14 Photo Tips for Capturing Your Love this Valentine’s Day

I love any excuse to celebrate and capture love, and Valentine’s Day is one of the best reasons ever!

Me Ra Koh Photography, Photo Tips on Capturing Love

With the help of my fourteen CONFIDENCE Photography teachers, we came up with 14 photo tips to help you capture your love!  Whether it’s the love between two sweethearts or the love between two siblings or a love that has lasted 40+ years, we invite you to be inspired!

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  • Space to Be 1 of 14
    Space to Be
    I love to use the 70-200mm lens when capturing a couple. This telephoto lens allows me to stand at a distance so the couple can sink into being together versus feeling photographed. Giving your subjects space to be, to breathe, to rest, will help you capture a moment of quiet love shared.
  • Focus on the Details 2 of 14
    Focus on the Details
    Nicole Elliot shares; I love this shot of the hands and the ring. There is so much being said in this image without showing a single facial expression. Get in tight to the thing that matters. Hands are always so expressive. Think about the emotion you want to capture and get in tight to capture that.
  • First Love 3 of 14
    First Love
    Jess Robertson shares; Everyone remembers their first love! The joy, the heartbreak, the all night phone conversations, the fun memories. But, most of all, it symbolizes that time in your life where you seem to live with this reckless abandon. It's an amazing time. A beautiful time. A transformative time. My brother (Matt) and his "first love" (Tiera) recently spent the weekend with us. They are SO adorable together that we had to do a little mini session with them to capture this time in their lives. After a little snowball fight, Matt went to dip Tiera. I asked them to hold the pose so that I could get the shot. After a while, he couldn't hold her in that position any longer and they both fell on the ground, laughing hysterically. Then, she grabbed him and kissed him and this was our last shot of the day...and my favorite shot. Photo Tip: When doing a photo shoot with a couple, try asking them to do silly things rather than posing them. You will get the most genuine shots this way! One of my favorite things to do is to ask the girl to jump on the guy's back. This isn't too out of the ordinary, right? Then, ask the guy to jump on the girl's back! Be ready to capture some seriously fun reactions!
  • 3 Things You Love 4 of 14
    3 Things You Love
    Cheryl Bidleman shares; When I'm photographing couples I like to have them snuggle up and tell me three things they love about each other. It's fun to hear what they have to say and it creates a quiet energy that shows through in the images every time!
  • Ordinary Props Re-Purposed! 5 of 14
    Ordinary Props Re-Purposed!
    Laura Swift shares; I'm always looking for fun and personal props to re-purpose for a photo opportunity. For example, this scarf was around my client's neck when she came to visit. And this background art was just something in my house. But putting the circular design behind her draws out the roundness of her tummy, along with highlighting just her bump with a scarf she loves.
  • Birth of a new Love 6 of 14
    Birth of a new Love
    Jennifer Tacbas recently gave birth to her first baby, and as you can see...she was up and out of that hospital bed with her camera in hand! A new father bonding with his daughter. My husband Jason looking at our precious baby daughter, Logan...she's not even 48 hours old! Photo Tip to capturing genuine loving moments - PATIENCE! When our daughter, Logan was born, I knew I wanted to capture images of my husband and Logan together before we left the hospital. I wanted the images to be 100% natural, genuine and have that photojournalism feel. I wanted to capture that serene, loving look of wonderment on his face as he gazed at her. So after I photographed Logan by herself, I moved to the opposite side of the room and pretended to be reviewing in-camera all the images I had just shot. What I was really doing was waiting patiently for my husband to go over to Logan. After a few moments, my patience paid off, and I captured this moment without him even realizing it. I love the emotion in this image. You can almost hear how quiet the room was, read the thoughts going through his mind, and feel the emotions he was experiencing as a first-time father. Had we tried to pose this image, I don't think we would have been able to duplicate the genuine emotion you see here.
  • Mama Love 7 of 14
    Mama Love
    Amy Rhodes shares; Many times when a mother has a portrait taken of her and her children, the focus is on making sure everyone is perfect and looking at the camera. While those pictures are a great way to remember what everyone looked like at one time, it is not the way to document the relationship and love a mother has with her children. A photo tip for capturing this relationship is to ask the kids to hug their mom and tell her how much they love her. By doing this, you will get an authentic reaction from the kids and Mom will look fabulous because she can't help but give her children a genuine smile.
  • Generational Love 8 of 14
    Generational Love
    Veronica Bernal shares; Generational bonds make my heart flutter. It is something about the old with the new that I absolutely love. Photo Tip: When your children are around grandparents and great grandparents make sure you have camera in hand. Something about that embrace, touch, or smile that is exchanged is so genuine--utterly timeless to capture. Take a moment to consider how much you need in your photo to tell the story. Where does the most contrast show up? For example, a baby's smooth face against the beautiful wrinkles of a grandparent's face. A grandpa's lined, worn hands next to your little ones hands. My grandfather is not a very sentimental man. When my two year old daughter leaned against him as he was sitting down, the story wasn't in their faces but embrace.
  • Grandma’s Unending Love 9 of 14
    Grandma's Unending Love
    Lynda Kennedy writes; Little Luca was being celebrated in a dedication gathering, and I knew I wanted to capture Luca & his Grandma playing together. First, I had to find the right spot. since it was super sunny, we paused in an area where there was open shade (a covered area that creates consistent soft light without crazy tree shadows, like the shade a building side can cast). Next, I encouraged grandma to get her head close to Luca's head so both of them would be in focus. Then I asked her to lift him up and play together while I shot away. Look at the joy & love between those two!
  • Sibling Love in Color 10 of 14
    Sibling Love in Color
    Kelli Kalish shares; My twins LOVE to bounce on their beds..what child doesn't! Kids are free spirits..they bounce around and it is near impossible to get them to stand still. If I need to get the shot I am either constantly engaging them..on their level ("who can jump the highest? or "On your marks..get set..GO!" )..or standing silently and watching..waiting. I happened to catch this "in-between" shot of them both hugging and I am so thankful as these are the moments "in between" that, as parents, we so often miss with our camera. I convert 99.9% of my photos to black and white but there is always an exception to my rule...I just love the colors in their bedroom..it screams childhood! I blasted out the background (windows) so the room retained it's bright ..kid-like..playful feel.
  • Perfect Pose vs Perfect Moment 11 of 14
    Perfect Pose vs Perfect Moment
    Allison Gallagher writes; Love comes in lots of forms, but this one is particularly special to me...brothers caught in the act while misbehaving!!! It can be so frustrating trying to get good pictures of our kids when they are acting up. But, one tip that often yields great results is to STOP trying to make them act perfectly and just let them be kids, just as they are! In this shot, my own boys were being so difficult as I was trying to get a good shot of them together. I was at my wits end as these two monkeys teamed up against me. But, when I finally gave up and started laughing, the giggles started and I got one of my all-time favorite shots of them. Don't try for the perfectly posed picture, just the perfect picture of that moment.
  • Black and White vs Color 12 of 14
    Black and White vs Color
    Beth Wendland shares; Getting pictures of teenagers can be tough! If you ask to take a picture of your teen, you're likely to get an eye roll and an exaggerated sigh. So how do you do it? Sometimes, it boils down to stealth. While visiting the Butchart Gardens, in Victoria, BC, I was taking pictures of, you guessed it, the gardens, when I noticed my girls being silly. Without doing anything that might draw their attention, and with my camera set to continuous shooting mode, I fired off a series of shots. Having a zoom lens on my camera made all the difference in getting this picture. It meant being able to get a close-up of my daughters without being close-up. They didn't even know I had taken their picture! BW vs Color: at the time this picture was taken, it was getting late, the sun was going down, and the garden lights had turned on. That meant that the color was pretty atrocious. You know the kind, all yellowy orange? Plus since there was so little light there was a lot of graininess to the image. Solution? Change the photo to black & white! The weird color is gone, and the black and white masks a lot of the graininess while drawing out the story of the girls. Win-win!
  • 40 Plus Years of Love 13 of 14
    40 Plus Years of Love
    Summie Roach shares; When we think of the word "love" it usually brings smiles, joy, a pitter-pattered happy heart. But love can also be seen in a different way. Capturing love when times are difficult reminds me of the power of love. They've been married for forty plus years. His wife had recently finished her chemo and towards the end of their photo session, he grabbed her head and kissed her, a gesture purely from his heart. Even now this photo, this precious moment, leaves me speechless. Photo Tip: Even when you are done taking the photos, always keep on eye out for the unexpected gesture. Consider the simple shift of off centering your subject to enhance the story and overall emotion of the moment.
  • Loving Yourself 14 of 14
    Loving Yourself
    Tina Erdmann shares; We're not defined by our experiences in life, but these experiences play a major role in shaping who we are. With that being said, I feel that it's important to capture you and your family engaged in activities you each love to do. Whether it's soccer, biking, sailing, reading, or Friday night movie night; capture all of it. One of the activities that I enjoy is Yoga. As an entrepreneur and photographer, my mind is always racing from one creative idea to the next. Yoga brings me back to center. This is where I find my breath, balance, and inner peace. I wanted this image to have a surreal and open space feeling, so I placed myself in front of a window to capture the bright light in the background, thus creating a bright rim light around me. To capture yourself in a photo, set your timer and run into place, or better yet, purchase a remote shutter release. You can find these online, and in camera stores, for $10 to $40 depending on the type of camera you own. Some of your activities may not be conducive to taking the photo yourself, if this is the case, enroll a friend or family member to take the photo for you—and then you take hers after!

More Posts and Photo Tips from Me Ra and her CONFIDENCE Teachers:

13 Ways to Engage the Photographer in Your Kids (from Me Ra and her two kids!)

15 Women Photographers Share Their Self Portraits and Photo Tips

She Thought Her Wings Were Clipped, Only One Way to Find Out

Me Ra Koh loves cameras, kids, and parents, and spends her life bringing them together.  See her new show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh on Disney Junior.  Her book Your Baby in Pictures is a national bestseller.  She is honored to be one of SONY’s Artisans of Imagery.  Me Ra and her team of certified teachers lead CONFIDENCE photography workshops for women nationwide.  She has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, American Baby, Popular Photography, and her photography has been on exhibit from San Fransisco to New York.  You can find her at merakoh.com.

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