7 ideas that will help you plan a subtle photo shoot for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day looming, you’ve no doubt seen store aisles adorned with hearts, food stores advertising meals for two, and your Instagram feed filled with love-inspired photoshoots. If you’re planning a Valentine’s Day themed photo shoot yourself, but think you might have left it too late, we have some simple ideas that will ensure your photo shoot doesn’t turn out cliché!

Although single, I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. In fact, I think this is the perfect opportunity to reiterate to your friends and family how much they mean to you. However, I hate how commercial it can be and I really hate seeing Valentine’s cringe-inducing posts on my social media.

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I have no problem with photographers wanting to shoot Valentine’s Day content. It’s nice to shoot something a little different and give yourself a theme to work on, but what I can’t stand is seeing shot after shot with red roses, shaped balloons hearts and pink or red backgrounds. Just because Valentine’s Day is stereotypical about hearts and different shades of red doesn’t mean your photography has to be.

Valentine’s Day is about love, after all – it’s about emotions and relationships, whether it’s with a romantic partner or your best friend. It’s about intimacy and vulnerability and all of those things don’t add up to someone holding a pink, foil, helium balloon. I’m not saying that the themes I mentioned can’t be used in photoshoots at all, but try to be frugal and think outside the box a bit.

To help you plan a non-grippy Valentine’s Day photoshoot, we’ve found seven ways to incorporate love into your photography without being too in your face. We’ve taken inspiration from some of our favorite wedding, street and fine art photographers so we can guide you in planning a shoot you can be proud of, any time of the year.

1. Think editorial

(Image credit: Farhan Abas of Unsplash)

Instead of just thinking about how you can make it into a Valentine’s Day photoshoot, think about how intimate a fashion photoshoot can be. Editorial photo shoots can elicit the feeling of love in many subtle ways without showing obvious affection.

It can be a simple touch of the arm or someone laying their head on another person’s shoulder. Sometimes less is more, and you don’t have to film people kissing to trick viewers into thinking there’s more to the people in the picture than meets the eye. Fashion magazines can be a great source of inspiration, so the next time you go to a store, take a look. vogue Where Tatler.

2. Subtle styling

(Image credit: Sunny NG from Unsplash)

It’s super easy to instantly jump on the bright red rose bandwagon when shopping for accessories, or have your model wear clothes with sweetheart necklines and romantic silhouettes. There are, however, better ways to style your shoot. Try to opt for light colored flowers (maybe not even roses) if you’re set on using flowers – I love using baby’s breath (baby’s breath) in the shoots as it’s super delicate and you can use it to cast beautiful shadows.

When it comes to outfits, play around with different textures and tones. Neutral colors are great for layering and work great if you’re shooting outdoors. Costumes are a great outfit choice; they’re powerful, a juxtaposition to the usual Valentine’s Day outfit, and your model will almost certainly feel powerful in one. Pair it with a sheer shirt under the blazer or nothing at all for a flirty yet serious look.

3. Know who you’re shooting at

(Image credit: Wright Brand Bacon of Unsplash)

If you’re photographing a couple, do your best to get to know them first. Find out where they met, what makes them laugh, what their quirks are, or even what they love most about each other. You can incorporate places that are dear to them into your shoot, like where they met, where they had their first date, or even in the house they share together.

Wedding photographers have been known to ask their couples to whisper sweet, naughty words into each other’s ears to elicit laughter – you too can use this technique to capture beautiful candid moments.

4. Shoot the extremes

(Image credit: Nadine Rupprecht of Unsplash)

When thinking about composition, try to shoot from very far away so you can capture full body shots with a beautiful background, or very close and personal shots where you may only be capturing parts of your body. their face or just their hands. The best way to capture moments that feel real is to make the couple feel like you’re not really there, so you can see snippets of your couple in their most natural form.

5. Boudoir shoot

(Image credit: Monika Kozub of Unsplash)

If you’ve ever thought about doing a boudoir shoot, Valentine’s Day could be the perfect time. Not only will you get stunning images for your portfolio, but you could also boost someone’s self-confidence at the same time. Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the love you have for someone else; it can also be about the love you have for yourself and the best way to give someone confidence by taking pictures that they can look at and think “I’m beautiful”.

If you are planning a Boudoir session, be sure to first talk with your model extensively about what is expected of them and what they are comfortable with, and don’t be offended if they ask to bring a chaperone.

6. Capture the Quiet Moments

(Image credit: Toa Heftiba of Unsplash)

It might seem a little counter-intuitive, but photograph your couple doing everyday things like lying in bed together, making breakfast, walking the dog, or driving the car. So often in life we ​​forget how important those little moments are – a little squeeze of the hand here, or a kiss on the cheek there. Try to capture those heartfelt beautiful moments and your photography will look that much more authentic.

7. Be forward-thinking

(Image credit: shot by Cerquelra of Unsplash)

Just because you’re shooting something Valentine’s Day-themed doesn’t mean you can’t get a little abstract. Whether you’re shooting with a couple, an individual, or a group of friends, experiment with unique poses, camera angles, compositions, and props. Get a little edgy with your color palette, wardrobe choices, and locations and your photo shoot will thrive!

Scroll down for more Valentine’s Day inspiration…

(Image credit: Toa Heftiba of Unsplash)

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(Image credit: Farhan Abas of Unsplash)

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About Catharine C. Bean

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