Relationship Portraits Tell Your Story—What Will Yours Show?

What makes us stare at photographs in people’s homes? I believe it’s not (only) about the coloring, position or background.

Those all work together to showcase one thing: Relationships.

  • Relationship between the photographer and the subject: You’ll know whether the subject was relaxed or stressed. When a photographer gives his or subjects confidence it reaches the camera lens.
  • Relationship the person has with himself or herself: A portrait can show the confidence we have in ourselves.
  • Relationship between subjects: This makes relationship photography (engagement, family or others) so much fun and precious. The chemistry between people can be seen even in an image.

I think we look for these connections in photographs, because we all crave to have connections with each other. So you have this one chance to share your connections—and the story of those connections—with others. It’s also a way of capturing what your life is like at this moment.

So how can you make the most of your moment?

Use Those Sentimental Details

If you’re going for an engagement shoot you know the ring will be the focus of some of the images. So don’t you dare forget it at home.

But even in family photography sentimental items can help tell your story. Mention these to the photographer beforehand so you can plan to incorporate it.

If your wedding ring is still your favorite piece of jewelry, show it off. As a bonus the photographer will get an extra big smile from you when he or she makes it the focal point of a shot.

Let’s Use Decor

Why not use the same approach for what goes on in the rest of the images:

  • If your car played a role in your story, ask that it be part of the shoot.
  • Instead of using the backgrounds everyone else picks, why not use your own garden or your favorite picnic area?
  • Add your hobbies to the photographs so even those who don’t know you understand how you appreciate each other’s uniqueness.
  • If you really don’t like being out in nature, please don’t agree to take pictures there. Pick a setting that represents your character.

These are all important so everyone being photographed can feel comfortable. That’s when the chemistry happens and your emotions will sync with all the elements you staged.

What’s more is that these images will always remind you how happy you were at that moment. When life gets tough, your photographs can make you smile again. That’s the beauty and power of photography.

What the Photographer will Do

After you’ve done your bit you must allow the photographer to use his or her creative insight. Yes, you can share your story beforehand so the expert will know what moments to look for or how to create them. But a trained professional will also know how to frame all the elements above to tell your story and emphasize your relationship’s dynamics:

  • Close ups of faces, body parts or items you brought with
  • Using color changes during editing to highlight certain faces or objects
  • Prompting certain positions or lighting to focus on what’s important to you
  • Helping you to feel relaxed so you can share fun moments or intimate looks
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