Everything You Need to Know about Your Couples Photo Shoot
Bruh. I’m telling you to buckle up, because I’m dishing everything you need to know about your couples photo shoot. And I mean everything. We’ll cover general couples photo shoot tips, what to wear, what to bring, what to expect, and cover some additional tips to make it meaningful and helpful. I also add to this mega guide all the time, so check back before your session and read through it once more to double check ideas. Now… let’s get this going!!
10 General Tips for your Couples Photo Shoot
TIP #1: Choose your outfit from within your own closet. This is more sustainable and way more comfy.
TIP #2: Stick to neutral colors + earth tones. Every color has a neutral! This is also a good time to mention to avoid super loud or distracting patterns.
The reason we encourage people to stick to neutral colors is not for basic aesthetics– It’s because it keeps the sunlight from reflecting the colors back onto your skin, causing a discoloration. On a really bright day, red will reflect onto your skin, causing your photographs to have a pink tinge and no true whites.
TIP #3: Lastly, think layers. If you want to spice up an outfit or even make it look like
you have more than one or two outfits, bring along jackets or your favorite cardigans and we can throw it on for some of the photos! It’ll give you even more images to choose from and can bring a lot of interesting texture to your photos.
TIP #4: Put together a mood board (and share it with us!) to start brainstorming color pallets and styles that you like!
TIP #5: Avoid colors that will blend in with your surroundings too much. For example, if you’re getting married in a lush forrest, probably don’t wear green.
TIP #6: Think about colors and styles that are timeless and that you LOVE to wear.
TIP #7: If you’re shooting outdoors, you can still dress TF up! You can TOTALLY wear clothes similar to what you’d wear for your wedding. A gorgeous alt wedding dress that’s your favorite color, nice pants paired with a well-tailored vest and dress shirt. If you wanna go full on dressed to the 9’s, we’re here for it.
TIP #8: Bring comfy shoes that you can change into.
TIP#9: Bring a few different outfits if you’re unsure of what you want, and we’ll give second and third opinions.
TIP #10: Consider the vibe you want! If you’re wanting a boho vibe, that clothing style will look a lot different from a modern alt vibe.
Now onto, specifics!!
Couples Session Outfit Ideas
This is the first question on everyone’s mind: “WHAT ARE WE GONNA WEAR?!”
We’ve got good news. It ain’t as hard as you think to choose. :). You want your outfits to reflect who you really are, so we’ll teach you how to bring out the best from your wardrobe or spy a new piece to add to your collection for your shoot.
To start, you need to decide an overall vibe for your session. Some couples want to go formal, others more casual, and others very specific to a look they’re trying to create. We have seen all done beautifully, but let’s look at the perks of each.
Perks of formal outfits:
- often more timeless as formal styles stay trending longer
- most likely to be printed and framed by yourselves or family members
- makes your session feel more “special” during
A lot of couples choose formal outfits for sessions like engagement sessions, maternity shoots, or when they’re feeling the need to dress up. Formal outfits bring a unique touch to outdoor sessions particularly in rugged areas like a jagged coastline or mountains. Your photos will have a special contrast to them that will naturally make others ooo and ah!!
What do we mean by formal?
A formal outfit for your couples session may involve a free-flowing dress, slacks & a unique shirt, or something you’d wear to a hopping spot in downtown on a weekend. We love couples session with formal looks as it really contributes to how unique photo couples are!
Here are some of our favorite places to purchase formal outfits from:
Perks of informal outfits:
- allow more movement during your session
- you can focus on having fun during your session instead of keeping your look clean
- more comfortable allowing your most flattering selves to be present in your photos
We always recommend couples have an informal outfit so we can get those dreamy, in love, 100% connected photos. Informal outfits give you more confidence (generally) and will translate into wayyyyy better photos! If you do a formal look, be sure to bring along one informal outfit.
These also tend to fit better into the natural landscape. You will look well placed and make the photos seem “comfy and cozy” no matter the season.
Some places that will have amazing informal outfits are:
Now that you have an idea of formal and informal, here’s how to make colors work!
Choosing colors for your couples photo shoot is no small task, but these do’s and don’t’s should help!!
First you’ll want to consider your setting or landscape. If your session is in your living room with blue walls, you won’t want to choose the same shade of blue for your color scheme. Choose a color that will pop off the blue or choose a monochrome scheme. It is the same with mountain landscapes. Choose colors that will pop off the natural surroundings.
Typically, choosing a color (or colors) that are on the opposite side of the color wheel will help! And again, feel free to email me and ask specific q’s for your landscape!
So what does it mean to choose an outfit that matches your session location? After you’ve chosen your location, ask yourself, “what does this place make me feel?” If your session is outdoors, is the tone of the location a freeing mountaintop? A moody waterfall? A chill coffee shop? A trendy downtown scene? Choose outfits that fit into the session location, and choose colors that reflect your surroundings. An outdoorsy color scheme will naturally have more blues, greens, neutrals, on and on. So think through colors that are naturally around so you will fit into your scene. If your coffee shop location is industrial, there will be a lot of blacks, blues, ivories, etc. What outfits do you have that coordinate with the color palette that already exists there?
Vibrant Color Palettes for your couples photo shoot
A vibrant color palette would mean colors bursting with life. Rich colors with depth!! This may be maroons, deep greens, reds, etc. This would not include pastels.
But there is one special note about choosing colors: choose colors that coordinate—not colors that match.
Colors that coordinate are differing hues that compliment one another. For an example, mustard yellow and grey look amazing beside one another. But if you both wear mustard yellow… you might actually just look like a heap of mustard. No one wants to look like a heap of mustard. So wear colors that coordinate—not colors that match.
Here are some examples of vibrant color palettes for your couples photo shoot:
Here’s a pro-tip: choose the earthy toned version of your vibrant color. Every vibrant color has an earthy version, so opt for those to keep the look most flattering and most versatile. Colors with bolder hues go out of style quickly and the photos will be less usable as time progresses.
And one more word on vibrant outfits—trendy patterns may be your best friend, but they may also be your enemy.
Only one partner (if any) should wear a pattern. If you both wear a patterned shirt, you can (and I say this with all the love in my teeny tiny heart) end up looking like a piece of abstract art. Couples always look most flattered if only one person wears a unique pattern. 🙂
Lastly, add some texture to your outfits! Throw on a couple layers (weather permitting) that will add some diversity to your look. It’s easy to throw a scarf on and off or a hat or puffy jacket to make your session look more full as far as clothes go.
After thinking through all this, feel free to send your photographer pics and ideas!! They will be overjoyed to help with any style or logistics question when it comes to choosing outfits for your engagement session.
Pastel Color Palettes for your couples photo shoot
These color palettes are best for spring and summer. You’ll usually find pastel outfits are easy to find during this time of year, and they always make the new spring growth look phenomenal!!
These would include light pinks, greens, blue, etc. Muted colors work best for a pastel color palette, but be careful to pair all pastels with only pastels. Adding too. much vibrance to the color palette can be distracting from what’s most important–you guys!!
Monochrome Color Palettes for your couples photo shoot
Monochrome is definitely the most underrated option for your couples photo shoot palette! It is an absolute favorite of ours and can fit easily into every background. These color palettes are by far the most versatile AND the most modern. We encourage all couples to consider creating a monochrome color palette from their closet for your couples photo shoot.
Now… enough teasing: What actually is a monochrome color palette?!
A monochrome color palette includes multiple shades of the same original color. Examples would be varying shades of blue and green, varying shades of black, white, and gray, and so many other awesome options.
Here are some examples of monochrome color palettes for your couples photo shoot:
What to Bring to your Couples Photo Shoot
We all need a checklist, amirite?! Depending on your shoot location, you may or may not need some of these items, but we recommend bringing any you can just in case. We love to be overly prepared and help our couples be overly prepared for their couples photo shoot too!
What to Bring
– Cozy blankets – these will keep you warm and make for some sweet moments
– Accessories that you want images of (like your engagement ring, etc.)
– Anything you want incorporated in a photo (signs, vows, letters, etc.)
– Warm drinks if its cold
– Champagne or some other bubbly if you’re celebrating!
– Plenty of water
– Hand and toe warmers if it’s cold!
-Umbrellas in case it rains!
– Letters that you’ve written to each other
– Twinkly lights
– Items from a hobby like roller blades or paddle boards
-Your favorite foods: pizza, donuts, whatever you like!
– Pets (check with us and we’ll let you know if your location has any rules you’ll need to
– Got a cool motorcycle or truck? bring it!
– You like to paint together? Bring your stuff!
While you can’t bring all of these things to your couples photo shoot, hopefully this will spark some interest and get your brain going on how to make your session fully prepared AND mega fun and meaningful!!
Again, let’s jam over email or text to get a game plan perfect for your couples photo shoot so we can make it unique!
What to Expect From Us
The truth is, we’re not your run of the mill photographers. We make sure couples are comfortable and fully engaged with one another during your couples photo shoot. Long gone are the days of awkward smiles and stiff posing. We do something called permission posing that allows you to be 100% yourself so your photos are comfortable, natural, and stunningly gorgeous!
The thought of “what am I supposed to do with my hands” has plagued every single one of us any time we have stepped in front of the camera. Let us be the first to say that WE TOTALLY GET IT!
Here’s the truth:
You know how to love on each other FAR better than we could ever direct you to. You know what hand you like to hold, who leads when you walk, the spot you like to put your head on their chest. You’re already pros at loving on each other and our job is to capture that.
Here’s what the process usually looks like during your session:
- We meet face to face at your scheduled date, chat and get warmed up.
2. We hike/drive to our spot, taking our time and hanging out.
3. We’ll get to our spot and get you settled (we STILL don’t have our cameras out).
4. We give you a little talk about what to expect and get you nice and focused on each other. We step away. We let you get fully present on each other before we even turn our cameras on.
But… don’t panic. If you still feel a bit awkward and don’t quite know what to do, we’ve got all the ideas of things you can do that will be naturally you. Here are some quick posing tips to help in those scenarios:
- Lean into your partner. Not physically, though that’s fine too, but we’re talking emotionally here. Look to them for support, connect with them.
- Ask them questions “what’s your favorite memory from our first year of dating” or “remember that time you did that super funny embarrassing thing
and I laughed so hard water came out of my nose?”. Things like that can help you focus on what is important about this shoot (the two of you).
- Move around! Walk, run, dance, sway, etc. If you start to feel like you need more variation, or feel awkward, movement is the best way to remedy that.
- Try to connect to each other physically the whole time. You don’t have to make out the entire time, though you can if ya want! But holding hands or standing super close will help keep you grounded and present.
Trust us. We’re not going to let you look weird. We’re not going to judge you. We’re here to cheer you on and tell you guys how awesome you guys are.
The more you can let us in, put your guard down, and be vulnerable, the more your images will feel like you.
Final Notes: Plan to Leave No Trace
We’re working to build a business that allows our couples to celebrate safely in the outdoors. In order to keep you and the spaces we love safe (and continue to be accessible to us all), it’s important to respect and be aware of the guidelines and regulations of each location. We’ll be upfront and say that in terms of minimizing impact and Leave No Trace, we haven’t been perfect. BUT with every experience and outdoor activity, we learn a little bit more about how we can better uphold our responsibilities. We want to make sure that you have access to this information and know what to expect. The last thing we want is to tell you on your couples photo shoot day that sparklers are a no go because of a fire ban, or that those confetti shots are out because of the impact they leave.
But what is Leave No Trace? It’s okay if you are unfamiliar! We once were unfamiliar too, and we definitely still don’t do everything perfectly! We’ll learn together.
Leave No Trace is a nonprofit seeking to extend the life of public lands in order to keep these areas stewarded well and open to all. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has compiled 7 Ethics that will help us know how to interact with public lands in order to steward them well. We seek to abide by these ethics so we all continue to have access.
Here are the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of (all) waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impact.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
These are overall ethics, not hard and fast rules. These ethics will shape all of our interactions with the land, but they translate differently in different scenarios. Here are some scenarios that may apply during your couples photo shoot.
Here are some quick guidelines to reference in order to Leave No Trace:
1. Fireworks, candles, smoke bombs, and basically anything that can cause a spark are prohibited. Campfires are fine when stated by your park and county and only in designated areas. During wildfire season, a safer bet is to eliminate the use of fire all together. If using an allowed campfire, be sure that it is completely out before leaving. No smoke or embers!
2. Bring your dogs where they are allowed and be prepared to clean up after them. Be sure to have a leash since it is required in most public areas.
3. Confetti, biodegradable confetti, streamers, birdseed, and pretty much anything else you can throw that you don’t want to spend hours picking up is OUT. These items can cause a ton of impact and are hard on park resources because someone has to clean it up. A good rule of thumb is: If 100 people came and did the same thing, would it have an impact on this space? If the answer is yes, then the activity is a no.
4. Share the space. Public lands are beautiful and meant to be explored. You may run into others while celebrating, especially if it is a popular spot or easily accessible. It’s important to realize that we need to respect the experiences of others in each location as well. Getting images may take a little more time while waiting for “our turn” and we may end up leaving earlier than planned. Prep yourselves to be able to roll with it!
5. Stay on trail and respect areas. Going off trail leads to crazy impact. You can bet that if one person goes on an unofficial trail, many more will follow. This has led to areas being totally shut down. We’ll be hiking and shooting on durable surfaces!
We’ll work together so that these applications do not restrict your couples photo shoot experience, but rather enhance it!! Check out LNT.org to find our more information on Leave No Trace.
Okay, *NOW* you’re ready for your couples photo shoot!
We’ve walked through all the big q’s and what to expect! Now it’s time to start jamming out on plans!! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re a current client to work on ideas or contact us if you’re wanting to schedule your couples photo shoot! We can’t wait to serve you both in this mega-fun time!