Couples photography is something that we usually associate with weddings, engagements and similar festive occasions. What matters the most when it comes to this genre of portraiture is avoiding cheesy, awkward and generic couple portraits.
A great photo session with a couple should be highly personalized and it should have strong artistic value, just like any other type of photography.
There are a few creative elements you should think about when undertaking couples photography and these tips will help you recall them on your next portrait shoot.
Couples Photography – Quick Tips
- Choose an interesting location
- Encourage spontaneity
- Use different lenses
- Great light is essential
- Tell a story
1. Choose An Interesting Location
Locations for couples photography don’t have to be iconic. It’s actually surprising how even those laid-back locations such as backyards can be turned into creative settings. What you should look for are interesting textures and pattern that have artistic or storytelling potential.
For instance, you can use trees as a creative element in your shots. without dominating the narrative. Framing your subjects in the branches can create a beautiful composition without distracting from the couple. You can also use leaves and flowers in the same way, since their textures and patterns can be used as a colorful and lively background.
The same goes for buildings – they represent a great framing device. Architectural elements such as doorways, archways, and windows are all perfect tools to give your compositions a dynamic aspect, balance, and symmetry.
2. Cherish And Encourage Spontaneity
Spontaneity matters a lot in any kind of portraiture, but when it comes to couples photography it’s one of the most important factors to consider. In spite of this, many photographers try to control their photo shoots instead of letting their subjects take the lead. This approach is wrong because the way subjects interact with each other is what makes an outstanding and memorable photograph.
Of course, you can always give some suggestions about posing to the couples you’re shooting – some of them will surely appreciate a little bit of help. But it’s usually the best if you manage to make your models behave naturally and capture the results of such attitude.
3. Use Various Lenses
You should never use just one lens when shooting couples! Always have at least 2 or 3 different lenses which will help you achieve different perspectives.
It’s good to start your session with some wider shots, especially if you’re shooting a couple who doesn’t feel comfortable in front of the camera. It's usually quite difficult to relax when someone is pointing a camera right in front of your face.
Because of this, zoom lenses allow you to step back and give your subjects more personal space. Once your subjects become more comfortable, you can switch to prime lenses and come closer if needed.
4. Find Or Make The Ideal Light
Light has a strong poetic value in couples photography. Various types of light can evoke diverse feelings – for instance, early morning and late afternoon light is subtle and dreamy and it works great for couples who are into romantic vibes.
On the other hand, for couples who are more into something bold and unusual, you can use directional light, usually coming from the side or at an angle. You can achieve this both indoors and outdoors, depending on your equipment and the couple’s creative suggestions
Sunsets are often featured in portraits of couples and they are usually considered cliché. However, if you manage to add some creative twist to a sunset photograph, you can surely produce a striking image.
5. Embrace The Idea Of Storytelling
Storytelling potential of portraiture is often forgotten even though it can be a powerful tool. Before you start a session, try to come up with some story that will have a beginning, a middle, and an end, just like a novel. This kind of approach is sometimes present in engagement and wedding albums and it works very well.
If you’re unsure of what kind of story your clients want, feel free to ask them. Each couple has their own unique history and a unique set of personalities, likes, and dislikes. After you get to know them, you’ll be able to piece their story together and make your photo shoot much more engaging.
Final Thoughts On Couples Photography
The key to great couples photography is the ability to understand people and their relationships with all their quirks and twists.
Instead of looking to capture only those typical romantic moments, you should put some efforts into capturing various types of affection and playfulness between your subjects. If you can achieve this, you’ll end up with rather lively and emotional photos, not just posed shots.