As a lifestyle portrait photographer I use prompts all the time. I find them to be the perfect middle ground between posing and candid. Prompts give clients just enough guidance to feel confident in what to do in front of the camera without becoming uncomfortable and stiff. My favorite part about them is that couples are able to take the prompts and place their own personal spin on them.
The way I structure couples sessions plays a huge role in how well these prompts play out, so let's talk about that for a moment. I start ever session with, what I call, the picture frame photos. We get the posed shots out of the way; they make for a good warmup. After that comes the fun active shots. By then the couples nerves have died down, and we're all best friends, that's when I introduce the intimate/emotional prompts. That leads into the 'cool down' which can range from sweet seated embraces, walk and talk, or playing in water/jumping in the lake. Every couple is unique, which means the prompts (or the way I introduce a prompt) will vary based on that couples dynamic and comfort level. That being said, here are 5 prompts that I always use...
Arm tug of war
I know, sounds weird. Essentially I am asking my clients to walk (or run) towards the camera holding hands while pulling each other back and forth, bumping shoulders and bums.
Okay this one is a workout haha! Obviously we start with one person on the others back (piggyback ride). The one giving the piggyback ride is going to start spinning, then tell them to change directions. If they aren't dizzy, they aren't going fast enough. Right after spinning around, you'll have them skip towards the camera. Stop, and rock back and forth and side to side. This one is always loads of fun, and a foolproof way to get those playful action shots!
Share a secret
I love this one, because it can go in two opposite directions. Either it's something really funny or really intimate/heartfelt. This one is also really great for wedding portraits after the ceremony! Pull the couple aside, and allow them the space to share a peaceful moment as newlyweds.
Forehead and Eskimo Kisses
This one is pretty self explanatory. Have the couple embrace one and other (facing each other, cuddled side to side, one behind the other, etc.) and give them the prompt. Some couples are cute and goofy about it, others are romantic and emotional!
One person will be standing in front of the camera, while the other person sneaks up and "attacks" them from the side or behind. This one makes for some really fun shots!!
It was so hard to pick a top 5! There are loads of prompts I use for couples, business, family, and single person sessions that I cant wait to share with y'all in future blog posts. If there are any specific types of sessions you'd like to me share about next, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on instagram!