Couples shoot style guide
Let's get those finer details planned to get the most from your photoshoot!
In this guide you'll find my recommendations of how to dress for your shoot, to help make the session a little more seamless so you can just focus on each other, embrace this time together and make some fun memories! Clothing choices can increase spontaneity on the day, or take some of it away - If you are worrying about wardrobe malfunctions it's unlikely you'll look or feel relaxed, the aim is to achieve the highest level of both comfort and spontaneity so you have a great experience on your shoot.
First and foremost I want you to wear something you feel confident in. If it's important to you, and your clothing choices don't align with my suggestions then that is fine too. These are just guidelines and at the end of the day I want you to go with what you feel great in. If after having a look over this guide, you're still unsure, pop me through photographs of your options and I'll help you decide. Enjoy the guide and see you on our shoot!
If you can't find anything you love in your own wardrobe, Lend Me The Dress offers an amazing range of beautiful garments you can hire in a variety of sizes and colours. Use the discount code 'photographer20' for 20% off. We can use these at the beach, but need to keep them out of the sand and water.
The environment: When shooting in an outdoors location you'll be moving around, walking and sitting etc. You don’t want to be restricted with your clothing so wear an outfit that allows for movement. Maxi/midi dresses and skirts are a great option!
The weather: Blue lips don't look good on anybody, so look ahead at the weather forecast, factor in the temperature, and bring layers just in case this changes.
The beach: The beach is often super windy so an extra layer can be handy to keep the goosebumps at bay. A flowing skirt or dress in a windswept beach will create movement in your images which creates interest and drama compared to a tight fitted dress in the same environment. You’ll likely get a little wet and sandy so bring a change of clothes for the way home. If you’re having a beach shoot getting in the water is a great option, it can be intimate or fun or both, and gives you a different look to your images. Check out a beach shoot where my couple got in the water here.
Rescheduling: While you'll see plenty of golden light throughout my portfolio - if you take a closer look - you'll also see plenty of moody and stormy skies too. I absolutely LOVE to work in both scenarios and both will provide beautiful scenes. If however you have your heart set on a particular look - please let me know as it may be worth rescheduling. I limit my workload to have room for rescheduling so I'm happy to be flexible for you to ensure you will make the most out of this investment.
Hair and makeup
When it comes to professional hair and makeup for couples photos, my vote will always be a resounding YES! I truly believe you will look beautiful either way, but having that little bit of extra can definitely add to your confidence level on the day. Once you feel great, it’s easier to relax and enjoy being in front of that camera with your partner. If this is an engagement shoot, use this opportunity to do your hair and makeup trial before your Wedding day. This is a great time to see how your hair and makeup will photograph in different lighting conditions, with time to make tweaks for the wedding if necessary. Below is a list of the gals I recommend, they are experts at creating beautiful natural makeup, and I know they will look after you. Each will have different prices and availability so please contact them to organize along side your session. I suggest also finding out their postponement policy in case we need to postpone your session due to wet weather. A friendly reminder, if your cut and colour needs doing or you don't love your brows, get them done. If these things are important to you they will make difference to whether you love your images or not so get those appointments scheduled in=)
Things to avoid
FOR THE LADIES
FOR THE GUYS
Keep it casual and comfortable, most guys don't wear dress shirts, especially in their downtime, so sometimes this has them feeling over dressed. Linen, loose cottons on collared shirts, breathable fabrics, or a T-shirt with an open shirt over the top will help look less business-y.
Empty those pockets of phones and keys!
The colours you choose to wear will change the whole look and feel of your photos, and really depends on the story you want to tell. I love to work with warm, earthy and neutral tones. Think olive, rust, beige, dusty pink. However, these are your images, so if your favourite top is bright blue, wear that! For family portraits and larger groups, my advice is to colour coordinate tones but not to all wear the exact same colour. A really bright red does not tend to photograph well. Neither does black as all the details get lost in the shadows. Dark gray, dark wash jeans, and dark olive are great substitutions for black. On the opposite end, wearing bright white can cast bright spots onto faces in certain light, or look blue rather than white. Off-white and cream are great, though, and also white lace is fine because it has so much texture.
Below are a few examples of colour combinations from some of my shoots in a variety of locations. I hope these inspire you!
For more inspiration
Odds are, you already have a vision in mind about how you want to present yourself in these photos. But sometimes, that vision can be hard to describe when it’s not sitting right there in front of you. For more outfit inspiration Pinterest is where it's at. I've curated a bunch of helpful resources like the ones you see here, so take a look at my boards below, and feel free to re-pin to your own board!
Coordinating: Choosing one outfit is hard enough right?! My strategy is to lay it all out for the two of you, so you can see how the colours and textures work together. I pull out all the possible options I like from our wardrobe and then narrow it down by pairing things up or seeing where the gaps are. I take photos as I go and I can flick through these to compare which option looks better. Once I have the final options I can clearly see any bits and pieces that might be missing. The Bennetts did this for their extended family shoot, example below! Another great way to match tones is to choose a favourite piece of clothing, or the one piece you know for sure one of you would like to wear, and build the other's clothing selection around that. If your favourite dress or top has a print or multiple colours, use that as your colour palette and build from there.
Maternity clothing can be difficult, I know I always found it tricky to find the perfect outfit when I was pregnant! The following advice really is dependant on body shape, how far you are along, and how you are carrying, but as a guide here's what I recommend.
If you are comfortable with a form-fitting garment, this is ideal as with baggy clothing as it is easy to lose the baby bump shape and it means you have to constantly hold your belly if you want to show the curve. This can look a little unnatural and limits movement and posing options.
In the images above you can see the black outfit I was in blended into the green environment and my baby bump got a little lost. With the black dress and the shape of it you can't really tell I'm pregnant from the front! Having a light or white option to change into can be great if you are photographing in a darker environment.
If you'd like to do some shots with the bump out I'm all for it! Depending on how much skin you want to show, Kimono, wrap dresses, button dresses or shirts are all great options for this type of shot too.
What to bring checklist
Any personal appearance touchup items you might want, including things like lipstick or a hairbrush.
For TOUCH UPS
Any outfit changes, plus a bag to throw wallet and keys & phone into that keeps them out of your pockets!
If you are photographing near a body of water like the beach or a river or lake pack a towel and wipes. I always bring a change of clothes, even if it's just for the way home.
For SHOOTING NEAR Water
What to expect
COUPLE & ENGAGEMENT SHOOTS
Here's what you can expect on your couple shoot. In the beginning, I'll chat to get to know you a bit better and help you get comfortable. At the same time I'll be scouting for the best light and may not shoot a single image for the first 5-10 minutes. I'll usually start with poses that involve movement (such a walking) etc. I'll always try to get one shot with both of you looking at the camera and this is usually done at the beginning of the shoot. The rest of our time together will be more casual and maybe semi-posed, but letting you focus more on each other than the camera. If you already know you're not super comfortable in front of a camera just let me know before our shoot, I promise you'll forget all that before our time together is done. It can also help to go through some of my work in advance so you both know what to expect and can hopefully start to feel at ease before we meet, knowing we're going to capture some awesome memories that really show who you are as a couple.
Be aware that sometimes we may not need the full timeframe of the shoot, I work quickly and can capture a lot in a small amount of time. On occasion, we may need to photograph for slightly longer. It's all about capturing your connection through natural interactions and unposed moments, I just want you to relax and enjoy your session!
WHAT TO EXPECT
When it's just the two of you I approach this more like a regular couple or engagement shoot. We'll use movement, walking, and non-cheesy poses. A lot of women are self-conscious about their pregnant figure, and I'm always conscious to pose I'll pose in a flattering way. If there is anything specific you are worried about please let me know in advance. I have found that Dads to-be sometimes feel a bit apprehensive about maternity shoots, if it helps show them some of my work to put their mind at ease!
What do you want to do with your images?
When you start planning what to wear and what type of location to have your photographs taken at, take into consideration your home and how you want to display your images. Do you want to put big frames on the wall or have a beautiful album sitting on the coffee table?
If you want a beautiful set of frames to put above your couch or in your entry way, think about what colour the decor in your home is. Not everyone is in their forever home, but if you are this is something to consider. There might be certain colours that will compliment your decor, or you may not want to have certain colours on the walls as they might look out of place. I'm happy to chat over this if you aren't sure!
A note on engagement shoots
An engagement shoot is the perfect opportunity to get some practice in front of the camera before your wedding day, as well as learn some posing tips and tricks that will come in handy on your day. The photos from this session are great to use for save the dates, invitations or in a Wedding Guest book ( you can check one out here). Check out three great reasons why I would always recommend you book an engagement shoot here.