Professional wedding and portrait artist Erica Kay explains her process in this article over at Improve Photography.
Creating a good portrait of a couple starts way before you ever get to your shooting location. It takes a lot of planning and getting to know the people you’re going to be working with, to be able to capture authentic images. Have you worked with couples before? Please share your best tips in the comments below.
GET TO KNOW THEM
My very first interaction with a couple (beyond emails, of course), is during their potential client meeting. This is when we meet post-inquiry to discuss their wedding, their photography options, and to get to know each other a bit. During this meeting, I ask them about how they met, how they got engaged, and what they envision for their photos. All the while, I’m secretly observing them and their interactions with each other. Post-meeting, I make notes in their email about their answers and interactions so that if they book, I can transfer my observations to their client file. This allows me to have a sense of what they may be looking for in their engagement photos and their intimates at their wedding.
CAPTURE THE RELATIONSHIP
If you plan for locations or activities that are important to the couple, you have already nailed the first step to capturing the relationship. My unscientific and unofficial research shows that when you get a couple into a comfortable and familiar environment, they are a million times more likely to relax, enjoy themselves, and show me who they really are.
AVOID TRADITIONAL “SMILE AT THE CAMERA!” PHOTOS
Of course, you need to take one or two to appease the parents and grandparents, but does anything about that scream natural and authentic to you?! If your goal is to achieve more natural and authentic interactions while photographing couples, then you’ll want to avoid having your couples smile at the camera.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD
Whether they’re facing each other or are in the “spoon” position, getting cuddly is so important. Have them wrap their arms around each other and pull each other in close. If they’re facing each other, they can cuddle up and rest their foreheads together or have the shorter of the two rest their head on the other’s chest or shoulder. If one of them is facing away, have them cuddle up close and entangle their arms while the person in the back kisses the temple area of the person in front.
This one is SO good for pulling out emotions and natural interactions. As the couple is cuddling, ask one to whisper something into the other’s ear. This is perfect because since it’s a whisper and they know no one can hear, they’re going to whisper something from the heart. Whether that’s a declaration of love resulting in a sweet facial expression or a dirty joke ensuing in laughter, you’re guaranteed to get some great emotion.
The Lap Sit
Here is another perfect position for both passionate and silly couples alike. Have one sit on the other’s lap (generally the female sitting on the male), while also encouraging the cuddling, looking at each other, etc. This physical closeness will result again result in a natural interaction, be it a passionate embrace and kiss or a tickle fight.
Easy peasy. Have the couple walk toward the camera holding hands and looking at each other. Encourage conversation and natural interaction, which sometimes means the woman will put her other hand up on his arm as they’re walking or something equally as sweet. You can also have them turn around and walk away from the camera as well, giving a different look to what is virtually the same “pose.”
Source: Improve Photography