15 Unique & Creative Ideas For A Couples Shoot

If you’re a boudoir photographer that offers Couples Shoots then it’s a good idea to have a focus or theme in order to give your shoot some direction and focus. 

This article’s goal is to make you aware of some unique and creative ideas you may want to present to your clients to make their shoots especially fun and memorable. There’s a lot more you can do with a Couples Shoot than just take sexy pictures of two people ca-noodling in bed. 

But if that’s all you want to do as well, then there are several different approaches you can present to your couples to make their shoots something they’ll remember and cherish for a long time. 

But we’ll get into all that in a bit, first…

What are 15 unique and creative ideas for a Couples Shoot?

They are:

At Home

Romantic 

Erotic 

Sensual 

Shared Experience

Couples Maternity Shoot

Recreate Their First Date

Revisit Their Wedding Day

Create An Imaginary Wedding Day

Unique Location On a Small Scale

Unique Location On a Big Scale

Architectural Structure On a Big Scale

Popular Movie or TV Show

Film Genre

Underwater

Let’s now take a look at each of these concepts in a bit more detail. I’ve arranged them in order starting with the most easy and inexpensive kind, to those that require more planning and cost.

At Home

This first theme idea is probably one of the easiest to shoot because you’ll be using the client’s own home as the location. Using their own home has the advantage of them being able to change clothes quickly and easily, and it’s also a space they’ll feel very comfortable in.

The shoot can focus on the couple in various vignettes in different rooms at various times throughout the day. Some examples are:

Couple cuddling in bed

The two of them waking up in bed together with the first rays of sun shining through the windows. These shots could be of the two of them asleep, cuddling, sharing a quiet moment while looking into each others eyes. 

You could also direct one partner to gaze lovingly at the other while they’re still asleep. It can then progress to a more vibrant tone with some playful wrestling and innocent foreplay.

The beauty of doing this type of shoot is that it will have a natural storyline that can capture the two of them “at home on a lazy weekend day” that can progress into the evening.

Shots of them mid-day in the backyard, on the deck, or by the pool (if they have one) sharing lunch or just having fun together will work. If they have children or a pet, then including them into some vignettes where appropriate is also an idea.

Moving into evening, the two of them can be shot preparing dinner, flirting, then sitting down for an intimate romantic dinner, ending with a steamy candle-lit bath together… or however you decide to end it. 

You could finish off the shoot outside again with the two of them arm-in-arm looking up at a moonlit or star-filled sky, and if you want to get real creative, a bird’s eye view drone shot of the couple lying next to each other in the grass or lounger from a height that captures their entire house and yard with them in it. 

This “home” shoot emphasizes the couple in their “nest” and depicts typical slice-of-life moments the two of them spend together, captured in a progressive storyline that can be treasured for a lifetime. 

The Intimate Couples Shoot

Under the broad category of “Intimate Couples Shoot” I have three sub-categories:

The Romantic Themed Couples Shoot

The Erotic Themed Couples Shoot

The Sensual Themed Couples Shoot

These Couples Shoot ideas are for those couples who just want to focus on the intimacy and sexual aspect of their relationship. The big difference between them is really how much of the sexual element they want to express. To find out why I don’t call this type of shoot “Couples Boudoir”, read my article “Why Couples Boudoir Is Not Really Boudoir”.

The Romantic Themed Couples Shoot

The Romantic Themed couples shoot should emphasize romantic imagery. We’re talking about images that feature:

Couple in candlelight

— candles and or low light

— sharing a bath together

— rose petals on the bed or in the bath water

— cuddling in bed or on the coach

— the gaze (of love)

— the kiss

— the embrace

— holding hands

— relaxing in each other’s arms

The sexual aspect of this shoot should be around a PG-13 rating.

The Erotic Themed Couples Shoot

The Erotic Themed Couples shoot should emphasize more body parts and sexual acts themselves, just like the genre of Erotica. Obviously, you’ll have to discuss how far you and the couple want to take things, but the images will be more raw in accordance with the level of sexual activity.

There’s a fine line between erotica and porn and you’ll have to determine for yourself, as the photographer, how far you’re willing to go, if you’re even comfortable offering this type of shoot at all.

The Erotic Themed couples shoot should emphasize:

— specific body parts (interpret that according to the level the couple wants to go)

— converting images to black and white (a lot of erotic is in black and white)

— sexually shocking imagery (this is on a sliding scale according to the couple)

— elements of submission and domination

— NC17 rated movie level (or beyond depending on how it’s handled) 

Erotic photography can be quite powerful and provocative but it can also be crude and disturbing. I’d suggest researching the works of those photographers who specialize in this genre before agreeing to an Erotic Couples shoot. You want to get a good overall picture of all that erotica can be so you can operate within the genre with some degree of reference and understanding of what it’s all about.

The Sensual Couples Shoot

Woman's hand on man's bare chest

The Sensual Couples shoot falls between the Romantic Couples shoot and the Erotic Couples shoot. It’s for those who want to get a little edgier with their imagery, but not to the point of actually revealing anything too explicit.

It can walk right up to the line of erotica, but doesn’t cross it.

Again, this will be open to interpretation but having these well-defined sub-genres can help give focus and direction to your couple and their shoot.

The Sensual Themed couples shoot should emphasize:

— the sexual relationship between the two people without being explicit

— sexually suggestive

— subtle elements of submission and domination (in other words, we’re not whipping out the leather masks and riding crops here; an example could be one person pinning the other against the wall in a sexually suggestive manner

— images can be in color or black and white

— if the couple is simulating a sexual act, we don’t see the point of contact but perhaps the expression of one person with a hint of what the other person is doing to them… out of frame or obstructed in frame by something else

— R-rated movie level of sexuality

The Shared Experience 

Couple with surfboards getting photographed standing back to back

Here’s a theme that any couple can use and it’s basically having the both of them experience some unique place, event, or engage in some activity that’s a shared experience and have you, the photographer, capture it all on camera.

Some examples of a shared experience couples shoot could be:

— a hot-air balloon ride

— a romantic boat ride

— an amusement park on a pier

— a state or county fair

— ice-skating 

— a classic car show (or some other interest they both share)

The idea here is that the two of them are engaged in some activity and they’re not necessarily posing for the camera. These would be more candid shots but still capture the little moments of intimacy like holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, kissing, hanging onto one another, resting one’s head on the other’s shoulder, etc. 

A carnival or pier amusement park at night with all the neon lights and activity could look really cool.

Something more laid back and calm, of course, would be taking a gondola ride (if the area offers something like that) or some other type of calm boat ride out on a lake.

They could even create their own event with some activity the couple do in their everyday lives. 

Couples Maternity Shoot

Man kissing pregnant wife's belly at sunset

Another themed shoot idea that’s fairly easy to do is the Couples Maternity shoot. Traditionally, mother’s-to-be will get a “maternity shoot” all by themselves, but it’s getting more common now for the dad to be a part of the experience as well. 

It’s usually best to keep the logistics of this kind of shoot simple since the mother-to-be will be quite a ways along with her pregnancy and issues of comfort and endurance matter.  

You could do this type of shoot in their home, your photography studio, or at a scenic location like a park, beach, forest, countryside — whatever environment you feel would work best. 

Daylight to twilight shots would add some variety to the images, or if you wanted to get really creative you could incorporate one of the more unique ideas from the concepts listed below. 

Just because the woman is pregnant doesn’t mean the couple have to get a traditional tame maternity shoot, but they should have some idea of what they want and hopefully this article will help stir up some ideas the both of you may not have considered before.

Recreate Their First Date

This might be fun to do if they’ve been together for some time and their first date was quite a few years ago, perhaps even decades ago.

They could use their current home to serve as two separate locations that depict each of their places when they were both single. If they have a spare bedroom, that would be even better. 

The storyline would start with the two of them getting ready, separately, at their two “different” places, then progress to where they rendezvoused to start that very first date they had together. 

Shots of the two of them in the front seat of a car taken from the backseat could be very cool whether day or night, capturing the scenic view out the front windshield. 

Image of couple in front seat of car taken from backseat

Then arriving at whatever location (whether actual or depicted) the two them of went. 

The focus would be on capturing the anticipation beforehand, and then the courtship rituals that two people go through when attracted to one another. For instance:

The Gaze — capture that look of attraction the both of them had (and hopefully, still have) when they first got together, or capture one person’s gaze at the other while the other is looking elsewhere.

Accidental Touching — Detail shots of a hand brushing against the other’s knee or legs touching while sitting next to each other, arms sharing an armrest.

Holding Hands — Usually the first step of two people physically coming together as one; capturing this moment in close-up can be powerful, along with the two of them walking hand-in-hand.

The First Kiss — Okay, this is a biggie. Whether they kissed on the first date or not, is doesn’t really matter. What you’re capturing with this shoot is all these courtship moments in “one day” even though they may have happened over the course of several dates. 

What I would do in this situation is make sure I captured the “look” in both their eyes just before that “first kiss” happened because this represents the threshold that, for the two of them, once crossed, changed both their lives forever. 

It’s the moment that the two became one. 

The shoot can end there or when the two of them part ways once the “date” is over, with a longing in each other’s hearts and a desire in their eyes. 

Revisit Their Wedding Day

Going with the theme of recreating their first date, you could also have some fun revisiting where they got married.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Okay, so how cool would it be to go to the exact place where they got married and do your couples shoot there? … if feasible.

I think this would be most effective after some time has passed and the couple is much older. They would have a nice juxtaposition of their original wedding photos with this present day shoot.

Creating An Imaginary Wedding Day

A variation on the wedding day theme would be for the groom to get into a tux or suit and the bride to get back into her original wedding dress, or get hold of a wedding dress that she wouldn’t mind getting a bit messed up and dirty in.

This would be an ideal time to get creative without the two of them having to worry about getting their clothes dirty or wet for their minds to run wild with imagination. 

Without the pressure of having to attend a reception, or taking formal pictures with the fam, or any other wedding day obligations, taking their traditional formal wedding day attire and shooting in an environment that’s out of the ordinary could be quite fun and make for a great shoot.

One example that came to mind was for the both of them to go bungee jumping. Extreme, I know, but this is just to show you the possibilities. 

Getting down and dirty at the beach or in the surf is another idea.

Also, underwater photography (which I’ll talk about later) in a pool would be quite outrageous as well. 

Let’s see, what are some other unique and creative imaginary wedding day scenarios? 

— on a farm with all the animals

— running around a busy metropolitan city (what a great shot of a bride and groom running        across a crowded city street as if they’re late for their own reception or something)

— in a laundromat with someone officiating the wedding

Really think outside the box here because for the right couple, this will be super fun!

— out on a dry lake bed somewhere in a vast open space with no one else in sight for miles

— in the desert next to some cool looking cactus 

— pushing a shopping through the frozen food section of a supermarket

The possibilities are endless here, but this concept could provide images that your couple will always want to look back on and smile at. The key is to come up with the least likely place you would find a bride and groom.

Unique Location On a Small Scale

This category of themed ideas has to do with a unique location on a small scale (hence the title) and focusing your couples shoot in and around these structures or environments. Some examples include:

Young couple holding hands near waterway

— a city’s or town’s landmarks (like the Arch in St. Louis)

— a botanical garden or arboretum 

— an area’s waterfront, pier, or boardwalk

— a unique hotel or AirB&B 

Okay, this last one is would require the couple renting a little getaway in the forest somewhere or in some other environmentally stimulating place. There are these really cool “cabin in the woods” type deals  where you’re isolated in the forest but one entire wall of your “cabin” is glass.

Or they have these elaborate treehouses for rent that are quite luxurious and comfortable and built, not for a ten-year-old boy, but for adults.

Just Google “luxury treehouse for rent” or “secluded glass walled cabin” or “secluded forest cabin” and see if there’s something like this in your area. It could make for a great location for a couple’s shoot but also a unique getaway for a few days.

Suggest something like this to your couple as a two-for-one deal. They get to go away for a few days while inviting you, the photographer, out for a couples shoot in a picturesque and unique environment.  

Unique Location On a Big Scale

This category of ideas is more on the grand scale of things. We’re thinking big, expansive, and vast! This is the epic landscape image that the couple can hang on their wall with the both of them in it!

Some ideas are:

— the desert (like Joshua Tree in California… or the Sahara if you live nearby)

— a waterfall (like Niagara Falls)

— a dry lake bed

— a national park

— a state park (and not the kind with a swing set)

— a beach (but make it interesting with coves, reefs, or tropical palm trees)

— a mountaintop (or the highest place in your area with a great panoramic view)

— a forest

— the countryside or vast field

— an urban rooftop with a view of the city

A variation on this would be the…

Architectural Structure On a Big Scale

A perfect example would be the Eiffel Tower in France (if you lived there).

There could be some big bridge or building in your city or town that is iconic to the area. 

More ideas are:

— a lighthouse

— a windmill

— a castle

— a cathedral or church

Taking Your Couples Shoot To the Next Level

Okay, now we’re going to kick it up a notch — for those couples looking to do something a little more creative and adventurous. 

The Popular Movie or TV Show Themed Couples Shoot

Does your couple have a favorite movie or TV show they’d like to fashion their shoot after? They could get costumes or wardrobe that resembles their favorite characters. If they’re into Cosplay that could work too.

I’ve seen a Star Wars themed couples shoot, a superhero themed couples shoot, a James Bond and femme fatale themed couples shoot… and on and on.

Was Game of Thrones their binge-worthy choice?

What about Mad Men?

Sons of Anarchy? (That would be hilarious for a couple known to be the exact opposite.)

Just sayin’… 

The Film Genre Themed Couples Shoot

If you’re good with lighting, or are willing to learn, you could offer couples a film noir type couples shoot. Something that resembles those classic black and white films from the 1940s and ‘50s.

Perhaps they’re into period romances and have access to period clothing. All you would need would be a fancy dining room or living room, or even just a settee or period looking sofa in your studio to pull it off. 

Underwater 

If you happen to be one of those rare photographers that shoots underwater, that would certainly be a very cool option to offer clients. 

If you don’t, but have access to a pool, don’t think you can pull this off by just renting a waterproof bag for you camera.

There’s a lot that goes into underwater photography that includes filtering the water so it’s super clean (and clear), special lighting, and coaching people how to hold their breath, get down to the proper depth, and pose. So, if you don’t already do it professionally, don’t offer it. 

(It would be super cool though to learn!)

For an idea of what’s possible check out Cheryl Walsh Fine Art

Bonus Idea!

What’s a list of ideas without a bonus idea?

The Classic Car Couples Shoot

Rent a classic car for the day.

This, by itself, could get a little repetitive, but if used in conjunction with, let’s say, Recreating The First Date, or Revisiting the Wedding Day, or the Shared Experience, or really almost any of them, could add a bit of style and nostalgia to your photos.

Adding a Story Line

Another idea you may want to think about when discussing a couples shoot with potential clients is the idea of telling a simple story with the images. 

Depending on which scenario you choose, a progression of events can add a “storytelling” element to the shoot. This would probably be most effective in an album collection where you have multiple images in a specific order.

Although a printed series of three images on the wall could work. There are also those large framed products with nine different photos in them connected together in some fashion.

That would work too, in displaying not only the couples’ images but in having them tie all together.

Wrap Up

As you can see, a lot more thought and creativity can go into a couples shoot than what you may have been thinking before. Offering up some of these ideas can also increase your bottom line by charging more because you’re obviously going to have to travel for some of these ideas.

And don’t just take them all literally. Mix and match. Borrow ideas from one and apply it to another that’s totally different. 

I’m all about creativity and imagination in creating my own boudoir images so naturally that’s going to spill over into just about anything I do or write about. 

I hope you found this article helpful, and if so, feel free to forward it to someone else who may also benefit.

Thanks for your time,

Charles Mitri

Founder / Lounge Boudoir

Bella Mitri Boudoir

Charles Mitri

Charles Mitri is an award-winning boudoir photographer and also founder and writer of LoungeBoudoir.com, an educational blog and resource website for boudoir photographers worldwide. He lives in Yorktown, Virginia.

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