A Guide To Enjoying Your Couple Session

So you booked your session with your photographer and have no idea how things are going to go down.  Where to go, what to wear, and what to expect.  Since most of us are not professional models, it can be pretty nerve-wracking leading up to the shoot.  Worry not; this is much easier than you think.  As long as you focus on what’s really important you will end up having a great time, and get some sweet photographs of your partner and yourself.  I thought it'd be useful to share some of the nitty gritty of what I think couple sessions are all about.  Here are 5 things you can do to enjoy your couple session: 

1. pretty LOCATION IS NOT everything:

Yes, that is exactly right.  A beautiful location can't make the connection between you and your partner stronger.  A great moment between you guys beats any other factor in a portrait.  It is the core and foundation of a strong photograph.  And light.  The most beautiful location can easily look very bland in poor light. On the other hand, a boring location in beautiful light can be the perfect spot to shoot. 

Choosing a location for your couple session is a great opportunity to add another layer that talks to your partnership story.  It can be as simple as the place he proposed, your first date spot, or your family farm.  All places that mean so much to you and will always make you feel warm inside just thinking about them.

Leora & David shopping for pineapples at the local grocery store

Leora & David shopping for pineapples at the local grocery store

Adrian proposed to Jackie at the airport on the night she came back from her trip

Adrian proposed to Jackie at the airport on the night she came back from her trip

Alyssa & Rory's couple session was shot in and around my studio in Toronto

Alyssa & Rory's couple session was shot in and around my studio in Toronto

2. don't worry about posing:

95% of the couples I work with don’t like to be photographed.  That makes perfect sense as my documentary approach to wedding photography attracts specific type of couples with that characteristic in common.

That’s why I hate the word POSE.  It always makes people feel like they will end up forced into taking a photo that will make them look cheesy.  So instead, I like to use the word DIRECT.  Giving you general guidelines of what to do makes a lot more sense to me.  It allows you to take it from there and be with your partner the way you are used to, and still be in the moment. 

"Just hold each other close"

"Just hold each other close"

Not bluffing here

Not bluffing here

Stefanie and Kyle in Toronto Centre Island

Stefanie and Kyle in Toronto Centre Island

3. Do something together:

There are many ways to make the couple session interesting and one of them is choosing an activity you can do together!  It can be playing Hockey, grabbing ice cream, playing board games, watching movies, running marathons (okay maybe not that one).  But you get the point!  This will add yet another personal layer to the shoot and make it much more versatile, interesting and most importantly – FUN!  You get into whatever it is you’re doing and forget all about me.  In between we can obviously squeeze in some romantic portraits if you’d like but if you are absolutely terrified of the camera this is actually a great solution to that! 

You should know that Jennifer suggested this, and right after this I was up there rolling down the hill as well

You should know that Jennifer suggested this, and right after this I was up there rolling down the hill as well

Emanuel singing to Jill

Emanuel singing to Jill

Alana's wicked idea for the shoot

Alana's wicked idea for the shoot

Em & Chris fighting for the rebound  

Em & Chris fighting for the rebound  

This musical duo attracted some new fans that day

This musical duo attracted some new fans that day

4. BE YOURSELF:

Feeling comfortable in front of a stranger’s camera is something that definitely takes some time to get used to.  I totally get that.  In fact, I don’t particularly like to be photographed so I can truly relate to how you may feel about the whole thing.

The best tip I can give you that will help you overcome these funny feeling is to direct your full attention to your partner.  Just like any other day, he/she is there for you and will help you feel comfortable. The reason we are doing this whole thing is because someone decided they want to spend the rest of their lives with you.  It means that you are pretty freaking great!  So keep that in mind!  

So don’t worry too much about looking perfect.  Our imperfections make us who we are.

I asked Noah to look away while Alison was allowed to do whatever she felt like

I asked Noah to look away while Alison was allowed to do whatever she felt like

Faye posing for John

Faye posing for John

5. Complement each other and the shooting location:

Lastly, make sure you compliment each other and the location we shoot in (outfit wise).   For example, if we decided to go on a hike or walk your dog on the trail close to your house, it’s probably a good idea to not show up in heels/ dress shows.  Try to match your attire to the nature of the location and to your partner’s.  Doing that will translate into a much more cohesive shoot and more often than not mean that you’ll be way more comfortable in the environment we chose to work in.  Vise versa, if we decided to shoot in a fancy restaurant, make sure you leave your khakis at home.

Jessica & Candy in the Annex 

Jessica & Candy in the Annex 

Leora & David's outfits for their couple shoot in the Annex

Leora & David's outfits for their couple shoot in the Annex

Let's go blue Jays

Let's go blue Jays

I hope these tips were useful and can help ease up the nervousness leading up to your couple shoot.  Remember, these shoots are all about connection.  Your connection to your partner, and as a couple your connection to the photographer.  It is the best practice run for the wedding day and is stress free.  No schedule, no pressure, nothing. 

Shlomi Amiga