting to know an acquaintance, instead of meeting a stranger. Conversation feels more natural, and can get more personal. The camera is the ice-breaker that allows me to get to know the subject, to find their beauty and uniqueness, and that's what creates a lasting relationship.
Photographs are memories, we look at them and the image brings to mind the experience behind the picture. It is always worthwhile to get to know the person photographing you, it will add a depth to the memories associated with those images. K-Mart family photos might look nice hanging on your wall or on your holiday cards, but the memories that come with them are usually of discomfort, how hard it was to get the youngest to smile, how late you were because the teenager took so long in the bathroom, and how everyone except mom wanted to run screaming out of the store. That's why camera phones are so popular, the photographer you have the best relationship with is yourself. The only downside to that is you miss out on meeting some really great people when you keep to yourself. The internet is a great tool to expand your social network, but nothing yet concieved builds bonds as strong as those forged face to face.
The above picture has nothing to do with people photography, it's not a model, it's a cat. A cat with a very uncomfortable look on his face in fact. Further into the session he began to ease up and as we got to know each other a bit more he became increasingly more comfortable with the camera.