Tips to nail your couples shoot

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 time while you're at it!

I find that most of the couples who reach out to me often describe themselves as 'camera-shy' or 'uncomfortable in front of the camera'. And I get it. Whether it's because you instantly start feeling self-conscious, 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 can be 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.

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. One of my favorite questions to ask couples in order to get to know them is: what is your ideal date? So, why not have a think about this and try to make your favourite date happen? Hanging out with each other doing your favourite 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 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 fabulous for your shoot, and go reward yourselves with your favorite glass of wine (or mocktail) at a nice venue close to your shoot location - you deserve 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.
Saisha and Anthony's engagement shoot at Trigg Bushland Reserve, Perth, Western Australia.
A cloudy summer evening in the Perth hills for Kaitlyn and Joel's pre-wedding shoot

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, although they can be if you that's the vibe you are going for. Either way, 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 in 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

- Natural tones: black/white, off-white, beige, grey, or any kind of soft pastel color
- Natural or 'luxe' fabric: linen, cotton, silk, possibly denim
- Subtle, faded patterns (with soft colors)
- Clothes that make you feel amazing as soon as you put them on
- Clothes you feel comfortable moving around in
- It's all about the subtle stuff: your favorite hat, a pretty ring, a nice watch
- A 'meaningful' outfit (i.e. the dress you were wearing the night you got engaged, or the shirt you had on the night you met)
- Your 'dressed-to-impress' outfit like a gown or suit, if that's the vibe you're going for!
- Only bold, bright, primary colors
- Neon items
- Eye-catching materials: sequin, leather, anything overly shiny
- Strong, bold patterns (especially if they are clashing with your partner's outfit)
- Uncomfortable clothes that you can't move around in
- Clothes that you feel very self-conscious in
- Clothes that have never seen the outside of your wardrobe

Have a look at these gorgeous couples 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 off-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 clothes you don't mind getting wet or sitting on the floor with (especially if we're shooting at a beach). Another great example of the perfect colors/fabrics to wear! When in doubt, just go with your favorite wardrobe staples - you cannot go wrong.

Allegra and Kilian revised the outfits they were wearing when Kilian proposed. Simple and efficient!

I wanted to include one example of patterns worn right. I love patterns 'in real life', but they can sometimes look overwhelming in photos. So if you're going to wear an outfit with a strong pattern, I'd recommend asking your partner to wear something a little more simple, exactly like these two did! Saisha is literally beaming in this dress which fits her like a glove and is perfect for her skin tone, whilst Anthony is looking great in a smart casual neutral outfit.

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 and feel self-conscious about people watching you have your photo taken). That will also give your photos a real authentic feel.
  • A place that holds special memories for you. It could be the place where you had your first date, where one of you proposed, where you first met, etc.
  • A location with a lot of diversity and beautiful light! Feel free to get in touch and ask for a list of recommendations for my favorite locations to shoot at.

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 recommendations on a more quiet and little frequented spot.

Bells Rapids lookout, a popular location for family and couple shoots alike. We only ran into one other group of people throughout the whole duration of our shoot!

Allegra and Kilian revisiting the spot where Kilian proposed just a couple of weeks earlier
Julie and Kerry visited Perth from Sydney a few months after getting engaged. To commemorate the occasion, they invited me into their Como the Treasury hotel room to document a lazy morning drinking cappuccinos in bed and hanging out in their robes.

Tip #4 - Bring your pet!

This one might actually my personal 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.

Kaitlyn, Joel and Coco the border collie posing for a cute family snap at Bells Rapid Lookout

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 be a specific pose or moment you want to be captured, or if you've organised 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!

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 (whilst a professional third wheel is taking your photo). The sound of the shutter might be a bit intimidating at first, and you might feel awkward for the first 5-10 minutes, but you will start phasing it 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!

Engagement photos of Saisha and Anthony in Trigg Bushland Reserve, Perth, Western Australia.
Couple holding hands and having a laugh. 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!

Want to check out gallery examples of couples shoot? Head to this page

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