Recently, I had a friend ask, "how do you start taking pictures of other people?!" I chatted a little bit about my processes and we decided it would be great to share in a post. My process has changed and developed over time. Before I share my process I want you to remember that important component. Your process and style with develop over time and as long as you're willing to learn, you will continue to get stronger.
Before I start any session I spend time talking with the couple I'm shooting. I'll ask them their favorite things to do together, their favorite activities, and I'll ask them what things make them "them". The answers will always be different depending on the couple, but my goal is to capture who they are. My goal is to capture the real moments that unfold between them.
SCOUT YOUR LOCATION
Determine where your session is taking place. Does the couple or client have a specific place they would like to shoot? Are you shooting in multiple locations? Are any of the locations your shooting in distracting. Before you start shooting go to your location and take a few test shots. I have ended photo sessions, gone home, uploaded my photos and then found half of my photos full of distractions because I didn't properly scout my location. Don't let this happen to you. ;)
PLAN FOR TIMING
Timing is crucial, as it will determine your lighting and we all want good lighting. Determine the best time to start shooting so you have plenty of time. If you're shooting during the magic hour remember that you'll need plenty of time before the sun goes down. And remember that once the sun goes down you'll only have a short time before you run out of light.
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SKETCH YOUR POSES
Know what and how you want to shoot before you arrive. Prior to the actual shoot, I'll gather inspiration and make sure I have a list of poses I want to accomplish. I'll sketch out different poses I want to try and I'll save a few images of poses I want to try to.
TAKE THE TESTS SHOTS
Test shots not only allow you to achieve the best settings, but they allow you and your client(s) to get comfortable shooting together.
LET THE MOMENTS UNFOLD
I prefer to capture moments as they unfold. During my test shots I'll put the couple in a place I want to capture them. As I take my test shots often times the couple will become more comfortable. They get used to me walking around them taking photos, and they get used to the snap of the shutter. For causal sessions, that don't include any types of props, I work on capturing impromptu, intimate moments. I'll give them a scenario and then direct them through it, while the moments unfold. Their personalities will unfold in the photos, without having to overly pose them. That is what I like the most. I do slight adjustments, through each photo, like having them move their arm or slightly adjust their body.
PREPARE FOR PROPS
Props can be really fun, but they can also be a little over whelming. Make sure you know what props you'll be using or what props your clients will be bringing. If you already have an idea of what types of props you'll be working with you'll already have a vision and things will unfold more naturally.
Guys, I wanted to chat a little bit about what one may consider an imperfect photo. Below is a photo, one, that for me, seems a little imperfect. Can you tell why I might think it's imperfect? ... The feet. I cut out their feet. For my own personal preference this photo would have been "perfect" if I would have captured their feet in there too. But here's the deal. I didn't capture the feet and I still like the photo. So, even though I might think it's imperfect, it's still a great photo. :)