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Photographing couples is quite literally one of the most enjoyable parts of my career. I love that with two people in love, you have such great capacity for shots that are unique, engaging, and artistic. Additionally, there is something wonderful to be said about the freedom and control we have with only 2 people to pose and direct.
I want to share a simple lighting technique that I have found to make an enormous difference between an “average” couples portrait, and a “dynamic” couples portrait.
This set up requires two flash units: One on camera, and one off camera. You will also need an assistant and a reflector.
1. Set your flashes to ETTL (Canon). ETTL will have the camera measure the available light in your scene and set the flashes accordingly.
2. Place your camera on Shutter Priority at 1/200s. This way your shutter speed will never exceed your flashes maximum speed.
3. Have your assistant take the secondary flash and hold it 8 feet from you, and 8 feet from your subjects. The angle of the flash will not be firing directly at your subjects. Rather, you will have your assistant fire the flash into the reflector. This will cause the light to spread and wrap around both your subjects.
4. Take the shot! As you can see from both examples below, the sidelight makes an incredible difference!
Using flash always takes practice, but this simple technique will add artistry to every couples portrait you take!