Love is definitely in the air with Valentines just around the corner and that means it's time to get your focus dialed in on romantic photography. Romantic photography doesn't always mean photos that will make the more prudish in the crowd blush but it does require a bit more attention to detail and a little more work in the way of atmosphere than regular portrait photography (as well as more taste and refinement than the kind of photography many confuse with "romantic"). Don't worry, though. We have some tips to help you capture great romantic photos without stressing yourself out!
1) Lighting is key
-- Low lights are romantic. You'll want to keep things a little darker than normal and rely more heavily on candles or lights with a dimmer switch (for indoors) or do your photos at sunrise or sunset (for outdoors). You can also use lights or gels that have red, pink, or orange to soften the light in the room. Also, keep your lights (indoor or outdoor) set so they backlight the subject or scene to really enhance that romantic vibe.
2) Consider slowing the shutter speed
-- With lower lights, you'll need a slightly slower shutter speed or longer exposure time. So, use a slower shutter speed and see how that works. However, keep in mind that this means you will need a very stable anchor to shoot from such as a good tripod
3) Shallow depth-of-field
-- In other words, dial your focus in on the subject and blur everything out in the background! If the focus in the photo is a rose, for instance, and the background is your love's smile, make sure the rose is in focus but that your love's smiling face is just clear enough to be discernible. Trust me -- it will work!
4) Props: use them!
-- Don't be afraid to get a bit silly setting up the shoot if you can. Find or buy red velvet, a variety of white lace, other red fabrics of different textures and sheen, roses (flowers and petals if you can afford both), heart-shaped candy boxes, fake pearls or diamonds, a piano, a violin, an anvil (the world has all kinds, you know. Don't judge). Whatever your photography subject loves, have it there and in an environment that will make them smile and laugh!
5) Relax. Deep breath. Don't Panic
-- There's nothing less romantic than someone who is upset, angry, or stressed out. So, stay calm, have fun, and relax! If you and your partner aren't having fun capturing these photos of each other, then there's a whole element of romance that's going to be missing from them later on.
Capturing romance is all about capturing the perfect moment. However, you can set the stage, so to speak, with the tips outlined above!
-- da Bird