Wohoo! You’re having pictures taken with your boo! You might be ecstatic about having couples pictures taken or slightly nervous. That’s all totally okay. Being in front of a camera doesn’t always feel super comfortable and it can be hard to relax. No worries, you’re definitely not alone in that. I’ve gathered a few tips that can help prepare you to have the best session possible!
Dress in something comfortable. You want to feel like yourselves when you look back at these images. Don’t feel pressure to dress really fancy because its a special event. I recommend 1-2 outfits for an hour session. Anymore than 2 outfits can cut into shooting time and interrupt the natural flow. Whether that’s rolled up jeans, flannel or stilettos, be yourself! Wear something you feel great in.
Get creative. Do you have a place in mind for your pictures that might be a little bit out of the ordinary? GO FOR IT! When picking out a location for your session you want a spot that really reflects your relationship. You don’t have to choose places that are traditionally pretty like parks, fields and cities. Really think about a spot that feels special to you both. It could be anything from your golden sofa to a tattoo parlor. These pictures are meant to represent your relationship and its awesome to really let your personalities take over. It’s about you, not the location!
Know why you’re there. It’s not about your makeup, the wind being a little too strong or the cloudy weather when you wanted sunshine. You’re with your best friend and documenting this season in your relationship. You love one another and adore spending time together. Whether you’re a jokester, a little reserved or an absolute ray of sunshine… I want you to commit to who you are as a couple and really just be those people. The point isn’t just pretty pictures it’s about capturing your dynamic as a couple because I think the way you are is pretty awesome!
Trust me. I have no expectations for you. I’m here to make you feel awesome and capture some great moments! Helping you both have a meaningful experience is my top priority. I want to be with you through the snorts, the laughter and the quiet moments. I’ll give direction (sometimes a little silly) and chat with you throughout your shoot (maybe a few lame jokes too) so please don’t feel any pressure to be ‘perfect’! Every. single. person. feels a little awkward for the first 15-20 minutes of their session. Being in front of a camera probably isn’t something you do every day so it takes time to get used to it. But as you gain some confidence and we start hanging out I love to treat sessions as a get together of friends. I’m there to capture you and there is no pressure to be anything but that.
I hope these tips can help you make the most out of your couples session! Just remember, the most important thing is that you’re with a great human and to have a great time together!
Hey friends! I just want to start off by thanking everyone who was so encouraging about me starting to blog about a variety of topics related to photography! I’ve been wanting to dive into this for a while now but just never found the will to actually sit down and write. Maybe it was a fear that I should stick to shooting and stay away from writing because that should be left for the A-list, super incredible OTHER photographers of the world. How could I possibly have the authority to write on this stuff? But I realized that’s just a big fat lie keeping me from doing something that would challenge and bring me a lot of joy. I adore talking about this stuff and don’t need to do it perfectly. All of your questions and interest really pushed me to just start. We all need a little shove now and then 😉 I hope this can be a place of learning and community. My goal is to tear down what can feel scary in our creative work and provide a bit of encouragement to have the freedom to grow, fail and practice even harder.
By far the most requested post was how to gain consistency with your photography! I think this is such a great starting place because it’s one of the most frustrating processes but also one of the best ways to learn about yourself as an artist! There are so many factors that play into consistency (shooting in manual, understanding your tools, editing, lots of practice, etc.) but I wanted to offer a few great ways to get started with the shooting side of things! I’ll dive into more specifics in later posts.
Shooting with Consistency
Once you have idea of the kind of style you love it’s much easier to start down the path to consistency because you have a visual for what your goal is! Even if you don’t get the look you want right away don’t be discouraged! It takes time and practice for EVERYONE. No one just starts out with a lovely, cohesive lineup of Instagram perfect images. My style has been all over the place but in the past 4 years has really leveled out. Over time, I’ve noticed certain patterns happening in my work. Things that I love and naturally just photographed. Personally, I’m drawn to rich earthy tones, organic elements, warm light, minimalistic backgrounds and wide angles. I intentionally began to look for ways to incorporate those themes into my work.
I’ve started looking for the factors that I can have some relative control over. (Relative because it doesn’t always work out like you plan and that’s okay!). You just have to be flexible. I do what I can to place myself in situations where I can produce the style of work I love. Here’s a few ways to start:
EXPLORE: When you’re scrolling, creeping and reading.. what images are you drawn to? What is it about them? Is it the way they use light? The brightness? The moodier feel? The bright colors? Muted tones? The expressions on their faces? Knowing the style of images you enjoy can give you a great starting place to work towards. There are hundreds of different ways to shoot and none are better than another. It’s all a matter of personal preference and what makes you happy to shoot!
TIME: I schedule a majority of my sessions and personal work in the evening because it gives me softer light to work with. I love the flexibility it gives me to play with the direction of the sun without being too overwhelming and harsh! If you look through a handful of my images you’ll notice that they typically are front lit (the sun directly on their face) but that the lighting isn’t burning their eyes because it’s so strong. That’s because I’m likely photographing them in the shade or in the evening where the sun is easier to work with. I’m a sucker for sessions at golden hour! The golden hour takes place 90 minutes before the sun dips below the horizon. I’m constantly looking up the sundial calendar on Google to strategically plan my session times!
POSITION: Speaking of sun… what if you can’t shoot everything basking in the light of sunset? This is where learning the power of position (of yourself or others!) is one of your most powerful tools. In bright outdoor lighting conditions I’m constantly scanning for shade. I adore even light and typically you can find that in a big shadow. Trees, buildings, big windows and walls will quickly become your best friend. I position my family, couples, cats (just kidding, I wish) in shaded areas (with your subject ideally facing the light source) to get glowy, even coverage. Even in tricky situations (like below) you can use shadows to your advantage to get even light and add a pop of interest to your image! Don’t be afraid to play around with the light in front of you.
- -Extra things to look for when shooting in shade: hot spots (you don’t want any bright sun patches on your subject), green/blue color casts (your subject is too far into the shade- just bring them a little bit closer to the light source!), squinty eyes (you don’t want to blind the people you’re working with) and your own shadow.
LOCATION: I love a good background that enhances my subjects. I opt for tree lines, organic elements, subdued patterns or an awesome solid colored wall! It’s not uncommon to find me taking pictures off of hotel room walls or moving weird lamps to keep distractions out of my images. It’s also a conscious choice that can be made to help things stay cohesive! You will see those themes all through my work. What do you like? Do you love bright colors? Blank white walls?
In combination with lots of practice, keeping these thoughts in mind while shooting can greatly aid in having your style of images become more consistent! Thanks for reading my little novel 😉 I hope some of these tips we’re helpful. I can’t wait to share more!
Wedding days are a mix of incredibly beautiful moments accompanied by a bit of chaos behind the scenes. As a photographer, I’ve learned this through experience. I’ve witnessed foundation spilled on dresses, sunburnt shoulders from outside ceremonies, crazy windblown hair, and countless other little mishaps. I want my clients to feel loved and taken care of. That no matter what happens their day is going to be amazing. In light of this I’ve decided to step into my second season as a wedding photographer as prepared as possible. Today I officially stocked my wedding day emergency kit! On Facebook, I’ve been lucky enough to be apart of some amazing photography forums such as Shoot and Share + Jasmine Star’s 30 Wedding Photography Boot Camp. These groups are filled with tons of talented artists sharing their business. Here you can find a goldmine of information and brilliant ideas. Although the concept of a wedding emergency kit is not my own, I did put my own spin into its contents. And it is uncommon for the photographer to be carrying one! This is a helpful little bag to carry with you in case you’re ever in a pinch.
So today I thought I would share what I included in mine!
- five wooden hangers (to replace ugly plastic hangers during dress pictures)
- a black makeup case (to put everything in)
- a wooden coaster (in case I can’t find a good surface to photograph rings on)
- command hooks + strips (an alternative to hang the wedding dress on during pictures if I can’t find a good hook)
- double sided tape (to help dresses stay on their hangers)
- a deodorant removing pad
- nail clippers (to help snip little fabric snags and stray string)
- a tide to go pen
- sunscreen (for me or any wedding party members who have to stand in the sun)
- hair ties
- bobby pins
- extra nail polish
- nail trimmers
- peppermint gum
- chocolate (I just really like it 😉 No more reason needed!)
Thanks SO much for taking the time to read this. I hope it was helpful!
There are so many different kinds of photographers out there: commercial, fashion, weddings and engagement, nature, senior, boudoir, families, etc. The list goes on and on. So many aspects of photography all with tons of unique experiences. Some artists take a jack-of-all trades approach to their work while others choose a specialty.
One of the most exciting parts of my photography journey has been trying new concepts. When I first started out I took whatever would come my way. I was just aching to use my camera and start practicing (and even make a little money!). I’ve gotten to work with families, children, seniors, and I’m even working on a few weddings. As I’ve worked with clients I began to see a trend in what I was drawn too and what thing things caught my eye.
So how does one decide their niche? Ask yourself these questions:
What excites you? What kinds of images can you not wait to start working with?
What pushes you to keep climbing the creativity ladder and challenging yourself?
What kind of clients do you feel the most confident with?
What catches your eye when looking at photographs? What kind of photographers are you favorite to follow?
What is your vision?
If you want to make photography a life-long passion I believe working with subjects you love is the key to not becoming burnt out. For me, the kind of work that excites and challenges me is that of portraiture. I’m slowly narrowing my own focus to fashion senior work. I love working with just one person, and discovering their personality and bringing that out through photographs. I especially like to work with women. I’m fascinated by catching all the lovely details each women holds. I’ve come to learn that through my lens I’m very detail oriented and become most inspired when I get to work those muscles. I realized with other subjects I would quickly become bored in the post processing phase, and would struggle with creativity during the shoots.
With one model I feel more comfortable exploring and taking the time to experiment with how they move, and act and portray themselves. I’m able to build a sense of how the images could look based on personal interactions with my clients.
Choosing a niche has helped me shape my vision for the future of my craft. I want to display the beauty of young women in a way that is lovely, classy, yet lively and adventurous. These are things that are becoming old school-fast. I want to capture joy and create an experience for every girl to feel like a professional model for a day. My desire is to shine a little light into the world of fashion photography and the growing expectations for women to only be ‘sexy or hot’.
I interviewed some awesome fellow photographers to find out their take on finding a niche:
Erin Crista, “Weddings and newborns are want I want to book consistently… they made me happiest. I know it sounds silly but I get excited and nervous about them. I knew I was wasting my time If I didn’t feel truly excited about the work I was doing.” Find her work @erincrista.com
Kim Nelson, “I found it easier to niche out. I was spreading myself too thin. I had crap newborn images on the same page as an alternative cosplay. It was confusing to my clients to see the different levels of my skill. Niching out gave me more clients because my skill appeared more consistent. They knew who I was and what they would get.” Find her work @handinhandphotography.com