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So you’ve booked your couple shoot and now started to wonder what to do next? Well you’ve come to the right place because couple shoots and pre-wedding shoots are one of my favourite parts of being a wedding photographer.
Why? Well when you get at least an hour of uninterrupted time to photograph a lovely couple out in a cool location; Well there’s not much more I could ask for on the fun scale to be honest.
If it’s a pre-wedding shoot, it’s a really good opportunity to get to know my couple a little more before the big day, making them feel even more relaxed on the wedding day.
Over the years I’ve had an array of questions like “what do we wear?”, “where’s best to have the shoot?”, “what if it rains?” as people naturally start to feel a little nervous about their shoot (they shouldn’t of course because it’s loads of fun and super relaxed, I promise). However it’s natural to feel this way, especially if it’s the first time having a couples portrait shoot. So I’ve put together a very short couples shoot tips and advice post, which I hope will give you a little direction before your booked photography session.
Relax and Get Comfortable
Couple Shoots are a great opportunity to take some time out and enjoy being together.
I approach my couple portrait sessions much like I do my documentary photography by being unobtrusive and capturing really fun, relaxed and unposed moments of you both. I’ve had so many couple leave telling me that they feel like they’ve just cuddled for an hour! That’s exactly how it should feel. Life it pretty fast for most of us now days, so it’s lovely to just turn those phones off and embrace the time together.
TIP: Pre-wedding shoots can be really helpful with your wedding day portraits giving you both a chance to get acquainted with being photographed and will make you feel a lot more comfortable in front of the camera.
Location, location…you know the rest.
Where should we have our couples shoot?
Couple shoots can take place anywhere. Really. Weather it’s your front room or an ancient castle in the Mediterranean we can make it work. Because essentially speaking it’s all about you. Of course the prettier the backdrop and location, the more opportunity we’ll have to capture some awesome pictures for you guys to treasure for years to come. So when planning your location, it’s good to think of places that mean something to you both. It could be a beach where you’ve made some beautiful memories together eating fish and chips out of a bag throwing pebbles into the sea. Or it could be a park that he (or she) popped the question! The more it means to you the better.
But it can also just be a location that you really like the look of and you think might make for some nice pictures when you imagine them printed in a frame up on the wall of your living room. Just a note on permissions – some locations, such as country houses etc, may require that you get permission to have a photography session there. It’s always best to check first.
But don’t stress. If you’re stuck and can’t think of a location then let me know. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot at some amazing locations and haven’t even scratched the surface of awesome places yet to visit for couple shoots. So I can always make some suggestions and help you find a location for our couples portrait session.
PRE-WEDDING SHOOT TIP: We could always have our pre-wedding couples shoot at your wedding venue if logistics allow? Most venues are free during the week so are happy to accommodate.
What if it Rains?
Does the show still go on?
The dreaded question of weather. One of the few downfalls of this amazing country we live in is the weather. No one knows what it’s up to. EVER.
But that’s not to say that we can’t still work with it. If your couples shoot is booked on a day that can’t be moved, for instance if you are over in London visiting the sites for the day or on holiday, then I’ll find some alternative locations for us to have our couples shoot. Have you ever seen how amazing Kings Cross Station is for example? And if we’re lucky, we might even see a gorgeous rainbow on the back end of it all!
My equipment is weather sealed so as long as you guys have an umbrella and happy to kick around in a few puddles, I’m happy to keep shooting. However there’s always an opportunity to reschedule shoot times and shoot days if necessary so don’t panic about losing your booking fee as this is transferable in an eventuality that the skies open and cause a bit of havoc on your booked session.
What do we wear?
Black or White? Spots or Strips?
This is bit of a grey area if I must be honest. I want to say keep it smart but casual as these pictures will be for you for many many years. So you want to look back at these pictures and always remember how great you looked. We’re all guilty of looking back at pictures from a decade ago questioning what our outfits were about! I certainly do this, so just bear this in mind. Here’s a few things to consider;
- Try not to wear cloths with heavy branding, they can be bit of a distraction.
- Avoid bringing a bag or maybe consider a smaller bag as you’ll need your hands for holding, and cuddling!
- If you’re wearing sunglasses, don’t forget the case as I’ll usually ask you to put them away. The eyes are the window to the soul and all that.
- If it’s cold, make sure you wrap up warm as we’ll be outside for an hour or two.
- Last, but not least, shoes! Although I want you to look amazing from tip to toe, if we are heading to a park or forest, we might get a tinnie bit muddy. Not knee deep in mud of course, but your brand new box fresh white converse could end up with a spot of mud on them, so just be mindful of this. If you’d prefer to keep footwear as clean as they started, please let me know ahead of the shoot. Especially if I am arranging the location of the shoot because I love a walk through the forest. It’s also worth noting that most of our photos will be from the waist up.
At the end of the day, wear what makes you feel comfortable. No need to turn up in a shirt and tie if you never EVER wear this type of clothing. These photos should show your personality and represent you as a couple. So just relax and be yourselves and wear what makes you feel comfortable.
What about hair and make-up?
What ever makes you feel comfortable.
If you feel like you’d like to go full out and get your hair and make-up done professionally before our sessions, great. But don’t feel like you have to do this, you’ll look great just being your natural, amazing self. If your couples shoot is a Pre-Wedding session then it could be a good opportunity to have your hair/make-up trial on the same day perhaps? Just try and make yourself comfortable with how you look and feel on the day as this always makes for a more fun and relaxed shoot.
TIP: Also, don’t forget your lippy, as you’ll find yourself sneaking a few kisses in while I’m changing lenses. Let’s face it, you’ll find it hard to resist with all the cuddling going on, so you might want to have a top up on hand.
Just be yourselves
All you need to do is just cuddle and have fun.
I find it easy to read when people don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, it’s one of my special powers! No really. Ok, well it’s not exactly a power but bit of a skill I’ve picked up and I can read this in a couple and this always shows in photographs. So I’ll do everything I can to make you feel relaxed when I’m taking pictures so you can really enjoy your time together and we can get some amazing photographs of you.
For me, portraits during your couple shoot are simply candid moments of you together and so I simply place you both in a spot that compliments you with good, creative light just shoot away. It’s great fun for both of us and at some points you’ll forget I’m even there. So just relax and be yourselves. If you feel like you want to laugh, do it. If you feel like you just want to close your eye and cuddle up, do it! Who am I to stand in your way 🙂 Couple Shoots are about you and so every photograph should show a little piece of you and your relationship.