Let’s talk about posing (or not posing for that matter)! I know this can be a nerve-racking topic for both photographers, as well as our couples so I wanted to dive into 3 things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me pull the most natural moments out of my couples. Keep in mind that this can apply to all shoots, but I’m just focusing on couples for simplicity of this blog post.
As a photographer, I have been told time and time again, “ah we are so awkward in front of the camera” or “we don’t really know what we are doing”, “where does my hand go”. The truth is, unless you have been modeling or exposed to being in front of the camera every day, it’s not the most natural thing to do. People tell me all the time about how hard it is to be themselves in front of the camera. As I started to hear these concerns more frequently, I decided to step in front of the camera with my fiancé and let me tell you, it takes some time to warm up and feel relaxed! This made me set out on a mission to try to give my clients the BEST experience possible, so that they could get comfortable in front of the camera as quickly as possible and love the results.
So here are my top three tips for getting your couples comfortable in front of the camera and pulling out natural emotion.
- Give your couple prompts.
Like I said before, unless your couples are full time models, most people don’t spend that much time in front of the camera, therefore they are new to this experience. It is our job as photographers to explain to them how things work and guide them through the process. A few ways you can prompt your couples is by giving them one simple thing to do while also giving them enough time to melt into the prompt you told them. For example, I love to tell my couples to walk towards me holding hands (starts off really simple) then I add in a movement by either telling them to pull each other in and out, hip check each other, or “drunk” walk. Every couple I’ve worked with puts their own spin on the prompts and this seems to always bring out such genuine emotion. If you notice your couples are visual people, there is nothing wrong with acting the pose out for them or even showing a sample photo…but allow them enough time to make it organic and their own. I have found all of these methods to be effective, depending on the couple, and this prompting methods helps pull out true emotion without leaving them unsure of what to do!
Along with this tip, I strongly encourage all photographers out there to have your photos professionally taken. This allows you to put yourselves in your couple’s shoes and understand how the whole process feels.
- GO SLOW
Once again, this is a new thing for your couples so the more time you give them to melt into the prompts you are giving them, the better. If everyone is a little uncomfortable at first, it might be easy to quickly move the couple from pose to pose, but this doesn’t allow for any natural emotion to come out. The worst thing that can happen is your couple finally starts to get goofy or melts their own way into a pose and then you take them out of it to move onto the next thing. I am always prompting, but never directing so that my couples can have an idea of what to do but tweak it to feel natural to them and make their personality shine through the photo. Keep things simple and go slow, your couple will get the hang of things in no time!
- Get to know your couple!
I can’t stress this enough. No two people are the same which is the beauty of this lovely world we live in, so we shouldn’t treat our couples the same on every shoot we do. There are so many ways to get to know your couple but here are a couple things that have worked really well for me to get to know my couples.
- Set up a phone call or a coffee date before your shoot and just get to know each other better. This way, when the shoot comes around they will feel like they know you and it helps everyone loosen up quicker.
- Send out a questionnaire! This is a new feature that I just added to my sessions. It’s just a short form that helps me get to know a couple and find out what they might need to help them feel more comfortable during the shoot. For example, what things would make the shoot feel more like a date? Should we bring beer, pizza, or your dog? Whatever you need to make things more comfortable, I’m all for it!
I hope these tips help you on your next shoot and you start to figure out your own method for sessions. What worked for you? What didn’t? What can I try at my next shoot that will give both you and your couples that best experience around? I hope you take these tips and make them your own.
P.s. For the months of March & April I am offering a special photographer session (can be individual or a couple) so you can get in front of the camera and put yourself in your couple’s shoes. And lastly, if you are interested in learning more about my client questionnaires, please reach out to me! Thanks so much for reading!