You’re scrolling through Instagram and come across a photo of a friend and their significant other. They’re holding hands, looking so in love, with the ocean in the background—and the lighting is perfect.
You might wonder how they got such a great photo, you might even envy it. Maybe you get the idea that you and your partner should go out and take some photos too.
In this age of social media, when it’s so easy to show off photos of your loved ones, it’s nice to have a few good pictures of you and your honey. Maybe you want a cute shot to post for Valentine’s or you want some really nice engagement pictures. Maybe you want photos to celebrate your anniversary or you just want some nice pictures to remember this time in your lives.
If you’re ready to dust off your camera and organize a couple photo shoot, consider these 8 themes to make your photo session even sweeter.
1. Visit the location of your first date
For your first date you might have gone to a special restaurant, a movie theater, or maybe you two just went to the dog park with your pups. No matter where you went during that first hangout, you probably feel some special connection to that spot. Why not use it as a photo location? Think of all the cute photos you could take recreating that first coffee date or driving go-carts together like you did way back when.
Of course, if you don’t feel a special connection to the place you had your first date, or if it would be too hard to travel there, this idea could be applied to any location that’s special for you two, such as the place you met, or where you got married, or where you first kissed.
When it was time for my husband and I to take engagement photos, we decided to have our photographer take pictures of us at our old high school, which is where we met and spent much of our time together early in our relationship. It was fun walking around our old school and thinking back on our time there—and the memories made our pictures even more special.
2. Get back to nature
Photographers can build beautiful sets and put up fabulous backdrops, but there’s nothing quite like the beauty of nature. From fields of wildflowers, to mountains, to the ocean: nature can be the perfect spot for your romantic shoot.
The best part is, no matter what part of the world you’re in, you’re probably not far from a great natural background. You might not be close enough to the coast to take pictures on the beach, but if you’re near green forested areas, take advantage of it. If you find yourself in the dessert, use the golden sand and open landscape for glamorous wide shots.
One great tip is to find a spot that has different natural features. You don’t want to take all your photos in front of the one beautiful tree, you’ll want to use different backgrounds to give your photos a good variety.
When my sister-in-law took maternity photos, she picked a location by the beach that she knew would give her a few different looks. She and her husband took some photos by the water, some by rock formations on the sand, and a few on a grassy field nearby. With each location they were able to change the feel of their photos, plus, they took the change in scenery as an opportunity to change their clothes and use different props.
3. Take a trip to the fair
While some think romantic photoshoots should be filled with soft colors and long, meaningful looks, sometimes it’s better to show a more playful side. If you’re looking for a fun, vibrant shoot, consider having photos taken at the state fair or a theme park. You can take pictures walking through fun houses or playing fair games. You could pose for photos as you ride the merry-go-round or take candids in the petting zoo.
I knew a couple who had an impromptu photoshoot at the fair. A friend with a photography class assignment met the couple at the state fairgrounds and took out her camera whenever she saw a cute moment. They ended up with a ton of beautiful ferris wheel photos and photographs of sweet moments eating snacks.
While the location made for a fun theme, what really made the photos special was the fact that they were all having a blast that day. If you’re having fun when you’re taking pictures, it’s sure to show up in your photos.
4. Include your pets
If you’re going to take photos together, why not include everyone in the family? Of course, I’m talking about your pets. Adding a dog or cat (or even your pet snake) adds another layer to the photoshoot.
My cousin and his wife are all about their dogs so they decided to include them in a pregnancy announcement photo shoot. They got the dogs little signs to hang around their necks and posed with them in front of their house. The photos were a hit.
Consider making a photo shoot out of a walk with your dog or plan to gather your pets in your living room for a quick half hour of picture-taking. Heck, maybe you’ll go all out and get matching human-pet sweaters.
Of course, you should prepare for excited pets and possible “accidents” but including your animals is worth the trouble and will make the photos all that much more special.
5. Themed for the season
Seasonal photos have been in style for a long time: families posed by the Christmas tree or gathered in a JCPenny studio wearing their holiday sweaters. But, you don’t have to save your portraits for just that one time of year.
When planning a photo shoot, think about the time of year and use it to your advantage. If it’s fall, embrace the crisp air by putting on some brown and orange sweaters and take pictures with the changing leaves. In spring, consider a flowery theme by getting yourself a flower crown and taking photos in a field of grass. Summer time? Plan a silly shoot by the pool, complete with swim suits, colorful sunglasses, and drinks with tiny umbrellas.
I know one couple who planned a wedding photo session six months after they got married so they could have photos in their wedding location, but in a different season. While they enjoyed a summer wedding with lots of bright flowers and colors, their winter anniversary photos had a whole different flavor. The bride got herself a bouquet made of red and white roses and they snuggled up in warm winter accessories.
6. Recreate old photos of yourselves
While taking new photos is fun, you and your sweetie probably treasure older photos too. For a fun photoshoot, find some of your favorite photos together, perhaps some from when you were first dating, and recreate the photo.
Maybe you have a picture of the two of you at a costume party or a candid picture a friend took on the night you met. Play with the idea of wearing the same clothes (especially if the look is so outdated it’s funny or if you’re recreating a past Halloween). Also, think about going to the same spot the original photo was taken. It might be fun to see what that place looks like now.
I have one friend who takes a photo with her husband every year in the same spot at their old college, wearing the same university sweaters. It’s a sweet tradition and each year the photo they take is even more special than the last.
7. Recreate scenes from your favorite movies
While recreating your old photos is super sweet, it can be just as exciting to have a photoshoot inspired by famous scenes from movies or TV shows. It can make for a fun, and usually silly, photo shoot you’ll both love.
Pick a movie that’s important to the two of you, or that you always watch together, and consider dressing like your favorite characters and play the part yourselves. Your photos can be lightly inspired or you can go for accuracy with your costumes and makeup. Either way, you’re sure to have a lot of fun with it.
I know one couple who dressed up as Juno and Bleeker for a cheeky pregnancy announcement. Another couple I know dressed as their favorite movie couples for a series of engagement photos. Both couples had a great time taking the pictures and their photos ended up looking amazing.
8. Take photos at home
Pictures capture a moment in time, and what better way to capture your relationship, and your season in life, by capturing your home as well?
For photos you’ll love to look back at, take some pictures in front of your house or on your doorstep together. If your home’s exterior isn’t especially photogenic (or if you’re in an apartment), consider posing for photos on your couch or sitting on your stairs. It will let you capture cute pictures of the two of you, and help you create a memory of where you live and what your life is like at this point in time.
When my husband and I moved into our first condo, we decided to celebrate by taking pictures in our new home. We didn’t do anything fancy, just made sure we were both wearing something nice and set a timer on our camera. Still, we loved taking photos in our new home, on the steps leading up to our door, and even on the patio. It made for one of the best early memories we have in that condo.
Taking photos with your sweetie is sure to be a fun and memorable experience. And when it’s done, you’ll have some sweet photos to look back on. Hopefully these eight ideas will help you capture amazing photos you and your honey will love.