Shooting couples is such a privilege-- whether a wedding, an engagement shoot or a just because session, being able to photograph two people in love is always an honor. If you’re used to, or are more comfortable with, shooting individuals adding in another person can be a little intimidating. Instead of focusing on getting one person confident, owning their space and their angles and being comfortable in front of a lens, you have two! Talk about stressful!
I'm sharing 5 tips for photographing couples that will ease you into the process and will make you comfortable working with two people at one time.
1- Get to know the couple.
Get to know the people you are working with. When you have your in-person (or over Skype or Zoom) meeting, watch how they interact. Be aware of their little quirks together and make notes. Ask them questions about their history together-- where they met, what drew them to the other person, etc. This information can be helpful in selecting locations for their session, and can give you some insight into the kind of couple they are. Be sure your pre-session questionnaire is thorough and touches on anything else that can give you a little insight into the clients. It’s also especially important to ask them if they’ve been photographed by a professional before. This will help you understand if their time with you will be brand new or if they will understand how the general process works.
2 - Select a comfortable location.
A comfortable location can mean a few different things…
Say the couple love going for coffee dates to a local coffee shop. Going there for some of their session will make them feel comfortable-- especially since they are in a place they are familiar with. They can order drinks, chat, and even cuddle over their lattes and cappuccinos. If a couple has never been photographed before, taking them to a location they know can be a great way to get to them to relax.
If a couple is more shy, taking them somewhere out of the general eyes of the public would make them more comfortable. Skip the bustling coffee shop and try out a unfamiliar park, a deserted piece of beach or a path off the beaten trail. They will instantly feel more at ease without thinking other people are watching them.
3 - Look into your partner's eyes.
There are a few go-to prompts you can use with your couples no matter where you are. One of the best prompts is simply to look into each other's eyes. It sounds almost too simple to be true but it’s simply one of the best! If the couple is smiley and goofy, you’ll immediately be photographing big smiles, laughter and giggles. If they’re a steamy couple, get ready for chemistry!
4 - Move!
Walk, run, jump, dance, reenact a scene from Friends or The Office… it doesn’t matter what it is, just get your couple moving together. Movement is beautiful to capture and can help tell a story with the images. Something as simple as walking together hand in hand can create beautiful images that add more visual interest than standing or sitting together stagnant.
5 - Whisper
Having one person whisper something into the other person’s ear is one way to elicit a sweet reaction. Encourage one person to whisper the moment they knew they were in love, their favorite memory or even their best knock knock joke! The actual moments they are whispering will make for beautiful photographs, as will their reaction to what is said! During the shoot encourage a few of these small moments that can help tell a story, show interaction and build connection that create a wonderful experience for your clients.
Photographing two people can be a challenge but can be very fun when you focus on telling the love story between the two! Make it fun, expressive and comfortable for the clients by encouraging them to just be themselves, have fun with their partner and remember that their photos are meant to be representation of who they are.
What are your best tips for photographing couples? Share them below!