How to Get the Most Out of Your Couple’s Photoshoot

This one is for those couples who haven’t had a photoshoot with me yet and want to know what to expect.

Many of my couples tell me at the beginning of our photoshoot how awkward they think they are in front of a camera (keyword: think). After the shoot, those same couples tell me that they had such a fun time and felt way more at ease during their shoot than they expected. They end up loving their photos and I do, too. So how does a couple go from anxious and stiff to getting beautiful, print-worthy, candid photos?

Let me help you make the most of your engagement or couple’s shoot. I’ll start with this:

You’re not really supposed to know what you’re doing.

I am not expecting you to come to your engagement shoot as a model. I want you to come as yourself.

Most likely, you’ve never done something like this. Most of my couples have never been in front of a camera like this, they’ve never planned a wedding, and they don’t know how it all works. With that lack of experience, many of my couples express fear of not knowing how to pose or what to do for the photos.

Guess what? That’s okay! In fact, when I’m  in front of a camera, I usually freeze. Despite my experience as a photographer guiding other people, my insecurities and fear of looking silly skyrocket when I step in front of a lens. I need a little guidance and a whole lot of reassurance.

So, I get it. I know how it feels, and that’s why I thrive in guiding my couples through our shoots. I’ve got you! Let the pressure of modeling for me go, because these photos are for you anyways.

Like I said, you’re not really supposed to know what you’re doing. But I do, and you can trust me.

My philosophy for your session is to guide you with prompts to let you and your fiance to interact, show your genuine smile, and portray who you are as a couple.

So, what’s your job?

Stay close and affectionate with your fiance/spouse.

Unless my prompt requires you to separate (which some prompts might), it’s always great to keep in contact. Hold hands, stand or sit super close (even unnaturally close), and look to each other—not me.  I’ll tell you when to look at me for some camera-aware photos, but if you want candid photos, just ignore me. (That will also help with feeling weird looking at a camera.)

I know you don’t want to look weird, and I don’t want you to, either. I’ll move you around, adjust your arms or hands, and guide you if needed. If something feels weird but I’m still taking a bajillion photos, rest assured it’s because it doesn’t look weird.

For example, the airplane arms prompt can feel unnatural, but it’s adorable every time, especially when you transition into a hug from behind. Walking together and looking backwards as you’re walking can feel funny since you’re used to looking forwards, but it creates connection and a story. Turning your head toward the other person, even if you can’t see their full face can make you nervous that your neck is stretching in awkward ways, but it comes out intimate and sweet.

Follow the outfit guide for your shoot.

I’ve seen what looks best in photos, so wear what you feel comfortable in while following the guide. If you have any questions, ask in advance! You don’t necessarily need to go buy new clothes, unless you want to. I can totally help you decide what pieces from your closet would be the best option for our shoot and location. When in doubt, neutrals!

Be yourselves.

That can be such a vague phrase, so let’s get specific on how to be yourself:

Play a game or use a prop.

Playing a simple game or using a prop like a book helps you to have something to interact around instead of posing for the camera. It will bring out your humor and personalities.  In the photos above, Arianna and Josiah started randomly playing a word association game during our shoot, but with names of people. They had to name a person as fast as possible back and forth. It started with Josiah naming a friend from church and ended up with Arianna saying “George Costanza.” When I tell you I was laughing so hard from behind the camera…

Then, we added in a book to the set up. I told Arianna she could read from the book, make up a story, or do whatever she wanted. She chose to read lines in funny accents and then made up sentences, and Josiah had to guess what was actually in the book or if it was made it.

The result? Some of my favorite photos I’ve taken. They’re true to who they are, they’re candid, and full of laughter.

Make fun of each other and mess around.

These two were so fun. Christian kept messing around with Lauren and getting that adorable, scrunchy-nose laugh, just by being silly and interacting as they normally would. Lauren kept laughing and saying, “He does this all the time!” And then messed with him right back.

I got to capture them and get to know them as a couple, not just people in front of me camera.

Be affectionate.

This is kind of a date, if you think about it. So feel free to act like you’re on a date. Talk to each other, tell your fiance they’re cute; just be in love. If I interrupt what you’re doing for a minute to adjust, it’s for variety within your gallery.

More than a photo.

When you come to your shoot ready to be yourself, laugh, and trust your photographer, you’re in for some incredible photos—but also memories. When a photoshoot is full of laughter and genuine interaction, you’ll walk away with more than just a gallery. I have had many couples tell me how much fun their entire experience was, aside from downloading their beautiful gallery. They were able to be themselves and relax, and I was able to capture their love. It’s truly the best.

Ready to take the first steps for your own couples shoot? Book with me!

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