When I take photos of couples some are more comfortable then others. Regardless, I always try and make it as natural as possible, that way the photos really do come across as sincere. With that being said there are things you can do to further ensure the photos don’t look too posed. In this short post I will list 5 simple ways to do so.
1. Don’t look directly at the camera
It’s often really easy to just stare at the camera and smile. Now, there is nothing wrong with looking directly at the camera, but the problem with doing this all the time is that all the photos tend to look the same. Plus, if you are always smiling as the camera is pointed towards you, the photos will tend to feel unnatural. So, look away for some, perhaps look down or even change the angle sometimes where you are looking up at the camera. Anything to just add a bit of intrigue to the photo.
2. Use a prop
To be honest, I don’t often bring props to a portrait shoot or wedding but they can be very useful. The sessions I have had couples use props have actually turned out quite well. This can be just about anything. Depending on the theme of the shoot or the emotion you are trying to emote, be sure the prop actually makes sense. One wedding I had the couple brought some bright coloured umbrella’s. It wasn’t raining, in fact it was bright and sunny, but it really matched the overall theme of the shoot and made for some very interesting photos. Another engagement session I had, we used bright coloured balloons. Unfortunately the session was cut short by a storm but in the 15 minutes we had, we got some fantastic photos. It could also be something as simple as your wardrobe. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that helps you feel comfortable behind the camera.
3. Pick a location that is familiar to you
Whether it’s an engagement shoot or even a wedding, sometimes it can be very helpful to stage it at a location that holds meaning to you. I did an engagement shoot with a couple where they originally got engaged at. It’s almost impossible not to relive those initial feelings and they often really come through in the photos. By having it a location you are familiar with, not only will you know the lay of the land, but things will just feel that much more natural. Not to say, you can’t do this with a venue you’ve never visited before, but a place you know could make a big difference.
4. Meet your photographer beforehand
Most photographers are great at creating a quick relationship with their client the day of but some are better then others. In the end if you don’t feel comfortable with your photographer, then it will show in the photos. It’s not always possible to meet with your photographer before a portrait shoot but at least with weddings I highly recommend it. Even just meeting over coffee a week in advance can make a real difference once the big day comes. Not only will you get to know the photographer a bit better, you can also get a sense of their shooting style, what they are thinking regarding location or anything else that will help the day of go smoother.
5. Look at other photographs
Be careful with this one. Don’t go out and memorize poses necessarily but by looking at other photos you can get a ton of ideas which may lead to ideas of your own. As I mentioned earlier, you might see some props that you like, or maybe even a location you never would have thought of. In previous posts I mentioned some sites for inspiration in general so feel free to check that out. Another obvious place to look is your photographers portfolio. If you haven’t already see what their style of shooting is, what other clients of their’s have done or anything else that might help.
In the end, just relax and have fun with it. If you don’t feel comfortable take a short break and try something new.