Couples Photoshoot Guide
I’m so glad you’ve gotten your hands on this lil guide I made. If you’re reading this, we’re most likely booked in to do a couples or engagement shoot together.
Most of us feel a little awkward in front of a camera (personal reason for why I choose to stay behind mine) Having these memories to look back on in three, five, or even fifty years’ time will make all the awkward moments worth it. You can sleep easy knowing that this is my passion. I do this all the time, so I have lots of little tools in my toolkit to make sure you’re feeling at ease and natural during our shoot.
Practice Makes Perfect
If we’re booked in for an engagement before I shoot your wedding, can I just say: GOOD CALL! We’ll be spending a lot (A LOT) of time together on your wedding day so choosing to do this little session beforehand gives us a chance to get to know each other before the nerves of the big day. This is the perfect opportunity for you to practice getting comfortable in front of my camera, and I’ll be able to practice all the goofy ways to make you smile – easing the nerves of the big day and getting some pretty killer shots
Locking it In
If you haven’t already decided on a date or a time, there are a couple of things to consider when popping a couples’ or engagement shoot in the diary: lighting, weather, and what you plan to use your photos for.
If we’re shooting outdoors, the best, most magical lighting for me is either 1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours before sunset. If it’s cloudy, we can shoot basically anytime, and if we’re shooting indoors, then timing depends on what kind of lights we’re working with and what direction the building is facing. I prefer to avoid the middle of the day for taking photos outside because we’ll likely end up with quite a few of you guys just squinting into the camera. That being said, I’m not one for hard and fast rules for anything! So if you have your heart set on a particular time of day, let’s chat.
Depending on what you guys are after, weather is something to consider too! If you know you get monsoon rains at a particular time of year and the drenched scene out of The Notebook isn’t really what you’re going for, perhaps it would be better to plan the shoot for another time. Or additionally, if you live somewhere where it’s -10º for a solid four months and you don’t want photos of you bundled in all of your cold-weather gear, then let’s shoot in summer! But there’s something special about every time of year with fresh snowfalls in winter, lush greenery of spring, long hazy days of summer, and the crunchy oranges of fall … know that no matter what season you choose, you’ll have epic photos regardless. Considering seasons is a big part of choosing the perfect time to capture your memories.
If you want to be able to use the photos for a ‘Save the Date’ notice, I highly recommend scheduling your session at least four months in advance! This allows a comfortable amount of time for selections, edits, designs, printing, and delivery.
Let's Be Friends
I love the fact that life is like a box of chocolates. Every couple that I work with brings their own special sparkle to the table, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes me so happy to be able to connect with the many personalities that walk through the door, and to be able to tell stories that are unique to each and every single person.
I believe there’s a reason that we’ve crossed paths, and I hope that a big part of that reason is that you found something within my work that you resonate with. If that’s the case, we’re off to an amazing start.
In any case, I’ll send you over a questionnaire so that we can start the friendship for real. I’m interested in knowing who you are, what matters to you, what your love language is, what keeps you up at night, what kind of ice cream you choose every time. The more comfortable we are around each other, the better your photos will be, and what better place to start than with real connection? Feel free to fire some questions of your own back at me too, it’s only fair you know who’s telling your story.
What to Wear Ideas
If you only read one part of this section, let it be this: wear something that feels like you, and make it comfortable. If you want a little more info, read on. But just remember that first bit.
Look, I get it. Dressing yourself in the morning is tough enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. It’s normal to want to shop for new fancy clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine if that’s your jam and you’re comfortable with that. But usually the best route is to go with something that’s tried and true. When selecting the right footwear, think about what’s appropriate for the location, and what presents the lowest risk of a sprained ankle. Maybe it even makes most sense to ditch the shoes altogether for maximum agility for all the activities!
Wear something that’ll keep you cool in summer, warm in winter, and that’ll make you feel like the sparkly human that you are on the inside. Bring a couple outfits so that we can play with different options and combinations, and get a little sandy/wet/muddy if you’re game and the moment calls for it! If you have anything in your wardrobe that is textured, sheer, or billowy, fabrics that flow turn up so beautifully in photographs because they capture snapshots of movement – avoid starchy, stiff-seeming garments that get crumpled in weird spots and need adjusting.
Be careful with prints, logos, and bright colors as sometimes these detract from the most important parts of the photograph – you!
Avoid matching and blending together into one monochromatic blob. In order for the components of your photograph to really sing, you’ll want to find complementary outfits that showcase a controlled variety of textures and colors so you can look good together without looking the same.
Once we pick a location together, we can discuss color palettes that will help you stand out beautifully against your environment.
If you’ve read all of this and you feel like you want a little bit more info, I’ve got a full comprehensive guide on this that covers it all! Just let me know and I’ll send it over.
Hair, Make Up, Props
If you feel like getting a little glammed up, there’s absolutely no reason not to get your hair and makeup done. Just try to keep it as natural as possible. Fancy and intricate hairdos can sometimes look a little out of place at home or in a national park, and I love the motion that is captured with hair blowing in the wind.
If you’re partial to a bit of accessorizing and the location calls for it, bring some jackets or hats or other potential props that reflect this time in your life. But remember to keep it real. Authenticity is in the details.
What to Bring
Pack things that support your comfort, your energy levels, and your mood. Lots of things fall into this category, like extra clothes for if the weather changes or you get a bit muddy. Or snacks for when you’re starting to feel that mid-afternoon slump. Or water to keep you feeling hydrated between smooches. Or tequila for a bit of liquid courage. Or a portable speaker for an impromptu boogie. It’s all on the table, as far as I’m concerned.
Getting in the Right Headspace
Make some time buffers around the day so that you aren’t rushing from one thing to another. When a couple shows up to a shoot having had to run seven red lights to get there, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganised session. Give yourself the gift of a relaxed session and allow plenty of time for showers, grooming, and forgetting things.
If we’ve booked your shoot outdoors, we’ve got to relinquish some control to the wonderful unpredictability of the great outdoors. And while we can’t control the weather, there are some factors (thankfully) that are in our hands. Let’s discuss Plan B’s for when your dream location only looks good drenched in sun and it’s raining cats and dogs. Do we reschedule? Do we brave it? Do we shoot somewhere else?
Personally, I’m a bit partial to a cloudy day. The light diffuses through the clouds in a way that makes everyone’s skin look absolutely luminous. And I don’t mind a bit of wind, there’s something about the way it adds movement to photos that I’m a real sucker for. And a little drizzle here and there, never hurt anyone.
If the heavens are looking a little inclement, here are some things to consider:
- -Bringing an umbrella! Not just functional, but a pretty damn cute prop too!
- -Layer up so you can modify your outfit to the conditions.
- -Bring a change of clothes just in case it pours and the sun comes out right afterwards.
What to Expect
You can expect to have a wonderful time.
Remember what all of this is about in the first place – it’s not the Instagram post, it’s not the matching outfits, and it’s not for anyone else except you. Well, and future you, too! It’s a great excuse to clock some proper quality time together, invest in your relationship, and be present for this uniquely special time in your lives.
During the photoshoot, don’t worry if you don’t know what to do because I will direct you! Most people instinctively turn towards the camera, but you can expect me to tell you to look at each other. I want you two to be immersed in each other and to be able to settle into the time you’ve set aside to celebrate your love! I promise I’ll let you know when it’s appropriate to look at the camera. Know that there is no ‘right’ way to do things! If I tell you to hug each other, just do it in the way that you regularly do.
There will be moments when you feel awkward in front of the camera, but I have so many tips and tricks up my sleeve so that feeling will dissolve faster than you can say ‘cheese!’ My goal is for you to feel as authentic and comfortable in front of my lens as you can and to capture memories that you’ll cherish forever. We’ll dance, chat, walk, and laugh, and you’ll be so busy enjoying yourselves that you’ll forget that you’re having your photos taken.
Rest easy knowing that this is what I do. I will take care of you, and all you have to do is show up and watch the magic happen.
After The Session
I’ll TRY to send you some sneak peeks 48 hours after your session via text, and the full gallery within three weeks via a downloadable web gallery. You’ll be able to create favorites lists, share online, or download your images for ‘Save the Date’ notices or framed prints to decorate your home.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide! I imagine you’ll have a few questions bouncing around your head, so give me a call and let’s talk through all the things: locations, Plan B’s, outfits, and snacks. Most importantly, snacks.
Your photos are going to be amazing. I can’t wait!