This is meant to be a very practical guide to doing a Couples Shoot on the French Riviera. I have compiled 3 years worth of questions and experience into this one blog post for future clients that are interested in booking a session with me.
You want a couples shoot to be representative of you and your partner, your interests and your love for each other. You also want your photo shoot to be personal and customized. Chances are we’ve never met, so it’s difficult for me to suggest what’s right for you but my number 1 key to a successful Couples Shoot is taking time to reflect, doing your homework and coming prepared! Before contacting me or finalizing your shoot, here are some important things to consider.
Location is Everything: A great place to begin is with the location. First, start with the vibe. What vibe are you after? On the French Riviera we have several options available. Do you want charming architecture? Small Old Town Streets? Amazing vistas overlooking the coast? Do you love the beach? Perhaps you want glamour and luxury? It’s often possible to get several elements. For instance, in Nice I often photograph on Castle Hill and work my way down to the Flower Market, passing by some charming architecture. You can check out that vibe in this blog post. If you are crazy about the best beaches on the French Riviera I recommend reading this blog post. Prioritize your most important element and then let me know your second preference. For example if you tell me you want to do a photo shoot with an amazing view, but you also want to capture a bit of the luxury of the French Riviera than I would probably recommend doing a photo shoot in Eze and ending with a champagne toast at the Chevre d’Or. You can check out that vibe in this blog post. Take a moment to think about it, don’t just choose a location because you have seen it on my blog. Think about who you are and communicate that with me. I know the French Riviera well so I will be able to personalize things to fit you.
What to Wear: This is a really important point to consider when doing your photo shoot. Perhaps you are visiting from a climate that is very different to the one on the French Riviera. Take that into consideration when planning for your photo shoot. My friends from North America (I am American so I can criticize) please don’t wear flip flops! I know, I know, they are so comfortable but let me tell you this. If you are walking around a shopping mall in the South of France wearing flip flops, you will get strange looks and all the comfort of your shoes will vanish leaving you feeling awkward. You can’t travel to another country and assume it’s going to be like back home. Buy some cute summer shoes. More importantly, make your man buys a classic pair of boat shoes. They go with almost anything and are a staple for a man’s wardrobe. Men, no graphic tee-shirts! This isn’t a Green Day concert! I have put together a Pinterest board for couples to consider before their photo shoot. These looks are classics. You can’t go wrong with them and they are mostly timeless. You are going to look back at your photos in 10 years and not be ashamed. You can check out that Pinterest board here.
Activity plus photo shoot: I am including this in the hope that more couples will think of doing a photo shoot on a fun activity to capture a special moment on your trip. Combine an activity with a photo shoot to make really magical moments. Check out this adorable classic boat rental in Villefranche that is not expensive and requires no license! Another fun idea is a photo shoot while doing paddle boarding. The coast is small and will give you a chance to show off your beach body. Perhaps a sailing trip? Paloma Beach will do a private dinner at sunset on their dock surrounded by candle light. Use your imagination! Organize a candle lit picnic! Think of other special things that you would like to do on the French Riviera and then combine them with a photo shoot! Not everything needs to cost extra either: ask me about cliff diving!! One important note: I am a photographer, my focus is set on getting the best photos for you, I can recommend fun things but I am a busy bee in the summer so I may not have time to book, schedule or organize extra elements in your shoot.
Timing and lighting: this is a really important factor and very often misunderstood point. Generally, I like to take photos in the early morning and in the evening before sundown. One misconception about light is that the more light the better. This is not always the case. A lot of light is often difficult to control and limits the amount of available places to shoot. For example, if I am shooting in Nice at mid day and I want to take a photo of a couple next to a beautiful building that is casting a shadow, but the sun is shining brightly in the background I will have a hard time controlling the exposure for both the couple in the shadow and the brightly lit spot. At the same spot in the evening or early morning the difference between the highlights and the shadows wont be as strong, which means I can capture more in the photo. The photo above was captured in the middle of the day, and it’s a successful shot. Notice how they are casting really strong shadows in front of them? I was unable to take the photo from the other side because the sun was shining too brightly in their faces. That makes people squint and the shadows on the face appear much stronger (raccoon eyes). Although we got a lot of great shots during that shoot, I was limited to what I could do with the environment.
Other Things to Consider: Here are a few more pointers and tips to making your photo shoot a success.
- Girls bring your make up bag, making sure you have powder to avoid a shiny face and a small mirror to make sure you look fabulous during your shoot.
- Guys, if you sweat easily, consider bringing a back-up shirt in case you sweat through your shirt. Sweaty arm pits are 100 percent normal and nothing to be embarrassed by, however we really don’t need to immortalize them in photos forever. Consider wearing an undershirt as well.
- Keep in mind humidity. Your hair might not react the same way it does back home. Consider a less complicated hair style that you don’t have to worry about falling apart the second you step out of air conditioning and don’t forget a hair brush and hair spray to control fly aways.
- Trust your photographer. Having the most beautiful photos possible is not only in your best interest, it’s in mine too! If I say that 4pm is the best moment for the light! Go with the flow and most of all enjoy your shoot.
- Rest before your shoot! No amount of photoshop (costs extra, btw) can replace a good night’s sleep
- There is nothing wrong with practicing in front of a mirror! Look at blogs with other couples. What do you like? My style is really natural, and I prefer to capture easy natural postures and gestures, however, if you want a photo where he is lifting you in the air while 100 doves fly out of a box and a violinist is playing in the background, by all means, let me know!
- Smile! Life is good!