I think you will all agree with me when I say that the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they think of wedding photography is none other than couple portraits!
You know: the photos where you see two people, soooo in love, ready to start their lives together. Looking like absolute royalty.
Just reveling in each other’s company knowing the other is yours, and yours only.
It’s definitely the time when the bride and groom and their budding married relationship truly shines in front of the camera.
It really do believe the couple portraits truly set the tone of how your entire wedding day story comes together.
This is the one part of the day I get the most questions about.
“How much time would we need?
When would we do it?
Where would we do it?
How would we pose?
We’re so awkward around each other in front of the camera!”
It is also a part of the day that most couples feel the most nervous about! I totally get that.
As a photographer, this part of the day weighs the heaviest for me. This is what couples hire me for!
This part of the day is my canvas.
To me, the couple portraits are all about the relationship.
So, if the expression of your love is being loud and giddy together, then I’m capturing that.
If, on the other hand, you’re both quite, and more subdued together, and that’s your relationship and personality, I will authentically capture that.
It is truly super important for me that you be YOU in front of my camera.
So in this blog post I wanted to explore what I think are the most key aspects of having a phenomenal couples portrait session(s).
Get to know your photographer before you put your money down. Get to know them as a person.
Being comfortable with them as a person translate to being comfortable with them in front of their camera.
In my many years of doing this and photographing 100s of couples, I tell all my prospective clients: the best photos are achieved when you are are comfortable with and around your photographer.
Smiles are authentic, poses are authentic, and everything else because it’s more like a friend directing you and you’re enjoying the whole process.
In my experience, comfort with the photographer is the number one predictor of how you will feel about your photographs when you receive them.
I’ve really focused on this in my trade. I get to know my prospective clients as people before we enter into any kind of contract.
I would say if you’re a client considering a photographer and things are off to a poor start – don’t hesitate to see other options.
I’ve even mentored other photographers to pass on an opportunity if things are poor in the initial stages.
In order to be less stressed for any thing on your wedding day, making sure you allocate enough time is the most important thing.
You need to plan with enough time in your mind.
I like having at least 90 minutes for portraits; but a lot depends on the location.
If we are shooting somewhere elaborate, where lighting is a mix of natural and indoors, extra time is always needed.
Rule of thumb: discuss the location(s) you have in mind with your photographer well in advance before your timeline is finalized, and ensure that a timeframe is allocated to the portraits.
This should never, ever be a last minute decision.
Connected to this is, of course, the location and how long it will take for a trip to and from there. Pro tip: always assume the worst about the 401!
A key aspect of planning the timing for the couple portraits is the timing of the actual event.
My personal bias is to opt for an afternoon wedding because that will allow for pictures to be taken at the magical ‘golden hour’.
What’s that? Well, this is about two hours before sunset.
If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll recognize this as those ethereal shots with the sun-flair peaking through the trees, and soft light enveloping the couple.
It’s always a photographers dream to take portraits at this amazing time!
This is perhaps the most intimidating part for many couples. I cannot tell you how many times I get to hear ” I am so awkward in front of the camera!! How would I look good?”
You also want to know something surprising? The couples who end up being the most nervous, do the best haha.
All that is to say, trust your photographer when it comes to the posing. Know the way they make people pose and see if you can picture yourself in those. If their photos make you feel comfortable, and do not give you that “cringe” feeling, then you would be good in front of the camera too! Trust is the vital thing here!
Don’t be afraid to share any inspirations you may have saved over the course of your wedding planning with your photographer. It can help in bringing your vision to life.
Trust your photographer and be yourselves in front of the camera. Don’t worry about looking awkward or not being photogenic enough. Oftentimes things may feel awkward, but they translate super well on camera!
Another thing I get asked a lot: “What if it rains on the wedding day? What happens then?”
First off, I always say, don’t look at the extended forecast of the day, like a month before the event! The weather changes all the time, minute by minute, and sometimes literally second by second.
With my own clients, we make a final decision 4-5 days before the event. I always encourage booking an indoor location in case it is showing rain on the wedding day. Sometimes it is extra money that gets spent, but in such situations it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If your venue does not offer a nice indoor option for portraits, it is worth looking into external spaces that offer an indoor place for portraits.
If you do have your heart set on doing the photos outdoors, then budgeting plenty of times and altering your timeline for that would be the best option. I have been in situations plenty of time where it has rained in breaks, and we would literally shoot during the small periods and bursts of time outdoors when the skies are clear or not pouring rain.
At the end of the day, I would always say just enjoy your wedding day for what it is! Rainy days also make for some really romantic portraits.
If you truly do want sunny day portraits booking a post-wedding portrait session would also be a wonderful idea. We can make sure we book your portraits for a sunny evening; this way we can also get the beautiful golden hour for your photos too!
It’s also always a great idea if you know the location you are planning to shoot at. Also make sure your photographer knows of it, and knows where the key points are in the space.
That way, in case things are running late, you can use the most photogenic parts and have a peace of mind that at least you covered it mostly!
As you decide on your location, I suggest working your way down this tiny checklist:
All of these are very important facts to know before your wedding day!
If you are still undecided on a location for your couple’s session, here are some questions I like to ask before choosing the perfect place.
Is there a nice place at your venue you can imagine having your wedding pictures taken?
Is there a place that is special to you and your fiancé?
Is there somewhere with large windows and tons of natural light?
Pro tip: You can never go wrong with natural light. It creates the most beautiful photos and has the power to turn a location that has no previous meaning into a location with lasting memories. So, if you are struggling to find a place that is special to you, don’t fret! Try searching for locations with great natural light. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Bringing your family towards the end or the beginning of your portrait session is also definitely a bonus you can add to the overall coverage! Imagine also having your family portraits done at the location you are planning to take your couple photos at! I know for many weddings it is not possible to bring out every aunt and uncle, but having your immediate family around can give everyone an opportunity to get their photos done in the beautiful natural lighting outdoors!
Especially if you are getting an album, the portraits we can take outdoors with your family always look incredibly beautiful on the pages! Doing this will also help in getting this part of the itinerary done before the event starts! This way we wouldn’t need to worry about scrambling for family members at the event when they’re busy with hosting the guests!
A few tips to quickly help you plan the best portrair session for your photographer: