Scheduling your session
My couples sessions usually last between 60 and 90 minutes and are likely to be on a weekday evening. The best light is two hours before sunset (golden hour). However, I’m always up for shooting any time of day - even shooting at night can be really exciting and fun.
The advantage to arranging a session on a weekday is that everywhere is usually quieter - the beaches are less crowded and the parks aren't as busy. I can also schedule your session further in advance without conflicts with weekend weddings.
Don't think that you have to pick an iconic location for your couples session. I can capture exciting photographs anywhere and an unusual location can result in unique photographs.
Start by thinking about locations that mean something to you both. It could be the place where you proposed. It could be the place you went for long walks at the beginning of your relationship. Maybe you grew up in an area that has sentimental meaning for you.
Another consideration is your hobbies, passions and careers. Maybe you love parachuting so you could have a session at an airfield. Perhaps you are art lovers so an art gallery might be perfect. Making it as personal as you can is a great way to have a fun couples session with unique photos.
Your aesthetic feeds into your decision too. If your style is modern and minimal you may want to have your session in the city centre. You could anchor the session around a particular area or interesting building. A multi-storey car park with geometric architecture, is an unusual choice if you are into straight lines, harsh light and shadow. An industrial setting contains loads of contrasts and an eclectic mix of materials such as brick, glass and concrete.
If you’re both foodies, a colorful outdoor market or a picnic may be a good option. If you’re both bookworms, a bookshop, library, or a study might be right for you. The north east of England is littered with picturesque historical locations, so if you prefer the outdoors you can pick between castles, walls and ruins.
If you have a particular outfit that you'd like to wear for your session, think about how your choice of location will compliment that. Bringing your pet along to your session is a great icebreaker and can help relax everyone. They also add some spontaneity to the session, so consider bring them along.
The only weather that might stop us from shooting is torrential rain or heavy snow. It doesn’t have to be sunny to get good photos - clouds, wind and even light drizzle can add drama to the photos! I’ll keep a close eye on the weather and I’ll be in touch to keep you informed if anything changes.
This isn't an exhaustive list of locations for your couples session, it's just a jumping off point to get you thinking about places that mean something to you. Our shoot doesn’t have to be deep and conceptual, but it helps if you love the location.
If you do have a strong idea or concept for a theme you want to incorporate into your session make sure you tell me what you have in mind and we can work together on making them a reality. The best couples sessions are a collaboration. And I’m always game for scouting new and unique locations for you.
Permits are sometimes required, especially for National Trust or English Heritage sites, so check the photography policies for any place you have in mind. Typically, we can get away with shooting without a permit even if one is required as long as we are discreet and not popping off smoke bombs for example, but it's good to be aware that we might be asked to leave if we're there too long.
I recommend avoiding clothing with large logos or graphics on them. I love primary colours such as red, yellow, or blue - they pop and help you stand out from the background. Adding a pair of red or yellow shoes, or a bright blue shirt will transform your outfits. If you aren't sure what to wear then smart casual is probably best. A shirt or polo shirt, dark jeans or chinos, shoes or boots rather than raggedy old trainers for the guys. Long dresses work really well in the photos for girls, but skirts or jeans and a strappy top are okay. Dress how you'd like to look on an awesome summer day when practicality isn't a consideration. Remember you can always bring extra layers and then take them off and put them on between photos!
Avoid baggy button down shirts and be sure to bring a comfortable pair of shoes to change in and out of because we’ll probably do a lot of walking. Also, try to avoid any clothing that may show visible straps, tags, or semi-transparent clothing that could reveal your underwear. If either of you has long hair, and you wear it down it can look great blowing around, adding a lot of movement to the images.
I wrote this guide to give you a few tips to help plan for your session, but it’s in no way a rule book. It’s just a few pointers to help give you in the right direction to make sure you’re ready for the camera. When it gets right down to it, this is your session. Make it personal, make it about you... and remember, above all else, have fun with it!
Want to see more of my real couples sessions in Newcastle, Northumberland and Durham? Hit the link below.
And if you'd like to book a couples session, or you are thinking about wedding photography, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org