Brittney and Grant came to Charleston to celebrate their anniversary with a Lowcountry vacation, and I was thrilled when they asked me to do an anniversary portrait session with them! Both Nashville natives, they have a shared love of good wine (they honeymooned in Napa), bunnies, and married life. We had a great time gallivanting around Charleston - we even met new friends outside of the historic German Friendly Society and made a sweet mess with some Thimblepress confetti! I loved shooting these two, and wish them many fabulous anniversaries to come!
I met Leandra and Spencer through my dear friend Denver-based photographer Ryan Dearth. These two are absolutely adorable! For their couple's session, we went all over Golden, Colorado (home of Buffalo Bill and the Coors brewery) and had a blast! The town is situated at the base of the Front Range of the Rockies, and has some of the most beautiful views in the Denver area. We managed to catch a perfect warm glow as the sun set over the mountains while these two laughed, kissed, and were all around sweet as pie. Their natural, relaxed style is so Coloradan, and I loved spending the day with them!
So, you and your sweetheart are ready for some professional photos together. Yay! While your photographer will offer great suggestions, it's always smart to give some thought to what you'd like to accomplish in advance of your session. Several factors go into making a fabulous couple's shoot, and today we're going to talk about - you guessed it - location, location, location!
While natural settings with lush greenery are always pretty, you'll get more bang for your buck by selecting a few varied options. From architectural details to urban art and floral arbors, creatively using the surroundings will give you a more interesting set of photos. I'm delighted with what we captured during Mike and Mia's Los Angeles couple's session - bright geometric art, sunny street shots, and even rustic-looking wood gave us tons of options, all without leaving the city!
In an urban setting, rooftops, museums, and fancy locations have their appeal, and can make for gorgeous photos. That said, some may require permits or other arrangements to be made prior to your session and can add to the overall cost. If you have your heart set on a place like this, talk to your photographer and do some research beforehand to avoid annoying hang-ups the day of. Accessibility is also important to consider in a natural location - if you're shooting on a mountain, make sure to have a way to the top figured out before showing up, and wear appropriate shoes (or carry the cute ones to change into!)
3. Keep the focus on YOU
With all that said, a talented photographer needs nothing more than good light and a happy couple to take great photos. Selecting a location that you are familiar with, or that has special meaning to you as a couple will show in the finished product. The focus is on you and your love for each other, not fancy buildings or landscapes, though they sure can look nice. For example, while they are wearing casual outfits on a city street, Mia and Mike absolutely glow while stealing smooches on their bikes in the afternoon light. No fancy trips needed!
Finally, talk to your photographer! We live for this stuff, and are here to guide you in making your engagement portrait session or couple's shoot a complete success!
A quick browse of the Pinterest wedding boards or any major wedding blog will turn up enough dizzyingly perfect images to make your head spin. By following these guidelines, you too can have a fabulous styled shoot with your sweetheart!
To illustrate, here's one of of my favorite couple's sessions to date: Nick is a talented photographer who often second shoots for me at weddings, and Emma is his gorgeous girlfriend. They are irresistibly cute together, and the inspiration for this post.
When planning a portrait session with your sweetie, keeping in mind these tips will prevent your photos from looking overly styled, haphazard, or strained and leave you with meaningful, swoon-worthy results. Now - on to the tips!
1. Keep It Simple
We all love props, and they can go a long way in adding a playful feel to your photos. However, too many props, or props that don't fit into the theme you're after will distract more than help. Emma and Nick's casual and slightly bohemian style looks right at home next to a vintage VW Beetle with a floral arrangement creatively draped on the front bumper.
Talk to your photographer AND your partner in advance of the shoot about the mood you'd like to accomplish, and the day of will be much more seamless. Your photographer will likely have some great ideas about location and timing, and the more in tune you are as a couple, the more fun you'll have!
3. Have Fun!
It should go without saying, but it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and details of a styled shoot. By planning ahead and communicating you will be more relaxed, and with all the time you'll save by being prepared for the day of your shoot, there will be even more time for those fun, spontaneous shots that always end up being our favorites.