Preparing for your Couples Session


Squamish-Couples-Session

So you've booked a couples session with me and now you catch yourself thinking "uh oh! what have we gotten ourselves into!? What will it be like? How do we plan it?" It's cool. We've got this. :)
Chances are you've never had your photos taken professionally as a couple and you're feeling a few jitters (trust me, I've been there too). That's completely normal. We'll run over a few things here to help calm those nerves a bit. Also, if you need to, we can always meet at a pub and chat over a pint right before the shoot. 


Remind me why we're doing one of these?

A number of reasons:
A couples session is a great way for you to get comfortable in front of the camera. Chances are this isn't something you're particularly used to and it's nice to get those nerves out of the way before your big day. You spend less time worrying about having your photo taken and more time celebrating with friends and family. 
It gives us a chance to get to know each other better, which is a great way to get even better images on your day of. You'll feel more comfortable not just with the camera, but with me. You'll even forget I'm there. Don't worry, I won't be offended. I like being invisible when I have a camera in my hand.
Chances are you're in the midst of planning a wedding and things like dates are falling by the wayside. When you're having your couples session you have to be present and completely focused on your partner. So in a way, it's like a hyper-date. 

How do we look awesome in photos?

Try to stay focused on each other. This is what it's all about. You. Together. Your connection. Your love.
I want to use this time to get to know you. I want to know how you two hold hands. Who is the fastest in a race. Who is the better dancer. How long can you stare into each other's eyes before one of you cracks a smile. 
You do not have to look at the camera unless I ask you to. Keep that one in mind. It's SO much easier if you focus on your partner. You can feel free to talk to each other during parts of the shoot, but there will be times when I ask you not to say any words and just interact using touch. Don't be shy about cuddling, but also don't feel like you have to make-out in front of the camera. In fact, there may be times when I ask you specifically not to kiss. 
You can also feel free to talk to me throughout the session. I may even tell you a bad dad joke or two. 

What do we do on our couples session?

I believe a couples session should be a portal into your lives as a couple. I like to document a typical day or activity with you. Do you make dinner together after a long day at work? Do you read to each other in bed? Go for a run on the beach together? Is your favourite activity swimming? Awesome! Let's do those things. Doing an activity you normally do is a great way to get authentic images of you, but it's also a great way to help relax you two. It takes your mind off of having a camera in your face, and allows you to focus on being together and present.

Example: We chose to start at their favourite coffee shop and then go for a hike for this couples session, and explore Grassi Lakes together: 

Grassi Lakes Couples Session

Trust

This part is a really big part. I need you to trust me and open yourselves up. The only way we'll get really authentic and raw images of the two of you is if you let me in. This whole session is a collaboration. I will give you so much of me, but I'll need you to do the same. 
Please don't be shy. If you are uncomfortable with a suggestion, let me know. Sometimes I will ask you to do things that sound bizarre or weird,  but they usually lead to some really awesome photos. Trust me on this one. But! If I'm asking you to climb something and you're afraid of heights, tell me. I don't want to put you in a place where you're unhappy and not having fun just for the sake of the photo. This is far more about your experience than it is about awesome photos. Awesome photos are just a fantastic bi-product of a great experience. 
If I'm asking you to do something that seems cheesy or silly, chances are there are great reasons behind it. Trust me on it and do it wholeheartedly. It'll be worth it. 

What about posing? WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS!?!?!?

We're not really going to go for the stiff traditional poses, so don't worry too much about this. I'm not going to leave you hanging, but I do want to give you the space to be yourselves. I will get you to a place where the light is amazing and flattering and then prompt you if you need it to help get you in to a flattering and authentic position. 

A couple tips for your hands:
-When embracing, stay connected - Remember in public school when we had to get the lightbulb to light with a battery? Well, when one of the connections was broken, the lightbulb didn't light up. Keep that lightbulb lit. 
-A caress is always nice.
-Brush hair away from eyes. 
-Be gentle
-Think about it as if you're trying to tell your partner with your fingertips just how much you love them
-When cuddling a lady from behind, try not to place both hands on her belly. It makes it look like you're trying to announce something else. Unless you ARE trying to announce something else, in which case... go nuts. 
-Get your hands in that hair
-Be you! 

When do we have our couples session?

All of my couples sessions are booked on weekdays. Usually couples plan for a weekday evening so they can accommodate their work schedules, but I'm flexible. If you'd prefer a morning or afternoon, that's do-able too. 
Something to consider for when to book your session is the light. That super flattering and romantic light is about an hour before the sun sets and a few minutes after. For evening couples sessions, we try to line up our times so that we capture as much of that golden hour and twilight as possible. 

Example:

Sunrise Couples Session at the Scarborough Bluffs

How do we choose a location?

Best to choose a location you love and you're used to, or pick a spot that speaks to you. Don't underestimate the power of an in home session, especially if it's your first home together. That's a place you'll want to remember, for sure!
I'd be so happy to help you choose if you're feeling lost. 
Something to consider for those wanting engagement photos in Toronto: Most places, including a lot of parks, do require a photo permit and they can be quite pricey. I do recommend that you purchase one if you have your heart set on a certain location. Without one you run the risk of us getting kicked out of the location without getting our photos and/or receiving a fine. I'm totally game for whatever you decide, but do have a backup location in mind so it doesn't cut too much into our session time. I'd hate for us to walk away with little to no photos because we didn't have a permit. 
If you're interested in coming up near me for your couples session, let me know and we'll find a location that's suited to you. There are SO many gorgeous backdrops close by. 
Here are some examples of couples who chose to do their couples session in the South Georgian Bay area. 

Niagara Escarpment Couples Session

Grey County Waterfall Couples Session

Eugenia Cottage Couples Session

What do we wear?

This one is up to you. You should feel comfortable and beautiful!

Things to consider:
-What activity are we doing? (ie: don't wear heels if we're going hiking)
-What's the weather like? Dress accordingly
-What do you feel comfortable in?
-What do you feel beautiful in?
-What feeling do you want your photos to convey? (ie: casual, formal, romantic, etc)
-Compliment your partner (ie: fancy dress + suit, or summer dress + jeans)
-Make sure you feel like yourself in whatever you choose to wear

Try to avoid:
-matching your partner completely
-avoid logos or crazy patterns
-something terribly uncomfortable
-wearing brand new shoes for the first time

Can we bring props?

It all depends on what you're thinking. If you want to bring your favourite blanket you got on your travels together to snuggle up under or to lie on together, OH HECK YES! 
I really want to focus on your connection during this session. So when thinking about bringing a prop, ask yourselves "does this enhance our connection?" If you think it will, bring it. If it's something you want photographed by itself only, I'd probably say that it may end up distracting us your connection, so maybe leave that for another day. 

One thing I DO recommend you bring a playlist on one of your phones of music you love that relaxes you or pumps you up. Listen to it on the way to your shoot. Or we can even start by listening to it together. 

Do we need to bring anything?

-Comfy shoes
-Water bottles
-It is NEVER a bad idea to have a towel in your car if we're shooting anywhere near water. None of my shoots start off as planned swimming shoots, but I have a knack for convincing people to get into waterfalls. Don't worry, I'll be right in there with you. It's only fair
-Snacks. Especially if you tend to get hangry

How many photos do we get? 

I include up to 75 images in my couples session.

When/How do we see them?

Your final gallery usually takes about 2-4 weeks. I'll send you an online gallery through email. You can check out your images and download them directly from the site. All images are high resolution and you're granted the printing rights. You can also purchase prints from my Professional Lab right on your site. 

How far do you travel for couples sessions?

150km round trip from Kimberley, Ontario is included in my pricing. If you want to shoot somewhere else, I'm totally up for travelling. It's $0.54/km after that initial 150km. 

If you need more ideas or have any other questions, email me!
I'm happy to help!!!

Dive in! It's going to be fun!