How to photograph your love, spouse, or significant other

  • how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

How to photograph your love, spouse, or significant other

This month, I’d like to challenge you to include your significant other in the frame. I understand that many spouses (mine included!) may resist your efforts a bit. However, you don’t necessarily need him to pose for you, and perhaps he just doesn’t realize how important it is to you (and will one day be to your children) to have a visual record of his presence, the way he looks, and the way he loves his family… so talk to him about why these images matter! Once you have his cooperation (or at least his consent!), here are some possible approaches:

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Jennifer Bogle

1. The Single Portrait

Focus exclusively on your spouse. You might shoot a traditional portrait, capture him engaged in a favorite hobby/sport/activity, or take an approach similar to the one we took for “the unconventional self portrait” creativity exercise earlier this year — neck down, extreme closeup that captures a facial detail you love, out of focus and dreamy, etc. Play with light, perspective, posing, and composition to help capture the strength, ruggedness, size, or other qualities that you associate with your significant other. Try to illustrate what you see in and love about him with the way you approach the image.

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Lisa Snead

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

odeya

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

ellenking

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Kira Derryberry

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Meredith Novario

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

carriebc

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Narelle Bailey

2. The Two of You

If you’re like many photographers I know, your wedding photos are the only “good” pictures that you have with your husband … and in many cases, your own photographic skills have surpassed those of the photographer you hired back in the day or the photos simply don’t reflect your personal aesthetic. Happily, I know a photographer who can shoot pictures of the two of you that you’re going to love – yes, that would be YOU! Head out to a field filled with the golden light of sunset, set up a tripod and an intervalometer as you prepare dinner together, shoot some quiet moments adjacent to the best window light in your house, choose a meaningful setting (the restaurant where you got engaged? the campus where you met? your favorite city street?), …. the possibilities are endless!

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Jessica Lutz

3. The Family

How long has it been since you’ve captured a photograph of your whole family? Have you done one since that last session you did for your holiday cards? Your children are growing and changing, and you and your significant other aren’t getting any younger with each passing day – so get everyone together, and take some pictures. It doesn’t have to be formal (though it may be); try documenting some day-in-the-life type moments of all of you together (and again, resist that temptation to focus only on the children … however compelling it may be!).

4. The Children

What is your significant other’s dynamic like with your child(ren)? Is he the supervisor, the playmate, the tutor, the nurturer, the coach? Capture those interactions! Is there a certain side of parenting that is your husband’s domain? Document the part of the day when he’s in his paternal element. Does your oldest look just like dad? Photograph a portrait of the pair of them, and compare them side-by-side (repeat with each child in the family). Courtney Keim also has some great ideas for dad/child photos and wonderful visual inspiration in a recent CMblog post, so be sure to check that out as well!

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Kari Wattenbarger

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Ashley Carlon

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

nellie_m

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

ericalh24

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

Sharyn Thommpson

how to photograph your significant other tutorial by Sarah Wilkerson

lamoeser

I’d like to challenge you to capture all four approaches – and to start doing so on a more regular basis – but if your significant other is anything like mine, successfully getting one this month will be no small feat! Remember that a portrait doesn’t have to be formal, and if your husband doesn’t like to in front of the camera or has no patience for direction, you can always take a more documentary approach. The idea is simply to begin incorporating his presence more frequently in the frame, so start with the goal of getting one shot of your significant other that you love this month, and take it from there.

What’s the best way to improve your photography? Shoot thoughtfully and frequently! Try new things and embrace creative and technical challenges. Every month, Sarah Wilkerson posts a new tutorial and challenges our members to join in a new Creativity Exercise on the Clickin Moms photography forum. At the conclusion of the exercise, we select Editors’ Choice images from among the exercise submissions and share them here with you on the blog. Congratulations to the ladies whose photographs included in the exercise above were selected as this month’s Editors’ Choices, and thank you to everyone who participated in the exercise!

creative photography challenge editors choice award from Clickin Moms

And be sure to participate in the next exercise! Visit the forum where Sarah has posted “Day in the Life.” We’d love to see your work!

Sign up for a risk-free membership!

About the Author:

Sarah Wilkerson is the CEO of Click & Company and also provides mentoring services, teaches advanced Click Photo School courses on composition & creativity, and authors the “Why It Works” series in CLICK magazine. She specializes in low light photography, everyday documentary, and tilt-shift work. A former attorney and Duke graduate, Sarah resides in northern Virginia with her Army JAG husband, four children, and three dogs. Visit Sarah Wilkerson online.
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28 Comments

  1. Sophie Jun 07 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Such ridiculously sweet images. Thanks for the awesome ideas and inspiration!!

  2. Erin W. Jun 07 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous, great work everyone!

  3. Meredith Jun 07 2013 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Ack! So privileged to have my man standing with your men! 🙂

  4. Jennifer B Jun 07 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    How exciting! What an honor to be up there with such talented women and amazing images!

  5. Rebekah Jun 07 2013 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    This post immediately makes me think of Alicia Paulson’s blog: Posie Gets Cozy. How she captures her husband is so wonderful. Often she leaves out his face but you see his hand, a shoulder, just his shirt but you always know it’s him and they are some of the most wonderful portraits.http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/

  6. Danielle M. Jun 07 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Eek! It’s pretty cool seeing my man and my baby among so many beautiful and sweet photos!

  7. Lexie Jun 07 2013 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    So many great images here!!!

  8. Heather L Jun 07 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    These are way too amazing. Some of my favorite images! Love!

  9. Mikki Jun 07 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    These are so wonderful!!

  10. Jessica Lutz Jun 07 2013 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Oh Goodness! Thank you for including on of mine 😀
    These are all so great! <3

  11. Lindsay Moeser Jun 07 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you for including my all time favorite picture of my two men amongst all of these beautiful images! Such a wonderful collection!!

  12. Narelle Bailey Jun 08 2013 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Thanks for including my handsome husband. It’s wonderful to be included amongst such terrific images.

  13. Sharyn Jun 08 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Thank you for choosing one of my photos. This is one of my favourites.

  14. Erica H. Jun 08 2013 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    I’m so honored to be featured with you ladies! Amazing images this month!! I loved all of them!!

  15. Carrie Jun 09 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Eeeep! I’m in shock, thanks so much for featuring my image. They are all so wonderful!

  16. Anne Jun 09 2013 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Wow! Amazing work!

  17. AmyW Jun 09 2013 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    These are all so great I can’t pick a favorite! I love the variety and personality of each one.

  18. Kira Derryberry Jun 09 2013 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Honored and excited to be featured amongst such beautiful work! Thank you for choosing my images!

  19. Kari Jun 10 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Thank you for featuring one of my images! So excited!

  20. Ashley Jun 10 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

    I feel honored to have mine included among such gorgeous images! Thank you!!

  21. Lisa Benemelis Jun 16 2013 at 2:29 am - Reply

    These are all wonderful!!!

  22. Jessica Reischel Jun 18 2013 at 10:16 am - Reply

    stunning images. i wish i had images like this with my dad. 😉

  23. marie Jul 09 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I love this post! And what a fun photography challenge. My husband is always my guinea pig when I am scouting a new location or am testing my light, but I have never seriously taken his photo (aside from interaction with our daughter). Totally going to do this!!

  24. jamie bates Jul 11 2013 at 10:17 am - Reply

    I’m in love with every one of these Editor’s Choice photographs. Well done, each of you!

  25. bonne coquine Oct 24 2014 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Sublime pօste : continue comje celɑ

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  26. Jodi O Mar 15 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Storytelling at it’s finest!

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