Photographing couples in love ~ pictures, ideas and inspiration

Oct 8, 2013 | Continuous Lighting, Location, Wedding | 3 comments

Capturing love

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Shooting couples is like portraiture with an extra dynamic – relationship. Having been trained in television I’ve seen many a director at work cajoling the very essence of a plot out of the actors. Passion to pain all come easily into shot with the right cast and a great director. When I’m shooting pre wedding photographs or weddings themselves the love is not an emotion to be conjured from deep within, it is there right under the surface. It is my job to capture it at it’s most acute and in as natural a way as I can. Let me share with you some of my secrets and techniques…

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Because the couples I shoot are in love there is no acting to be done. It is real heartfelt emotion and that comes fairly easily. Do the shots still need directing? Yes absolutely. The process is quite straightforward. I look after the lighting, exposure, backgrounds and the location before I start to direct the action. This process is hands on and it needs to be. The results may look reportage at times but they are all directed. By the way, the backgrounds are nearly always irrelevant. You can shoot pictures like this anywhere.

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I shoot close ups to capture love. I take control by bringing the couple together and creating a pose. I speak to them in hushed tones often saying seemingly ridiculous things like “Feel the love” and “Enjoy the moment”. This process is only made possible by having established a good rapport and trust.

Pictures like these have a magical quality because the couple are in an intimately close proximity and they share each others personal space. The couple exude tenderness and love often without even making eye contact with each other.

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There is absolutely no eye contact with the camera in loving close ups like this. It’s all about the couple and not about the photographer.

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Another thing most of these pictures have in common is my subjects heads are tipped towards each other. I use this head position as a visual clue to indicate approval and acceptance. I then direct an expression to illustrate anything from contentment, to amorous intent. That’s the fun bit – putting a narrative into a picture.

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This level of direction and intervention is not for every photographer but if you have a go you might just love the results as much as I expect your subjects will.

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Next time you head out to photograph a couple who are in love think about shooting a few big close ups too. It may well take your set of images to another level. Think about shooting all your frames horizontal or vertical. A continuity of style is a great attribute to have in your work.

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It’s all about the photograph, It’s not about the camera, the post processing or anything else. Stay inspired!

For more information and to see me in action directing my couples download and view my Photographing Couples HD video. It is jam packed with ideas, techniques and inspiration. You can watch the trailer for free here Just head on in to the store and find the Photographing Couples video.

Please feel free to comment below.

3 Comments

  1. Tomas Haran

    These are fantastic and are filled with emotion. I know it doesn’t matter but did you use the 35mm for these? Superb images.

    Reply
  2. Magnus

    When you say “heads are tipped towards each other” – how do you mean then? and how do you place the bodies for it looking natural?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Magnus,

      If you look at the pictures you can see the heads are tipped or leaning towards each other. The bodies tend to look after themselves.

      This is what I have learned so far about posing. Posing anyone is a process that starts with rapport. The most important 20 minutes of my couples shoot is spent in the coffee shop before we start taking pictures. Empathy, and laughter builds trust and understanding. These are the tools that I use to pose. Knowing what needs to change to make a picture work is often the key rather than knowing how to pose someone. I start with the mechanical process of bringing the couple together in a place so the light is coming from the right direction and I stand back to observe. I then direct the mood and energy in a way similar to a film director. I love the fact that every shoot is different even though so many parameters are the same. Being a photographer is exciting.

      Damien.

      Reply

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