There is nothing more precious than love. Each couple experience is different and unique, they have their own way showing shades of emotions. Moreover, every couple feels that this is the pinnacle of their lifetime. That’s what Love Story photoshoot tells you about. Reflect this individuality in your photos, immerse yourself in the lives of the couple and you will get an excellent portfolio and another happy customer.
Unlike photoshoot outdoors, Love Story in studio doesn’t rely heavily on the plot. Your main goal is to catch the sincere feelings of lovers and to make them feel as though they were left alone with each other. This intimate space of the studio will help make your couple feel safe and they won’t be shy revealing their feelings in front of your lens. At first, the couple will joke and laugh, then they’ll feel a bit shy, but your continuous support will gently push them towards each other. And finally, at some point, between their touches and looks, there will be so much love that you will only have to hide and shoot, shoot, shoot.
Unlike many outdoor locations, you don’t have to worry about weather conditions or any bystanders in a photo studio. But photographer needs certain psychological skills to work in studio successfully. Think about it, you will need to communicate a lot with the couple before and during the shooting, to help them relax and to be themselves, so that they completely forget that they are on the photoshoot. Here are a few tips about how to shoot Love Stories in the studio – the place where you can make magic happen!
Start with a meeting, I usually choose a cafe near city centre, where couples usually come by themselves, it will set a friendly mood for the conversation. If there is no opportunity to meet with the couple in person, be sure to call. Don’t leave it all to texting because you can’t sense emotions in messengers and that is an important thing to do. You will need to understand what exactly lovers want, what kind of photoshoot it is (a gift for the anniversary, just for fun, in honor of the engagement or it even might be a proposal).
This knowledge will help you understand how to apply your style. For example, if this photo shoot is a gift, then you can ask the one who ordered the photo shoot to prepare a pleasant surprise. When there is a gift inside a gift, it is a good recipe to capture a fountain of positive emotions.
Be sure to find out what clothes the couple would like to be photographed in. You need to explain that it is important to have a combination in style between them and similar color scheme of clothes. You don’t want to photograph a man dressed in denim hugging a woman in long evening dress.
Pick the Studio
Next up, pick up the studio. I prefer to shoot a Love Story with natural light, because studio professional flashes kill the intimacy of the process, instead the couple would feel like this is the fashion magazine photo shoot. Use flashes when it is absolutely necessary! I tend to choose a studio with large windows, because you get more natural light, that’s obvious. Also, I try to rent a studio either for the time in the morning when the light is the softest or a bit later, depending on the season.
Usually, I offer my clients several studios to choose the one they like best, it has to fit their style (and color!) of clothes too. Be sure to tell them to take spare shoes, it is the usual requirement when renting a studio.
Ask the couple to arrive 10-15 minutes before the start. Use this time to establish eye contact with them, get to know them, set the tone for your photo shoot, if there is some tension, you have to deal with it ASAP. Usually, it’s more difficult to take pictures of men: they are not as open as women and prefer not like to show their emotions. I tackle this problem by explaining that this is not fashion photoshoot. On the contrary, you’ll create a comfortable environment where the couple does not have to engage in continuous posing, and that your main goal is to show their true feelings. Be sure to clarify the nature of their relationship.
Some couples are more romantic, some like to laugh and fool around. Based on this, you’ll be able to plan your actions. I tend to make a small list of things that I’d like to do on a photoshoot. It doesn’t matter if you remember it all or not, but just doing it makes you more prepared than you might think. I always ask myself, should I be like an observer, peeking over objects, while couple gets cozy and does something romantic or should I be more active, always challenging a couple to do something fun? A nice balance of these two things is a key to an awesome experience for the couple!
When you’re inside the studio, mentally divide the space into several locations where you will take pictures. Start where you think it will be the best place for a couple to relax. I know I’ve said many times about the emotional state, but this is so important so I won’t mind repeating myself.
The first pictures are very important for how you set the tone of the shoot. At first, tell the couple that they don’t need to pose and just do something simple, for example, ask them to sit somewhere and just start talking, look at each other, joke or say something nice. Be positive! Usually I say that if I need to change something for them to look good in pictures, I will intervene myself and they don’t have to worry about it.
When you start to feel that the couple somewhat forgot that they are on photoshoot, it is worth going into observer-reporter mode. This mode requires total concentration because emotions that are photogenic faint fast (gentle look, smiles, kiss on the nose). I might repeat myself again, but it is important that the lovers feel as if they are alone with each other, and your task is to catch sincere moments of couple’s life.
A Love Story in the studio is characterized by close-up portraits. These are more sensual, intimate. They are personal. At the same time, you need to focus quickly.
That’s why I use Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm VR lens, it’s up to all these tasks. I also take with me the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm, which is necessary to get a nice bokeh at 135 to 200mm. Both of these lenses, in addition to their quick focus have wide aperture, that is very important for shooting when there is not enough natural light. And in combination with my Nikon D800 and Nikon D700 cameras, where I can set high ISO and get pictures without high amounts of noise. From the new line of cameras, I advise Nikon D780 or D850. The first is the middle-end camera, the second is the high-end, but both deliver great results for professionals.
Additional Tips and Final Thoughts
If you see that during the shoot someone from the pair is still tense and cannot relax, turn your attention to someone who enjoys posing. It’s usually girls. Give man a rest, make some female portraits, let him watch the shooting from the sidelines. Then bring him back into the process, offering some action, such as raising his loved one in his arms or hugging her tightly. Don’t forget to talk to the couple all this time in order to stay positive. To make your series of pictures more interesting, take close-up pictures of details like hands, touching, jewelry etc. This will emphasize the mood and atmosphere of the photoshoot.
Here are some ideas for Love Story photoshoot. I advise to find a way to capture love in the eyes, every couple should have this kind of picture. Ask if the couple have favorite pets and if they can take it along, every pet can make a photoshoot a really fun experience. Maybe it is a good idea to draw an invitation to the wedding on a blackboard and capture the process of them writing it. The main thing is to know your couple, use their character and their feelings to write their story, but with your style.
If you have a photoshoot that is related to some event like Christmas, wedding anniversary, engagement, then it is necessary to have presents in your pictures, it’s a symbol after all. Metaphor is a very powerful tool, use it wisely! If it is an engagement, take the emphasis on the ring, you can make a close-up picture where a young man puts the ring on her finger. To capture this moment from different points of view, I ask the couple to redo this moment again. Usually, when I ask to do this again, I’m met with a ton of positive emotions!
Make close-up portraits, shoot using reflections in the mirror and other reflective surfaces, climb on a ladder and take pictures from high point of view, lie down on the floor and shoot from below. Experiment, make your imagination run wild! If the pair is a bit conservative, then classic portraits will please them greatly.
For me personally, a Love Story photoshoot in studio is an ode to love. And showing this deep bond between two people is what I live for.