So John and I had professional pictures taken last week in the San Francisco area with the Christian vineyard and estate photographer, Mike Larson.
I’ve been in this business for over seven years, five of which we’ve been together, and we’ve never had an official couple’s session. Sure, we’ve had snapshots here and there and I’ve had my head shots done, but never have we interacted together for an extended period of time in front of a camera under a photographer’s direction.
And can I just say you guys are brave?! Every single one of you who’s ever contacted me and wanted me to document your relationship. You. Are. Brave.
It’s an incredibly vulnerable spot to be in!
This was only a couple of days ago, so I haven’t seen any images yet. But I learned a few things being on the other side and I think I’ll learn even more when I see the end result. Until then…
1. I think it’s important to select a humble photographer.
One full of grace and acceptance. Read his or her blog. Try to pick someone who you think is going to love you for who you are. Maybe you’re not the most fashionable. Maybe you don’t have any props. Maybe you have less chemistry with the camera than others. Who cares. There’s other things about you that are YOU and not someone else. Select a photographer who cares about those things. You things.
2. Bring lots of clothes and try it all on ahead of time.
Dang. I can write a book on what I think *you* should wear for a shoot. But when the tables are turned I feel like total fish out of water. I believe between the two of us, John and I checked three bags… for a four day trip. We brought a ton of options. We weren’t sure what the weather would be like or where we were going to end up shooting. So we wanted options. We picked out about three outfits we were sure we wanted and the rest we left up to Mike. I think what helped me most was trying on everything a head of time and having a friend snap a few iPhone images. And also, as silly as this sounds, standing in front of a mirror and looking for a bra strap that might stick out or too much mid drift showing when I throw my arms around John’s neck.
3. Manage your expectations.
You definitely have to go with the flow and not have too many expectations. I totally get this as the photographer. As the photographer, I can’t plan out the exact spots where I’ll shoot. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas. But a lot of times I have to go with where the light is killer and what is inspiring. There are so many factors that play into this… what the couple is wearing, their style, their physical capabilities, the light, the background, what lenses I have, etc. Sometimes we photographers just play it by ear a little. Like any true artist. We play the song by ear. And we play it beautifully. But on the other end of the camera, I’m not gonna lie, I definitely had expectations of where we’d shoot and what types of backgrounds we’d have. And honestly, we didn’t shoot them. We found other other stuff that I wasn’t planning on like this KILLER light pouring through the redwood tree branches and light fog onto this mountain road. It was stunning and will probably my favorite images. So just go with the flow. Trust your photographer to make beautiful images of YOU TWO. It’s about photographing you. The backdrops are just a bonus.
4. Lipstick is a girl’s best friend.
Just sayin’. I felt like a whole new woman every time I reapplied. My confidence was on and I was read to shoot again!
5. Trust your man. Trust your girl.
Lean into him and let him lead you. Let him love you. He may not be into the photo thing as much as you, but trust me, he cares about the outcome and isn’t going to do anything to disappoint you. When in doubt, know that guys usually buck up and put on their game face and rock it.
6. Have a blasty!
You don’t get to do this everyday. So just forget how you think your arm’s going to look in the photo and trust your photographer to a.) position you in a flattering way and b.) to not show the ones that aren’t flattering. :-) Have a blasty and play with your guy. Laugh and smile a lot.
And lastly, this one’s for me, as the photographer:
5. Post more teaser images until they’re done!
And waiting for the pictures? Oh my goodness. It is SO HARD! It’s been 72 hours and I’ve checked Mike’s Instagram and Facebook like a hundred times for a preview of us. :-) Huge applause to our RTP couples who wait so patiently for their images. I will try to be better about leaking more images until they’re completely finished. I now know how hard it is to wait and how badly you want to see a few.
I get it.
Just a couple iPhone photos from our sunrise shoot with Mike Larson. Yes, I showed up to the shoot in curlers for maximum body. The last shot is after our shoot was over, on our way to sushi. I think J was a little photoed out. :-)