I love a beautiful field during golden hour as much as the next photographer. Its a gorgeous setting for engagement photos but what if your images had a little more personality in them. I’m guilty of having a board dedicated to “inspiration” for my next shoots but I recently attended the Hello Darlin workshop and it taught me a thing or two or reminded me what I loved to begin with. Over the years I’ve taken quite a few workshops and they all have great tips. This one taught me that I can be myself and encourage my clients to embrace their personalities and that when we use Pinterest as inspiration it can take away from beautiful real moments. So I’m going to explain my tips on how to have a badass couple’s session for engagement photos, pics for the gram, or maybe just a hot date night.
As I mentioned above fields are nice especially during golden hour but when looking for a place with personality try to think outside the box. This location was a funky Airbnb located somewhere on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. It had personality and charm and amazing little light spots perfect for cuddling and dancing. Some other cool spots you could check out could be a laundry mat, diner, coffee shop, Target and Ikea believe it or not. Hell the second couple we worked with at this workshop we shot in front of an old camper we found. Think outside of the park, wedding venue, or field. I shoot at those places often and think they are beautiful and traditional. This is for the couple that wants anything but traditional. From libraries to parking lots you can be as weird and creative as you want. If you are a netfilx and chill kinda couple consider a home session or cozy airbnb shoot. If you are adventurous find a cool hiking trail with beautiful lighting.
I don’t want you to feel like you have to go buy all brand new outfits for your shoot. That is not the case. What I do think helps is putting together some outfits and send photos to your photographer. If there are multiple options and you have a place to change (if you are staying at an airbnb) You can lay out the options and your photographer can make the final choice.
Accessories and layering also adds a lot of interest to your photos. Don’t be afraid to bring items that you love to wear or that are special to you. Avoid brand logos. If you are really into styling and want to shop ask the photographer if they have a color scheme that they love to work with. I personally love burnt orange, golden yellow, and earthy greens.
The more relaxed you can be the better. I often tell my couples to have a drink beforehand if that’s something they enjoy together. Put yourself in a romantic mood. Avoid topics that stress you out on your way to the shoot or while you are getting ready. Being touchy feely isn’t for everyone but that is something to let your photographer know before hand what you are comfortable with. That way they can avoid using too many kiss shots or booty grabs but also keep in mind that these are photos with the one you love. They are meant to have emotion so although you might not do these things on a normal day try to be open minded to the prompts the photographer is giving.
Depending on how into this you want to get you could create a playlist of songs that make you think of each other but if you’re like me and aint got time for that think of a spotify channel that will play artists you love. I’m a huge fan of 90s music but maybe you like indie or boy bands. Music can set the tone for the shoot. If you want fun and playful maybe put on a y2k mix but if you want something intimate and sexy you could go for baby makin r&b music.
Describe your perfect date. I’d have to say April 25. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket. If you don’t get that reference you need to watch more movies. What I mean by make it a date is rent the airbnb for the night plan for ordering pizza and drinking wine. Like I mentioned in the tips above about being lovey dovey and having a drink before hand consider that into your plans. Find a cute bar near where you are meeting your photographer and have a drink and flirt with each other.
If shooting indoor you can start anytime of day really and if you time it just right you might be wrapping up your shoot around golden hour which can make some really unique and artsy types of photos. Light patches and haze are my favorites! If shooting outdoor lighting plays a HUGE role in how your photos feel. Sunrise requires the most planning and commitment BUT the lighting at 5 or 6 am is GORGEOUS! The most common time to shoot outdoor is around golden hour and that leads to sunset and blue hour which are BOTH unique and fun to shoot in.
Outdoor times to avoid planning photos is around 11am to 3pm. Now if this is unavoidable your photographer should be able to work around that time of day but be ready for sun in your eyes and some harsh shadows. NOW beautiful images can be created around those times of day so its not a HARD pass but it depends on you and your photographer and what look you are wanting to achieve.
This is also helpful when planning an outdoor wedding ceremony.
Your photographer will be giving you prompts and directions. If they did not tell you where to put your hands my advice is always put them on each other. I don’t mean awkwardly put your stiff hand on their shoulder but instead play with their hair, tickle their hands, boop their nose even. An amazing photographer I met once said “embrace the awkwardness”. It may not feel natural to grab his beard but if you don’t know what to do with your hands pet his beard it like a puppy and I promise you will laugh right through it and it will look sweet, playful, and not awkward.
Bye bye stiff photoshoots. Movement is cool. So run, jump, hair flip.