DIY Photo Shoot

We see it all the time in our news feeds, we’re talking about scrolling through a number of announcements, birthday celebrations, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and graduations. We want to capture every milestone to have a reference for later and to share with loved ones.

I had very little time to plan my wedding when I got married four years ago and I had no idea what kind of photos to take or details to capture. I have photos of course, but none taken by a professional or those classic couple shots that you can develop and have on display around the house. Celebrating my fourth wedding anniversary last month I decided that it’s been long enough and I want my couple photos. I started looking for photo shoot themes and quickly realized that nothing specific exists for the fourth anniversary. Initially I was frustrated, that is until I realized this meant I had complete freedom to plan the story and look of the shoot!

If you are not sure where to start or you’re overwhelmed, here are my tips to plan a DIY photo shoot for your special occasion:

  • Create a board on Pinterest to customize your search and collect your favourite ideas. If you have no idea where to begin then here is the place to go to be inspired.
  • Give yourself a few weeks for the ideas to simmer. Rushing will make it stressful and you have to remember this is meant to be a positive and pleasant experience. Odds are you will feel over whelmed and unprepared at some point in the process, but you will pull it off!
  • Time of year is a key factor. On Pinterest I find most photos are taken between Spring and Fall with the natural lighting, flowers, and cute outfits. I took my photos at the end of Winter when everything was frozen and we had no fields or flowers to work with. My husband and I are not exactly fans of Winter and I also did not want all of our photos to be in our jackets, so I had to brainstorm indoor ideas that utilize the natural light.
  • Aim for the time of day that has the best lighting. A tip I learned is it’s not at noon on a sunny day. Aim for flattering lighting around sunset or take advantage of overcast skies that will eliminate shadows and squinting eyes.
  • Keep things simple. Initially I had multiple locations and a long list of poses with props that had my husband’s head spinning. I would recommend picking 1 or 2 locations and 5 to 10 poses that are a mix of close up and from a far.

    (Images taken from The Dating Diva’s)

  • Pick props that reflect the personality of the subject(s). It’s a great way to personalize your photos and fun bringing personalities to the forefront; books, video games, camera, musical instruments, food, coffee, beer, bikes, pets, banners, balloons, signs, chalkboards, picnic basket with a blanket, etc.
  • Plan and coordinate outfits. These photos will be looked at for many, many years to come so make sure it’s an outfit you want to remember. These are just two of many suggestions you will find on Pinterest.
  • If its an outdoor shoot, bring a back pack with some snacks and beverages to keep melt downs to a minimum (adults have them too).
  • KEY POINT: Think about what the photos mean to you, your significant other, and family in 5, 10, 20 plus years from now. 

Try to not stress about having the perfect pictures with the perfect poses. Doing your research, trust that the photographer captures the best angles. Let the photos tell a story, so remember to relax and interact with each other. My husband and I were able to review the photos and make revisions on the spot. It was a learning process for us that worked out really well because we love the photos, can’t wait to have a few printed and hung up around the house!


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