When photographing couples in love, embrace your multipurpose role as not only artist and documentarian but also location scout and fashion coach. Recommend professional hair and makeup before the session for flawless, lens-ready looks that also allow these vendors prewedding experience with their clients. When scouting locations, think about posing your subjects in front of their future wedding venue, where they first met, or where he proposed.
Encourage the couple to interact with each other to find a natural, camera-worthy rapport. When something they do looks perfect, ask them to hold still or do it again. Throughout the session, keep the mood light and positive, and with a little direction, your couple will look (and feel) their best!
To create natural-looking photographs, put couples in motion and encourage them to take a walk while also interacting with each other. This is a great way to take environmental portraits that include your location in the background, which is especially important when the engagement session is at the couple's wedding venue. Crouch down for a lower perspective; then ask the groom-to-be to put his hands in his pockets and the bride to hold on to his arm as they stroll. For a sweet second take, have her lay her head on his shoulder.
Encourage couples to dress fashionably but also comfortably, since engagement shoots can last upward of ninety minutes and may include a lot of walking, depending on the location.
When you see a natural event unfolding, like an impromptu kiss between sweethearts, don't be afraid to play a little camera cupid. If your couple looks adorable, go with it. Ask for slow kisses, and don't be afraid to ask for as many kisses as you need to capture some with laughter, too. If possible, place your couple in a spot with lovely backlighting to accentuate the warmth between them. For a second capture of a kiss, zoom wider and move behind the groom to show just a little bit of his face peeking out from behind hers.
Instead of asking couples to pose again, ask them to hold still and then move around them yourself, shooting as many quick perspectives of their pose as you can.
Start photographing as the moment unfolds; then ask the groom to kiss his bride's hand several more times, framing each shot differently as you go and considering how they will look when displayed together. Be sure to shift height in order to be on the same plane of each subject as you shoot so that the images will look natural side by side. Zoom in close for detail, and then zoom out to grab the entire scene. Afterward, select the two best frames to pair as your diptych.
Remain involved in the moment of each image and shoot a lot, from different angles, but don't push the shutter without purpose. Always think about how you are framing each image before you take the shot.
Images incorporating movement capture the joyous feeling of a couple embarking on a journey together, draped in a beautiful pashmina scarf. Start by taking a few photographs of the couple seated on the ground or a bench. Next, have the groom pull the bride up to her feet. If they are playful, have them run or walk toward the camera while holding hands so that you can capture their interaction as they move. Step backward as safely as possible to show them coming toward you before they zip past the camera. To avoid blur, always remember to use a faster shutter speed of at least 1/500 sec. with moving subjects.
Try to include a few naturally occurring details from the environment in the frame to help tell the story. Here, the sand provides visual interest, the palm tree lends depth, and the dog working to keep up adds playfulness.