The key to unforgettable couples portraits of brides and grooms is connection. Anyone viewing the photos should intuit instantly the depths of the pair’s feelings for one another. A picture by DC wedding photographers offers no words to explain how the two met or what binds them together. So the visual impact alone must be sufficient to tell those elements of their story. If fiancés or newlyweds look like strangers waiting for a bus in their couples portraits, what can a viewer discern about their relationship? If a Washington, DC, wedding photographer successfully highlights the connection between the two people, their story is immediately evident.
There are two main ways for DC wedding photographers to create and foster connection during a couples photography shoot. The first is to encourage the bride and groom to connect on a visual level. By this, we mean asking them to look one another directly in the eyes.
When two people maintain unbroken eye contact, it creates a very overt and obvious bond. It appears as though nobody and nothing else in the world matters but the person before them. And an outside observer will usually interpret the connection between them as romantic in nature. As humans, we rarely stare at each other directly in the eyes for prolonged periods of time. We generally only do so when aggressively confronting another person or when we share a deep emotional bond with them. The context of a wedding or engagement photograph should make it clear that the former is not happening. If a Washington, DC, wedding photographer makes their clients look confrontational, then there are some bigger issues at play!
The other nice thing about asking brides and grooms to look directly at one another in portraiture is that in provokes lovely emotional responses. It is hard for fiancés or newlyweds to stare directly into their partner’s eyes and remain stone-faced. The vast majority either smile, laugh or look romantically at the person whom they love most in the world.
The other way to get DC brides and grooms to connect on film is to encourage physical contact between the two. We typically do not touch strangers. An image of one person with their hands on another indicates a level of familiarity. And the more tender the touch, the closer the relationship. Two people shaking hands appear to be meeting each other for the first time. Two people hugging are clearly united more closely by blood or friendship. Two people touching each other’s faces obviously have an intimate romantic or familial relationship. So posing brides and grooms such that they are in physical contact leads to images with lots of connection. The Washington-based fiancés or newlyweds do not even need to be looking at one another. Their eyes can be directed elsewhere, but if they are united by touch, the photo has the right look and feel.
For this particular engagement photo, we used a mixture of both techniques. We asked the DC bride-to-be to look directly at her future husband. This created the aforementioned visual connection. She is completely focused on the man she loves. As we mentioned previously, no one other than him matters at that moment.
The future groom is not looking at his spouse-to-be, but the second technique makes up for that. To put an additional layer of connection in the image, we asked the bride to gently stroke her man’s cheek. That established a physical connection that made it clear that they were lovers, even though he was looking in another direction.
We took this image during a trip to Certaldo, a charming town in Northern Italy. We were there attending a Fearless Photographers conference. We took advantage of our time in Italian wine country to schedule a couples shoot. We (and they) were thrilled with the results!