First off, as a photographer, I have to say that hiring a professional is always the best way to go! They know what they’re doing, put you at ease, capture those little in-between moments and lovely little glances, and give you images that you will treasure forever. And as the saying goes, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”
However, to completely contradict myself, I also know that it can be a luxury that isn’t always in your every-day budget. But maybe you want to update that framed photo that been in your living forever – or maybe just want to send a nice one to your parents for once (Mother’s Day present idea anyone?). I came up with some easy to follow tips for taking your own couples photos to help you out! Ps, if you have kids involved I would highly recommend checking out this post by Alexa Marie Lurcher. Even without kids it’s a good, quick read.
It can be awkward to figure out what to do with a camera staring at you, combined with the fact that most guys hate getting their photo taken, this whole adventure can quickly turn into quitting before you even get started. So here are some of my suggestions to help you get over that hurdle and create some photos you love.
– Find something you both like, or like to do, and use that as your sort of ice-breaker. I knew we’d be outside and since it was freezing out that day I thought hot chocolate would be a good thing for us to have. It gave us something to hold so you don’t have that awkward “what do I do with my hands” moment. It also provided something to look at so we didn’t have to look at the camera or each other for every shot. It was also warm and delicious… which may have been the actual reason for me making it (shhh)
– That being said, don’t over prop**. Sure those chalkboard signs can be cute if that’s your thing, but don’t have it in every photo. I’m a firm believer in less-is-more when it comes to props. It should be all about you guys!
– Take some photos. I realize I’m stating the obvious here, but really the first few photos probably won’t be good, and you may think that it’s not working. But just keep going – it will get better then more comfortable you get!
– Pinterest is great for posing ideas etc, but don’t try and be one of those perfectly cute Pinterest couples – unless that’s who you actually are. But if you’re more like me, then you know that asking your significant other to hold mistletoe above your head or do cheesey things just isn’t going to work (have I mentioned how awkward we are in front of the camera?). So embrace who you are, relax, and capture some moments of just being together.
Okay, go time!
You’ll need a camera, tripod (or a creative, stable substitute to put your camera on), and location.
1. Find a location. Outside on an overcast day usually has the best lighting to move around in. But if it’s a bright, sunny day then find some shade so you don’t get raccoon eyes or weird shadows across your faces. Keep in mind that if you’re outside in the winter that cold temperatures kill batteries a lot faster. So keep some spares in your pockets, or shoot quickly so you can get back inside for some hot chocolate!
2. Set your camera up on the tripod and set it on Timer. If this is something you’re going to do often you could go buy a little remote for your camera so you don’t have to keep running back and forth every 10 seconds ; )
3. Take a test shot to make sure it’s framed up how you like. Make sure there’s no distracting things in the background (trees growing out of your heads, ugly garbage cans, etc). Then you’re good to go! Start snapping away and have fun – after all if you’re not having fun than whats the point!
Look at the camera: big smiles, soft smiles, serious face.
Don’t look at the camera: talk to each other, make each other laugh.
Change angles: sit on the floor/ground and shoot from above. Shoot really tight so it’s mostly your hands or faces. And my personal favourite, cut your heads off! But really, you can try standing straight to camera and shoot just your feet together, or hold hand and shoot waist down. Or do the opposite and shoot it really wide and high so it’s just from your shoulders up and the rest of the frame filled with sky or whatever your background is. Do whatever you want!
I know I’ve talked a lot in this post, but please don’t get overwhelmed! It might seem like a lot to do, but it’s all just ideas for if you get stuck. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work… not every photo is going to be magical. But if you find something that is working for you go with it!
**Please don’t wrap strings of Christmas lights around you. Okay this might be just me, but It’s been way over done and unless you know what settings your camera should be at and all that jazz it just looks like christmas decorating gone wrong. That goes for wrapping them around your children too. And rant over : )