Tips for Photographing Couples

Go to tips and tricks for authentic couple photography 

By:​ Christopher Claxton

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My second couple photoshoot and my first engagement photo shoot. Christopher Claxton – Something Light Media

I did my first couple shoot back in October 2020, at first I thought it would be simple but when I got to the location I was wrong. As some of us know being in front of the camera causes nervousness, fear and maybe a bit of exaggeration in expression, what I didn’t expect was when it’s a couple all those feelings would be doubled. I believed it would be easier because they had each other, the feelings would be minuscule or nonexistent, but I was very wrong. 

When it comes to photography the goal is to have authentic, natural poses and expressions represented in your images and as a photographer. It’s your job to bring out those natural feelings. This article will serve as a quick guideline to couple photography whether it’s an engagement, wedding, or a shoot just for fun.

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Credit: Christopher Claxton – Something Light Media

Tip #1: Plan ahead and have a vision 

The first step to make sure your couple shoots are successful is to do your research so which means finding a location, getting pose examples, and gathering props, if necessary. Locations are very important. They can make or break a photograph. I tend to shoot outdoors and the factors are endless and unpredictable, so I make sure to visit the location in advance. This way I can have an idea of what exact spot I want to shoot in, the type of light, and what the foot traffic is like.

Tip #2 Ask for this input 

The photography session is for the couple, so you want to take their idea for the shoot and make it 10 times better. When discussing the logistics, ask a lot of questions till you can’t tell the difference between your vision and theirs. Figure out outfits and the desired aesthetic. Make the couple feel like they’re in control. 

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Credit: Christopher Claxton – Something Light Media

Tip #3: Encouragement, Encouragement, Encouragement

When a camera is put in front of someone, they sometimes feel uncomfortable during the shoot. I praise the couple and let them know what they’re doing looks good even when it doesn’t. You must keep all the negatives to yourself. If a look isn’t working just say “that looks great but let’s try this instead”. Keep in mind this may be some couples’ first time. 

Tip #4: Don’t be nervous and if you are don’t show it

What you come to learn as a photographer is that you hold all the power during the shoot, the subjects look to you for everything, poses, inspiration, feedback, and praise. You must model the behavior you wish to see, if you display nervousness, then you’ll only amplify their negative feelings as well.

 Be relaxed and be yourself, during my shoots, I’ll talk to the couple the entire time as if I knew them for the entirety of their relationship. I crack jokes and ask questions while giving them direction. It’s also best practice to show the couple a few photos along the way, it’ll restore their confidence within themselves and allow them to see what’s working and what’s not. 

Don’t forget to have confidence In yourself 

Being a photographer is a very social career. You must analyze the people you’re shooting, find out what they like, what they dislike and then talk about that as your way in. That’s how you make them comfortable. This process will help you develop trust and get the most out of your session. To the clients you are a professional, show them that you know what you’re doing and everything else will fall into place.

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Credit: Christopher Claxton – Something Light Media

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