Tips to nail your couples shoot

October 8, 2020

This article is a guide to couples who are a bit hesitant to book a photoshoot and need some convincing. So here are some tips to nail your couples shoot…and have the best possible time while you’re at it!

Getting your picture taken definitely isn’t easy for most people, especially when it involves their other half as well. Whether it’s because you feel awkward in front of the camera, don’t like to be the center of attention, aren’t a big fan of PDA, or just because you are super shy/introverted, the idea of having a camera pointed at you often feels quite daunting. So, how to nail your couple shoot and have the best time while you’re at it?

Fear no more, I’ve got a few tips to help you prepare, relax, and feel more at ease for your upcoming couples shoot.

Couple embracing at sunset. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia

Tip #1 – Make a date out of it

My first tip to nail your couples shoot is to plan enough time before and after your shoot to hang out with each other. I always ask my couples what their ideal date is, so maybe have a think about this before rocking up on the day. Hanging out with each other doing your fav activity will help you release some of the pressure if you feel a little bit nervous about the shoot. Besides, spending quality time with each other (other than getting your picture taken by a stranger) will help you remember the day that little bit more!

Here are some of my favorite dates ideas, and a few of the ways I like to hang out with my partner:

  • After a sunset shoot at the beach: grab yourself a pizza or some fish and chips, and go sit at the beach to watch the last bit of light fade away. Enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean and the calm of the beach at the end of the day.
  • Make the most out of looking fab for your shoot, and go get yourself a cheeky cocktail/glass of wine (or a lemon, lime bitters, whatever floats your boat) at a nice venue close to your shoot location – you deserved it!
  • Go for a little walk around the neighborhood and take part in my favorite activity EVER: house watching. Aka sighing “I wish I would live there” at every single house I walk past.
Black and white photo of couple snuggling. Nanga bushcamp, Perth, Western Australia

Tip #2 – Wear the right clothes for you

The clothes you choose to wear are super important! They don’t have to be your fanciest gown or pair of pants though. Instead, I would recommend choosing something you feel comfortable and confident in, and here is why. If you wear something you don’t feel at ease in or that doesn’t really suit your style, it will 100% show on the photos. Just grab your fav little black linen dress or that pair of chinos you swear by, and be yourself.

To help you guide you through picking the perfect outfit, here is a little list of Do’s and Dont’s

Prefer Avoid
– Natural tones: black/white, beige, grey, or any kind of soft pastel color
– Natural fabric: linen, cotton, silk, possibly denim
– Subtle, faded patterns (with soft colors)
– Clothes that make you feel awesome as soon as you put them on
– It’s all about the subtle stuff: your favorite hat, a pretty ring, a nice watch
– You got it, the keyword is na-tu-ral
– Bold, bright, primary colors
– Neon stuff
– Eye-catching materials: sequin, leather, anything overly shiny
– Strong, bold patterns
– Over the top fancy clothes: suits, gowns
– Uncomfortable clothes that you can’t move around in
– Clothes that have never seen the outside of your wardrobe

Have a look at these legends to get some inspo on what the heck to wear at a couples shoot.

I absolutely love the combination of the white linen shirt + denim on Ellis, and Loren’s white romper. Rompers are an amazing outfit idea for women – they are super comfy, kind of look like a dress, but allow you to move more freely without worrying about showing too much to people around.

Playful couple having a laugh while playing around in the ocean. City Beach, Perth, Western Australia

I’m in love with the tones these two are wearing! Their outfits are the perfect balance between elegance and practicality. This is also a good reminder to wear close you don’t mind getting wet or sitting on the floor with!

Couple at the beach holding hands and walking towards each other. Trigg Beah, Perth, Western Australia

Another great example of the perfect colors/fabrics to wear! When in doubt, just go with your favorite wardrobe staples – you cannot go wrong.

Couple sitting on a bench while holding hands. Nanga bushcamp, Perth, Western Australia

Matching done right with Lachie and Ash. Love the hats and the cools kids vibes we’re getting from these two. Another simple yet awesome outfit combo.

Couple hugging at the beach with a dog appearing from behind. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia

When I was telling you rompers are a great idea… White romper for Leonie, and white shirt + chinos combo for Shayan. Not that you can really tell from this photo, but they were both wearing thoughtful accessories that made their outfit all the more stylish.

Couple looking at each other and walking hand in hand along a river. Nanga bushcamp, Perth, Western Australia

I wanted to include one example of patterns worn right. I love patterns ‘in real life’, but they can look quite overwhelming on photos which is why I would advise against it, unless they are quite subtle and made of earthy tones (like on Zoe’s dress) or soft pastel colors.

Tip #3 – Pick the right location

Another great tip to nail your couples shoot is to favor a location that holds a special meaning to you both. Here are a few examples:

  • A specific beach that you love hanging out together at. That can be your local beach, or the one where you love to go to on your day off.
  • Your home. This is where you make most of your memories and you feel comfortable there (especially if you’re camera shy). That will also give your photos a real authentic feel.
  • A place that holds special memories to you. It could be the place where you had your first date, where one of you proposed, where you first met.

Extra tip: if you are quite camera-shy and self-aware, and don’t want to be stared at while you get your photo taken, ask your photographer for some recommendation on a more quiet and little frequented spot.

Moody black and white photo of the back of a couple at the beach holding hand and looking into the horizon. Trigg Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Trigg Dog Beach, usually pretty quiet for those of you who don’t want an audience.

Bride and groom dancing in the corridor of a boutique hotel. Alex Hotel Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia

Your favorite bar/cafe/venue. Pictured here: Sara and Fu having a boogie in the middle of the Alex Hotel’s balcony in Northbridge.

Couple sharing an intimate moments in the back alleys, near the sheds of Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

Exploring the backstreets and even industrial areas is always a good idea -especially when in Fremantle.

Couple walking while holding hands in the middle of a gumtree forest, Nanga bushcamp, Western Australia

Go for a walk around the gumtrees and enjoy being surrounded by nature.

I’m always down for an adventure and will very happily travel to capture you in your favorite location. Pictured here is the epic Sugarloaf Rock in Yallingup in the beautiful south-west region of WA.

Tip #4 – Bring your pet!

Ok, that one might actually my favorite tip! The main reason why I recommend this is because if your pet is hanging out with you, your attention will be taken off the camera and you will be able to relax and be in the moment way more easily. Indeed, pets are a great way to calm your nerves and keep you grounded.

But having your pet there isn’t just great to help you stay cool, they are also a part of the family! So why not have your fur baby(ies) with you and get some great memories of your little family and not just of the two of you.

Finally, and this is pure selfishness – I just want to pat alllllll the dogs. By bringing your pup to a shoot with me, you will make me the happiest girl in the world. And although dogs hold a special place in my heart, I do love all animals. So bring your cat, your pet rabbit/bird/hamster, or ferret with you if that’s your thang!

Couple at the beach patting a dog. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia

Visited by a friend during our shoot at Cottesloe dog beach.

Cara, Aaron and their baby Archie having a cute fam shoot a Trigg Dog Beach.

Alana, Max brought their cute rescue baby Luna to their pre-wedding shoot, and I am here for it!

Couple holding each other with their dog. City Beach, Perth, Western Australia

My partner and I, and our dog, Merlin, captured by my lovely friend Kath Young. Can confirm that having Merlin there really helped us both be in the moment and focus on something else than the camera.

Tip #5 – Co-mmu-ni-cate

Make sure to chat to your photographer before your shoot, and to communicate to them what you want and what you are expecting from the shoot – especially if you have a specific idea in mind! That might a specific pose or moment you want to be captured, or if you’ve organized something special like a surprise proposal for your partner. Most photographers will be more than happy to get creative and help you bring your ideas to life, but we are not mind-readers. So pretty please, just let us know what you’re thinking!

Man kissing his partner on the forehead. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia

Tip #6 – Have fun 🙂

Easier said than done – believe me, I know, I’ve been on that side of the camera too. Try to see your shoot as a regular hang out with your partner, all the whilst some stranger is stalking you with their camera. The sound of the shutter might be a bit intimidating at first, and you (and your photographer) will feel awkward for the first 5-10 minutes. But you will start phasing these things out before you even know it.

I personally work with prompts to help direct my couple, and try to stay away from posed, staged photographs. Most couples really enjoy these prompts as it gives them something (fun) to do, and they forget for a second that I’m even around.

Try to be in the moment, lean onto each other, hug it out, close your eyes, have a laugh to release the pressure, and enjoy each other’s presence. And remember, when in doubt, just kiss!

Couple embracing at the beach. Man whispering something into the ear of the woman laughing. City Beach, Perth, Western Australia
Romantic black and white close up of a loved-up couple. Nanga bushcamp, Perth, Western Australia
Couple holding hands and having a laugh. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia
Intimate close up photo of a couple at the beach. Man holding his partner around the neck. Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia

Here are my top six tips to nail your couple shoot and make some great memories! Which one do you think is the most helpful? Tell me in the comments below, and let me know how your shoot went!

Interested in seeing the full gallery of a couples shoot to get a better idea of what to expect? Here are a few examples:
Leonie & Shayan
Blainy & Ryan

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