This French Quarter engagement portrait of this easy-going Georgia couple perfectly illustrates my preferred method of posing. I try not to precisely and intricately position the couples I work with down to every tiny and tedious detail, which can be fatiguing for them and can result in a stiff and uncomfortable looking portrait. Instead, after finding a suitable spot in good light to shoot, I'll position the couple, then loosely instruct them how and where to sit, stand, or walk, and simply let them be themselves, while offering some additional guidance as needed. This results in a much more natural image that captures their personalities as individuals and as a couple.
Admittedly, it can be a little difficult to act natural in this kind of situation, with a camera aimed at you and curious strangers watching as they walk by, but once these distractions are tuned out and cast aside, the results can be magical.
It was a bit of an overcast Autumn day, which actually makes for perfect lighting conditions outside. For this shot, I positioned them with the light to their backs, which gives a nice rimlighting effect that helps them stand out from the background. Lens selection also plays a big role in this, by making the background very blurry so that while you can still see the chaos of Bourbon Street, the sharply in-focus couple is what draws the viewer's eye.
Their wedding several months later took place in one of the most unique venues I've worked, a chartered New Orleans streetcar rumbling down the tracks along St. Charles Avenue! Here's the wonderful review the bride wrote for me after the wedding:
Michael did our engagement and wedding photos both. My planner had given me the option of several photographers to look at, but Michael stood out! I love his ability to capture very pure emotions in his photos. He can do great posed photos, but who can't? What Michael will allow you to walk away with are those initial reactions to your soon to be husband's first look at you in your white dress, how it felt to look at yourself in the mirror after your make-up and hair was done and how it felt to dance on the streets of New Orleans with your husband's hand in yours. Michael just gets people I guess, he knows precisely what to watch for, and he'll do it without appearing 'in the way' of allowing any of those organic moments to happen.
Location: French Quarter, New Orleans, LA.