Chances are, you and your partner aren't super comfortable getting your kit off and being all over each other in front of a camera. This is normal. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be, and you can still get deep, soulful, passionate pictures whilst feeling like a bit of a goon. Trust me.
During my first couples session in my home studio, I was craving some drama and depth. Don't get me wrong, I love my bright and airy studio. It feels calm and still, and that definitely has its place. But my roots are in dark, moody photography. I love grit and grain, low light images drenched in shadows leaving you to imagine the details that are just a little too dark to make out. Frames where you notice something new each time you look at it. Photos that make you feel like you lived them. I'm calling this little segment After Dark.
We all know candlelight is king. It's the most flattering, romantic and nostalgic source of light. It has a warmth and a softness that licks the curves of our body, creating deep, lustful shadows. I wanted to emulate candlelight without actually involving any candles for many reasons. 1, I am the clumsiest human to walk this earth so we would definitely end up either with hot wax on us and/or burned to a crisp. And 2, it's tricky to get the right amount of reach with candlelight. Unless it's a giant fuck-off candle, I've found I have to hold it quite close to the subject I'm lighting. See reason 1 for why that would be a bad idea.
So I grabbed an electric lantern that used to be my bedside lamp and lowered the blinds in my studio. Luckily, this room has those deliciously ugly renter blackout blinds - perfect for blocking all daylight and plunging the room into darkness. With a 3m extension cord, I can move the lantern around wherever I please, controlling how much of you is lit, at what angle and the shadows you create. Proper play time.
This is when I encourage you to be a bit more intimate. Nothing crazy, we aren't going pornographic here, but something a little more intense. This isn't about sex. It's about those intimate moments that happen when we're alone, where our love seeps out. Fingers tracing the clavicle, hands running through hair. Holding waists, laughing into each others mouths. You can be the goofiest, most awkward people and still get these results.
The darkness helps it feel less performative and more private. Body-consciousness tends to ease in the shadows. It's also a weird thing to have someone photograph you and your partner this way, so no doubt we will be giggling at the absurdity of it all (like all of us did in the photos featured in this blog). While you may not feel as you do when these moments happen in reality, I promise you the outcome will be a reflection of them, as if plucked from your memory. Tangled with the heat.
"Thank you so much Emily for the After Dark portion of our session. Kyle and I felt such a sense of serenity, contentment, and that we could bare our true colours. The studio was heavy with romantic mood, and we felt like the only two people on Earth wrapped up in cotton swirls. It’s not often in our busy lives that we get those moments to deeply connect, in our true form. These photos will always serve as a reminder to hold space for one another, and to treasure each moment while we have them."
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