While visiting Italy, we really wanted to take a local couple out on location for a shoot. We were able to connect with an Italian model who convinced her boyfriend to come along. Little did we know, we were in for the full Italian experience—they brought along their entire families! We had a great time with everyone. Not only were they the coolest couple, but we were able (with their family’s help!) to find a beautiful location off the beaten path in Polignano a Mare, a beautiful cliffside city overlooking the Adriatic Sea. But it wasn’t until after the shoot wrapped up that the couple told us something surprising—they were actually engaged! The two were just beaming with happiness and we had just (unknowingly) shot their engagement session! It makes us so happy to see couples who are just absolutely in love. This is what draws us to weddings—the unbridled happiness of those who are just beginning their new lives together. Real emotion is incredibly beautiful. And capturing real emotion in a setting that carries meaning for a couple, is sublime. We feel very honored to be able to capture these special moments.
Here are some of our favorite tips for drawing real emotion from our clients:
It’s all about getting your couple comfortable, to get them to a place where they’re ignoring you and interacting naturally. One way we like to do this (we learned this trick from Jose Villa, actually) is to ask our couple to hold hands, jump and kiss. Now, 99% of our couples cannot successfully jump and kiss mid-air. But this isn’t actually the point. This jump/kiss action really just takes their minds off us (their photographers, who are aiming lenses at them) and focused on a goal instead. Usually what happens, is the couple will bump faces in air, land, turn their heads and laugh. And right then, we’ve caught them in natural joy.
Another method we like to use, is to intentionally create awkwardness. Yes, you read that right. Oftentimes, we’ll simply announce to our couples, “And now, we are going to use our tactic called, ‘Awkwardness.’” More often than not, simply announcing this silliness gets them laughing and relaxed.
Location can also go a long way in helping your clients feel relaxed. While we love going to jaw-dropping locations with our clients and sharing the views and experiences with them, we always encourage our clients to first choose a location that holds meaning for them. A familiar setting naturally helps your clients feel more relaxed and display real emotion. Remember—making sure your clients feel happy during a shoot is more important than having a stunning backdrop. Images “lacking” gorgeous scenery can still turn out just as beautiful, because of your clients’ stunning, natural emotions. The personal is beautiful.