Thinking about doing a couples photo shoot? I can help you start planning with some of my top tips. You'll see that my approach to photo sessions is pretty different. I believe in the power of storytelling and nothing captures emotion better than a photo. If I could get away with calling couples sessions "hang-out sessions" I totally would. This really is just a time for you to find your groove and enjoy each other. My shoots include 1-2 locations and outfits and we'll shoot for up to 2 hours. (That sounds like a long time, but it goes by so fast because these sessions are super fun)
Whether you’re planning your photo shoot for next week or you’re just contemplating the idea, this guide will support you in creating photos that you’ll love forever.
TIP #1 - DON'T WAIT TO TAKE PORTRAITS TOGETHER
Couples photo shoots are a great way to celebrate your love for each other. Your relationship changes over time, and it's worth capturing its many stages. Document this beautiful time in your lives as it is now - whether you're just dating, engaged, or already married. Great opportunities to schedule a photo session:
Sometimes selfies and staged photos just don’t cut it. You want images that capture the real you and the way you interact with each other in real moments. My sessions are relaxed and fun and a great alternative to a date night. We’ll reminisce about how you met, why you fell in love, and what you adore most about each other. The whole while I’ll guide you into flattering poses, provide prompts for natural interactions, and even direct a few fun scenes for you to act out.
TIP #2 - COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS
As you plan your photo session, be sure to educate and empower your partner. Discuss the kinds of photos you’d like and why this shoot is important to you. Show them images of past sessions so they have an idea of what they're about to experience. If your partner is expecting just a few photos smiling at the camera, they're going to think it's really strange when I ask you two to "nuzzle" or "canoodle". But once they know it's important, they'll light up the camera for you!
Think about how you plan to use your images. Will they only adorn your walls and social media or will they be hanging in grandma’s house and in a frame on your desk at the office? Planning out how you’ll use your portraits will help make sure you get the ones you really want. Don't forget to share your ideas with me before your session so I can help you realize your vision!
TIP #3 - CHOOSE A FAMILIAR AND MEANINGFUL LOCATION
Pick a spot that speaks to you. You’ll feel more relaxed and the photos will be more special when it's a place you frequent. Having lovely memories already associated with the place will add more depth to your photographs and the environment will help tell the story of who you are. A local creek, favorite hiking trail, or downtown hangout are all great options.
Just make sure photography is allowed at your location or you get the permissions required ahead of time. No worries if you can't decide on the location. I'm happy to help you brainstorm and suggest places based on your style. We can be as adventurous as you like or keep it simple.
TIP #4 - TAKE PART IN AN EVERYDAY ACTIVITY
This photo shoot is all about you and this time in your lives, so why not take a snippet from your everyday activities? Doing things that you typically do together in a place you both love will create more natural, authentic photographs.
It will also be easier to forget the camera when you are engaged in an activity you enjoy, such as hiking, cooking, or taking the dog for a walk. Real emotion is my favorite element and what I always aim to capture. If you have something to do that is "normal", these moments come more easily and the realness is visible in the photos.
Another fun option is a story series where you revisit locations that are significant to the two of you – the bus stop where you first met, the restaurant where you said "I love you", and the ice cream shop you love (you get the idea). The vibe of your session should be like a fun date, so get creative and choose something that is unique and special to you.
TIP #5 - PREPARE YOUR WARDROBE IN ADVANCE
Some people get stuck here because they think they have to dress a certain way or have a specific look. Forget that! Your photo shoot should be an extension of you. Stick to what makes you feel confident and shows your real personality.
Choose clothes that you can move comfortably in that also flatter your body – not too tight, not too loose. You know those outfits that fit “almost” right, but you have to adjust a lot or only look good from one angle? Leave those at home. You want to feel confident during your photo shoot without worrying about pulling your shirt down or your pants up. Wear your favorite clothes that you know you look awesome in.
Try to coordinate outfits between you and your partner so you look good together, but aren’t all “matchy-matchy”. Solid colors are best or simple patterns that keep your silhouettes streamlined. Accessories are great for adding extra dimension and pops of color to your images - think necklaces, hats, shoes, and scarves.
Feel free to bring a second outfit that you can easily change into in public (or the car). A fun option is to do the first half of the shoot as a casual date and then bring out the "wow" dress to up the drama. But if you'd rather stick to one fabulous look, that's great too! It's really up to you.
TIP #6 - FEEL AWKWARD, IT'S NORMAL
The first 10 minutes of your session will probably feel awkward. But that's normal. It's okay to feel awkward about being followed by a photographer - we don't typically deal with paparazzi. My best advice is to just accept that you will feel a little awkward. Once you can laugh it off, it's easier to relax, have fun and enjoy yourselves. Kiss each other, make each other laugh, try to forget about the camera and enjoy some beautiful moments with each other.
I don't expect you to be a pro at this, my only expectation is for you to just be yourselves. I'll guide you into positions that feel natural and help create authentic moments. It's easier than you think, so relax! You're going to be great at this!
TIP #7 - FOCUS ON EACH OTHER
My goal is to create portraits that make you feel something. This happens when you aren't worried about me or my camera, but instead are focused on each other in that moment - being together and in love.
We’ll still get the smiling-at-the-camera shots, but the true masterpieces come from the candid moments. These photos are meant to capture your relationship, which means the connection between you two - the laughs, the nuzzles, the silly faces - not just smiling pretty for the camera. Relax and be your true selves – as goofy, loud, or romantic as you might be. And don't forget to show affection. You’re in love, show it off!
Having all of the above pieces in place before your session allows you to JUST HAVE FUN with it. This day is all about you two of you, so enjoy it!
Extra tip - KEEP THE FUN GOING
Don't forget to plan a dinner date after your session! You're already dressed up, why not take advantage of it? Take some time just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You deserve it!