Setting up a private photo shoot for yourself and a loved one can be both weird and wonderful. It's a time-honored tradition for couples to document their relationship, but ideas on how to do it range from boring to tacky. Unless you're happy with walking into a department store and having a quick photo taken with a backdrop, chances are you want something more creative but also classy.
While there are thousands of possible ways to have your picture taken, there are a few ground rules you'll want to follow. First, make sure you and your significant other are the focus of the shot. A photo of you and your partner in front of a mountain might be a great memory, but it won't work if it detracts attention from the two of you. You also want to remember your audience -- if you're sending the photo to your grandparents you don't want it to be overly romantic and certainly not suggestive. And remember, this photo is a representation of both you and your spouse, so make sure you plan together.
No matter how you decide to do it, you'll want to make create something you'll appreciate for years to come. For that, we can help; continue on for five different ways to handle the occasion.
Keep It Simple
The best way to get a photo done quickly and easily is to keep it simple. After all, the point of it is to show off the couple, not the environment.
"Clean backgrounds, clean edges, good light and a nice moment are the formula for a good picture," says commercial photographer Matt Slaby of Luceo Images. This means you don't need a fancy photographer or a whole lot of setup. You won't need an overused tree background either. Just find a friend with a decent camera, get yourself some colored paper or a large colored sheet and stand next to each other wearing a nice outfit. Don't overdo your attire, the background or the smiles. What you'll get is a picture that highlights exactly what it's supposed to, you.
If simplicity isn't your bag, don't worry. We've got an idea for the over-the-top couple.
The Remake or Fantasy
Just because couples' photos are usually associated with plain shots doesn't mean they have to be. If you're in the mood for something a bit more experimental and you have the time and money to invest, you might try to stage a photo that better exemplifies your interests.
It doesn't matter what you're into: video games, medieval art, cowboys, movies or whatever else, chances are there is something there you can emulate. A popular choice is Grant Wood's 1930 painting, "American Gothic," but choose whatever you think would best suit your personality, whether that's re-creating the cover of "Tron" or donning a pair of boxing gloves for a playful shot that highlights your interest in the sport.
If you find you're spending too much money to create the fantasy shot, you still have plenty of options. Turn to the next page for an inexpensive one.
The Photo Booth
If you're convinced you have to spend a lot of time and money to get memorable shots, perhaps you've forgotten about the good old-fashioned photo booth. It's quick, easy and provides enough retro flair to coax a smile out of the most camera-shy of people. The main problem is finding one.
If you live in a major city, there's a reasonable chance that there's a photo booth somewhere in your vicinity. Web sites like PhotoBooth.net even allow you to search for a booth nearby. You'll be surprised at how many are still up and running at bars, clubs, arcades and malls. While they're a far cry from the megapixel-infused digital photography of today, they still offer a means to take candid and often humorous photos on the cheap. Keep in mind, however, you'll usually only get four pictures per shoot and they'll all be very small. If your intention is to hang photos on the wall or send dozens to loved ones, you'll want to choose another option.
If you don't like the impromptu nature of a photo booth, then a staged photo may be right for you.
The Staged Shot
There's a reason why one of the most popular types of photos is the staged shot. It's simple, cheap and you don't have go anywhere!
All you need is your significant other and your home. Provided you have that, you'll be set to go. Just choose the particular location. Maybe you'd like to take the photo outdoors (say, to show off your new home), or perhaps near the fireplace if you're planning a holiday picture. Just don't forget, you'll want to make sure you're still the highlight of the picture -- not the fancy new paint job in the living room.
No matter how much you stage a shot, there is no substitution for the original, which is where our next couples' photo idea comes from.
The True Grit Shot
This is probably the most time-consuming of all the photography ideas on this list, but it's also potentially the most rewarding. The idea is simple; hire a photographer to follow you around to snap candid shots.
Depending on your day-to-day life, the potential here for truly amazing couples' photographs depends on what happens. You'll likely be surprised at how great a candid photo of you and your partner loading groceries into the car, crossing the street under an umbrella or even cleaning up the house looks. Don't worry too much about what you're doing here; if your photographer is taking a lot of pictures, even if the time frame is short, chances are you'll have a nice picture as long as you're doing things naturally together. You'll want to make sure you're not doing anything you don't want shared with your friends and family -- pick another day to scoop your dog's waste from the backyard, for example.
Keep in mind, there are thousands of different ideas for couples' photographs, and these are just five of them. You'll find lots more information about photography on the next page.
Forget those awkward family photos! HowStuffWorks talked to two photography experts on how to look your best in every photo, every time.
- Photobooth.net. Dec. 1, 2010.http://photobooth.net/
- Photobucket. "Couples Photos." Dec. 1, 2010.http://photobucket.com/images/couples/
- Slaby, Matt. Photographer. Personal interview. Dec 1, 2010.
- Time Magazine. "Famous Couples." Dec. 2, 2010.http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1704127,00.html