There are some people out there who specialize in this. I have a couple of friends who do it all the time, actually… But I had never tried it myself until a few months ago. I did it for fun and on two separate occasions. A couple (both of them really good friends of mine) who needed a portrait of them with their dog and another one who just wanted to have some fun and have some cool shots at the end of the day. Both were really quick — first one took about 15 minutes from start to finish, including setting up the lights and packing everything up and the second one took 90 minutes in total but we shot 3 different locations.
My first thoughts about this genre of photography:
It’s a different ball game
Yeah, it is. Really. Even if you’re used to shooting portraits. I usually have a concept behind each shoot, even if it is as simple as showing off someone’s talent (whenever I shoot athletes or musicians, for instance). But with couples, you’re supposed to showcase their love for each other. How do you shoot that?
Everything is in double
Whenever I shoot someone, my main concerns are having the model properly lit, making sure he/she is in focus (duh), the background isn’t distracting from the main subject, the clothes look good (i.e.: there are no visible creases, etc) and facial expression matches the look I’m going for. Add another person and you have to do everything in double.
Always leave room for improvisation
…Not to be confused with “don’t do your homework”. You have to have a plan, otherwise the whole thing will be a huge complicated mess. In fact, you should have a Plan A, a Plan B in case A doesn’t work…a Plan C, a Plan D…all the way down to Plan Z (Editor’s note: Apparently, someone else likes to use that line. I probably heard it from him and absorbed it, I don’t know. Check out his blog if you want — it’s pretty awesome too). Because sometimes things just don’t go as planned and you have to wing it. Maybe you won’t have the sun right where you wanted it because your models are busy or get late. Or maybe it rains and you can’t shoot in the middle of that beautiful open field — unless, of course, you want everyone to get soaked. In that case, go for it!
And sometimes, well sometimes you’re going to decide on the spot you really want to use that wall as a background, even if that means you’re gonna have to remove those ugly graffiti in post.
Last but not least
Have fun; good things will happen.
A huge thank you to both couples (João G. & Bárbara and João C. & Ana) and my buddies Sérgio and João T. for giving me a hand on these shoots.