In wedding photography, intimate portraits are meant to capture the physical and emotional connection between the couple you are photographing...also known as l-o-v-e.
The bride and groom usually have a great physical connection, yet somehow, most couples end up looking a bit awkward and uncomfortable. They're just too nervous to be natural with the audience of a photographer. Help them out by doing everything you can to set them up for success!
1. Communicate with your clients
Most likely, your wedding clients are not models or actors and have no idea what looks good on camera. It’s important to communicate your expectations: what you want them to do and what you hope the photos will look like.
Be specific with where to place hands, feet, heads and lips. Let them know when it’s OK to smile and when to look solemn. Let them know when to look at the camera, look at each other or look into the distance.
Communication will lead to trust, and if your clients trust you, the sky is the limit with what you can do.
2. Set the story
For some clients, it’s helpful if you walk them through the emotions they should display. Great photos tell great stories, but sometimes the story isn’t there or the mood isn’t right. Talking them through the mood will set up a scenario that will lead them into the right mindset for an intimate photo.
This can be as simple as reminding them to take a deep breath, pausing for a minute to reflect on the memories they are creating or to recall emotions from days past. This can also be as complicated as walking them through a hypothetical situation that puts them in the right frame of mind.
Image via cheryl3321257
3. Give yourself enough time
Getting your couple in the right frame of mind can take a little bit of time. If you don’t have a lot of experience getting these intimate portraits to work, it may take more time.
Make sure that you aren’t rushing it and give the couple time to get used to having you there. This can be difficult on a busy wedding day, so if you can, build extra time in your schedule
4. Control the environment
Nothing will kill the mood more than having a large group of people around, like the bridal party, parents, siblings, grandparents or friends. Planning to be in a location away from others, where the couple can be themselves, will help you and cut down on the amount of time it takes for them to be comfortable.
Do your best to work with the weather, and if possible, make sure it’s not too hot or not too cold. Set up your light ahead of time so you know where you want the couple to be positioned, then they can focus on each other. Put on some music if you think it will be helpful in keeping your clients relaxed.
5. Have a plan
One of the ways to get your clients to trust you is to have a plan. If you look like you know what you are doing and you sound like you know what you are doing, you will ease the couple's concerns.
Put a together a plan ahead of time: the story you want to tell, how you want the couple to interact as well as the look and feel for the photos. Knowing what you want to accomplish from the first shot to the last will put your clients at ease and help them catch your vision.
Trust is the key component to getting great wedding photos. If your clients trust you, they will let you into those intimate moments in their life.
Ready to get into the nitty-gritty and perfect your wedding photography skills?
Learn the poses, lighting and editing techniques for the intimate wedding portraits of a bride and groom's dreams in the Craftsy course Wedding Photography: The Romantic Portrait Session.