Tactics for natural couples portraits
Over the past few years, I've had the privilege of photographing couples on their wedding day. It's made me fall in love with portrait photography; the images are filled with emotions that commemorate this precious milestone.
Milestones are important, but so is everyday life. Parents and grandparents are often surprised when I offer to take a few couples pictures of them during an event or a family photo session. They usually can't remember the last time they had a photo taken of just the two of them!
Sometimes couples need a minute or two to warm up to the camera. Here are a few of my favorite instructions that I give to couples to help them relax so that I can get the best shot while making it fun for them:
1. Magnetic Eyes:
Seriously stare at each other for 20 seconds. This often results in tender moments followed by good laughter. Or vice versa!
2. The Jelly Dance:
It's easy to get self-conscious. When I notice people looking uncomfortable, I put the camera aside for a minute or two and encourage them to dance like they are made out of jelly. It may sound weird, but it's a good way to get them to relax and let loose.
3. The Confusion Solution (also known as the Crazy Photographer):
I want you to follow my instructions as quickly as you can. Ready? Here we go - You look at me, now look at him, now look at each other, now look over THERE. Wait, what?!
4. The Whisper:
Using your best sexy voice, whisper into your partner's ear what you had to eat earlier today or an inside joke that only you will understand.
5. Just the Two of You:
Touch each other in however feels natural to you. You're alone in the world, I'm not here!
6. The Silly Monkey:
Reserved for couples who clearly have pent-up nervous energy, I tell them to go bananas and show me their silly side!
7. The Science Nerd:
With the camera out, natural smiles can be elusive. Sometimes, with more conservative couples, I break through to them by first appealing to their rationale side; I break down the details of a true, genuine smile - the Duchenne smile. Smile with your eyes and not just with your lips! From there, they tend to open up more.