A wedding photographer’s tips for getting amazing couple portraits

With Kent wedding photographer Benjamin Toms

When I publish a real wedding on the English Wedding Blog I always try to begin the feature with a few key images: a shot of the bride, some gorgeous detail I’ve fallen in love with, and my favourite couple portrait. The combination of these types of images tends to capture the spirit of the day and show off the best photography as well.

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Couple portraits especially appeal to me. They don’t have to be posed or formal (and there’s nothing I avoid more than a ‘cake cutting’ shot for the blog!) but I really do love those romantic images: a forehead kiss or a wedding day hug can melt my heart in seconds.

I often hear couples say they worried about portraits – if you’re nervous of having your photo taken then I promise you’re not alone… and all you need is a great wedding photographer to make you feel at ease. You’ll be thrilled with the results, I promise!

I had a quick chat about couple portraits with my friend Benjamin Toms when he visited the Lakes (which I’m claiming as English Wedding Blog HQ!) in the spring. He shared some of his personal top tips, which I hope you’ll all find really helpful.

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Timings for your couple portraits

Allow twenty minutes for couple portraits if you can. It might sound like a long time but I promise it will fly by! The best time is in between your ceremony and reception, while your guests are mingling and enjoying canapes and a chat. It’s lovely to escape, just the two of you*

*with a documentary photographer like Ben you’ll barely know he’s there!

… and make the most of the gardens and features around your venue for some gorgeous shots of the two of you.

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I often think of couple portraits as potential canvases or wall art. Some images are perfect for albums: the detail images and hugs with grandparents – and your album will have plenty of couple shots too. But you’ll choose one or two pictures to hang on your wall at home, and I bet the favourite will be a portrait of the two of you.

It’s so worth listening to any advice your photographer gives you, either before or on your wedding day. The craziest thing I learned from Ben was about ‘golden hour’ and ‘blue hour’ – techy photographer stuff perhaps, but let’s just say that if there’s an amazing sunset you won’t regret nipping out for ten minutes when you see the photos.

More surprisingly, a little later comes ‘blue hour’… on a clear evening it can be even more magical than a golden sunset. You’ll have to visit Ben’s website to see why… but I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Flexibility is key to getting great couple shots, and this goes both ways. Ben impressed me by being very respectful of his clients: he told me if he spots an incredible sunset he’ll ask his bride and groom if they’d like to take advantage and have some photos taken… He also told me it’s perfectly fine when they say no, we’re happy enjoying the reception and we’ll stay here instead… And that’s the way a great photographer will work.

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Getting great couple portraits means booking a photographer who will make the most of the opportunities for photography on your day – but still be flexible about the times for taking those photos. A great selection of couple portraits will include a variety of lights and images, with different locations and styles.

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Remember though, your couple portraits aren’t the only images you’ll fall in love with after your wedding day. While you mingle with your guests and enjoy the celebrations, your documentary photographer will be taking care to preserve amazing memories of the spirit of your day. Choosing the right photographer is the best tip anyone can ever give you!

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More wedding photography advice by Ben:

  1. Your wedding through the eyes of a photographer
  2. The two best moments of your wedding day?
  3. About those group shots… invisible on blogs, unmissable for your memories!
  4. Why documentary photos are the key to a unique wedding
  5. The vicar, the registrar and the wedding photographer
  6. Two short hours of your time for a lifetime of memories


Benjamin Toms Photography – more information and pictures!

As an English Wedding Blog sponsor, Benjamin Toms Photography has a dedicated page right here on the blog:

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If you’re a wedding supplier you can find out all about sponsorship of the English Wedding Blog by clicking the advertise link in the navigation menu or here: advertise on the English Wedding Blog

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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