These tips are perfect for an engagement or anniversary photoshoot and you can apply the same methods to wedding portraits, too.
Photographer Lily Sawyer tells us about her way of capturing lovely portraits of couples, in this article over at Digital Photography School.
This may seem opposite to the idea of candid shots and natural-looking photos, but let me tell you a secret. After having photographed numerous engagement sessions in eight years, I can tell you that natural shots are often posed. That’s right they are. Your job is to make the final image look natural, and to do whatever it takes to make that look happen.
Couples don’t know where to place their hands, where to put their weight and how to stand, what to do with their arms, where to look, what expressions to have on their faces, etc. Basically, compositions that look good and natural in front if the camera, even if that were to be a photo where they aren’t looking at the camera, and expressions that you elicit and draw out of them.
When I direct couples I give them 3 rules:
1. Connection – There always has to be a connection between them, be that a physical one where parts of their bodies are touching, or a non physical one such as gazing at each other, laughing at a shared joke, or thinking of a shared memory. Connections matter and show. The authenticity of your image rests on the depth and strength of the connection between the subjects.
2. Angles – Try to pose them at angles where you always see a bit of their faces instead of the back of their heads, unless your intention is to capture them from behind. Avoid straight lines, unless that again is your intention. I generally ask them to stand in a V position, at an angle instead of square on, with their weight on one leg so everything isn’t too even, or with a little body twist (for women) for some shape. Get men to not put their full hands in their pockets, just the thumbs instead, otherwise they look like cut off limbs up to their wrists.
Look for triangular and irregular compositions rather than straight and square. This adds interesting lines and dynamic to your images compared to a very flat and static look.
3. Laugh instead of talk – Two things to always avoid: taking photos mid-talk and mid-eat. Instead of talking to each other, ask them to laugh at each other’s silliness, and at how awkward they are feeling. That usually gets them laughing naturally. Getting them to think of special memories always puts a smile on their faces. This is not to say all the photos you take must be smiling ones, but this tip works every time. Laughter makes them warm up and shake off their inhibitions. Always a good trick!
Source: Digital Photography School