This week, we take a look at a recent couple shoot with the adorable, Mike & Lara. Shot out in the French Alps, and working within my usual 'Portrait Adventure' format, we captured some gorgeous and genuine moments. But seriously, what's with all the couple shoots? Why do we see more and more couples sharing affectionate loving photos, pre-wed? And why should potential brides and grooms seriously consider having a shoot like this, with their photographer?
Over in my Because Love section, you'll see plenty of couples in love; lots of gorgeous moments full of affection, giggles and chemistry. Some of these shoots were pre-wed sessions, sometimes engagements shoots, but mostly just a practice run I offer for my soon-to-be-married couples.
It may sound obvious, but the value of this practice run is huge. You may have flicked through dreamy wedding photos on Instagram or Pinterest, and seen some beautiful touching images; the sorts of images which are unforced, unposed, but entirely natural and romantic. Most couples cannot just walk into this level of comfort, in front of the camera, upon their first time working with a photographer. Furthermore, on the wedding day itself, you've a million other things running through your mind. It is a lot to ask of yourself and your partner, to deal with all this AND walk into absolute romantic intimacy with your photographer.
And how about from our point of view? As a photographer, I use a couple shoot as an opportunity to get to know you as a couple; your affections, your expressions, your rhythm. I also get to read how you respond to each other best, what makes you giggle, what makes you thoughtful. And in time, you both end up forgetting its a photoshoot; you'll forget the camera is there. Holding each other, without prompt, and talking into each others ears, will no longer feel embarrassing.
I haven't worked with a single couple who haven't been hugely relieved to have done this. Not only do you feel more comfortable with me and my camera, but you end up with a wealth of photographs, which in the future, will remind of how you felt before the wedding.
I also feel passionately about the value of these photoshoots, regardless of weddings. I want to work with older couples, married or unmarried, who have been together for years. The chemistry and connection between two people changes over time, and becomes something quite different and special. I want to work with couples who are much much older, who have been together for numerous decades. I want to capture their love, their closeness, their companionship. And why not? Why must we only allow ourselves to document weddings and babies in this way? Anniversaries should be marked like this, life story milestones, or just when you feel the time is right. It's all well and good capturing weddings, but I want to celebrate relationships (married or not) and their value over lifetimes.
There is no shame to be had in having portraits taken. Just think, if we don't do more of this, our entire life history will be told in selfies and inane Facebook shares. I can't think of anything worse...
If you think you'd like to sort something like this out for grandparents, parents, friends, anyone, get in touch. I have a crazy summer schedule, but want to make time for these sorts of sessions.
Always treasure those that you love, and hold them close. When you can, honour those moments with a photograph, and use them as touchstones in the future. Love is everything, after all :)
Here is a quote I often leave on my wedding books and keepsake boxes.. From the incredible Leo Tolstoy novel 'War & Peace',
"...Love is life.
All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists,
only because I love..."
And I may be an unashamed romantic, but I couldn't agree more. It makes my job, an absolute joy and a privilege.
Many Thanks to this awesome couple, Mike & Lara, in the photos. Thanks for trusting me when I led you down steep rocky woodland, off the path exclaiming "I promise you it's just here, it'll be so worth it!". It is also a particular privilege, when a photographer trusts you with a shoot like this too.