Place a hand here, tilt a head there… with just a few simply instructions you can create a beautiful photo. Right?
Okay, sure, maybe the photo will be technically perfect; the right composition, the right colour balance, the perfect use of the rule of thirds… but is the photo really good? Do the couple look like they’re enjoying themselves? Do they even look like they can tolerate each other?
The secret to amazing engagement, as well as wedding-day, photos is the connection between the couple.
Sure you can kiss and hug; those make for sweet photos… but intimacy is so much more than that! It’s arms wrapped around one another – every which way possible, it’s bodies held tightly together, it’s a hand against a face during a kiss, it’s a kiss on whatever part of the body you can read be it forehead, cheek, nose or shoulder. Intimacy is an experience of closeness. Intimacy and learning to be photogenic are not the same thing, either. One is about posing while the other is based heavily on emotions.
I love capturing stories as naturally as possible. Chances are, the less I have to direct during an engagement or wedding shoot, the more I’m going to like the photos. The best photos are the most intimate photos; the photos where the pose or composition may not be “technically” correct, but where you feel like you can understand the bond the two individuals in that pose have with one another. I’m fortunate in the fact that the vast majority of my clients are able to relax and let the intimate show in their photos. Ashley and Rob, for example, totally took the gold for intimacy and closeness in their beautiful Toronto Island engagement photos. Just take a peek and you’ll start to really understand how intimacy can add a whole other level to a photograph.
The thing with intimacy; however, is that it cannot be artificially created unless both parties are award winning actors and are giving an Oscar worthy performance. If a couple is having a difficult time getting that connection with each other, the photographer can continue directing them into “technically” correct poses – but there will be no emotion in the story that image is telling.
Some couples say that they don’t like public displays of affection and that’s okay; you don’t need to be smoochin’ in all your photos. You should; however, be okay with the idea of holding hands, wrapping arms around one another, resting heads on shoulders and… enjoying the fact that you’re doing all of that! If you still feel like you’re not an intimate couple and are worried that you’ll have a hard time with your engagement or wedding day photos, consider a few helpful tips:
- Go for a brunch together that morning or better yet, surprise her with breakfast in bed! This gets the day off to a romantic start.
- Write a love letter you plan on giving her early on in the photo session. This super-emotional act may make you feel vulnerable, but it will make your partner feel awesome.
- Choose the right location for engagement photos (or wedding photos for that matter). If you’re not big on public affection, don’t choose an openly public place (like downtown Yorkville, for example) for your photos. If you’re looking for privacy, consider a farmers field or a beach in the morning light (no one goes to the beach in the morning!). If you aren’t comfortable with your location, you won’t be comfortable in your photos.
- Make eye contact. This is a simple one – look your partner in the eyes. It helps tremendously.
- Surprise! Arrange for a little surprise during your photo session; whether you arrange for a
- Recreate the first date. Go for a walk down memory lane, the meaningful location can help bring our smiles, grins and even a few extra cuddles
Whether you’re a naturally intimate as a couple of need a little coaxing, intimacy is the secret to amazing photos!