My favourite images to give my clients are the goofy pictures that make them laugh and remember how much they enjoy each other's company. The more silly things I asked my couples to do, the more our social barriers break down and we feel more comfortable together and most importantly, they feel more comfortable in front of my camera. I mean, seriously, after you've pranced around like a fairy on a golf-course, simply smiling at the camera doesn't seem like a big deal anymore, right? Awkwardness eliminated!!!
When I first started incorporating this "playfulness" into my brand I only had a few ideas up my sleeve and I'd use them up within the first 15 minutes of the shoot. Then I'd spend the remaining hour panicking silently because I didn't know what to have them do next. With some great input from my mom (a constant source of inspiration), I developed a method for "playful shooting" that hasn't failed me yet. So if you're looking to spice up your engagement sessions or if you just needs some help getting your clients to smile, here's what I recommend....
1. Look around for props.
Amy & Pete's engagement session was on a mountain in the highlands. We found some antlers in a bothy – perfect! This shot was 100% their idea. Alway let the couple come up with their own playful ideas — those shots usually turn out to be the best!
2. Have them spell their names with their bodies.
Eilidh & Craig's engagement session on West Sands in St. Andrews was soaking with Scottish rain but they rolled around in the sand for me anyway. Making letters with two bodies isn't as easy as you'd think :P I also had these two walking around like crabs, playing hopscotch & racing down the beach.
3. Let them be big kids.
Climb trees. Jump rope. Piggy-back rides. Play recess games like hopscotch & tag, tug-of-war.
Sophie & Johnny are so energetic they both ran straight for this tree and hung upside down like monkies :P
4. Reenact Funny Stories
Ask your couples to tell you fun stories about their lives (don't tell them why). Before I took this shot, Sebastian & Manuela were telling me about Sebastian's bachelor party — he was dressed up like a chicken and had to perform his chicken dance on stage. So of course, I asked them to reenact it for me :P
5. If in doubt... SKIP + JUMP + RUN!
If you're going to try this one, prepare yourself for weird looks and a litte bit of hesitation. Lorraine & Steve were shy for a moment (like all couples) and then after a little extra encouragement from me, off they went hand-in-hand — much braver together.
The real magic behind playful engagement sessions is adopting a childlike mentality.
Run around, jump on stuff, play games, make funny faces & sacrifice a few "coolness" points to make yourself look silly! Go have fun!