5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story
Last week, I noticed silver in my husband’s beard and was taken aback.  When did it happen? How long had it been there? And then the dreaded and heavy…why didn’t I notice?  My heart sank.

We are busy, so busy.  He works long days and mows the grass while I make supper and read stories.  We run around, often on fumes, sometimes days in-between seeing each other, and we start to miss things.  A haircut, a new shirt…and silver in the beard.

Then, I did the only thing that I knew would slow us down and allow us to reconnect, even if just for a few minutes after dinner, I got my camera out.

Before my husband started traveling so much, I made it a point to get photos of us, ONLY us, on a monthly basis.  Yes, I hear the war cries of mom photographers everywhere that shout from the rooftops of social media “get in the frame with your kids!” and I don’t disagree…but before I was mom, there was him.  After the kids leave, there will be him.  It’s always him, always us.  At the end of the day, he’s my person…the one I really need to see when the silver comes in.  As much as I don’t want to miss my kids growing up, I don’t want to miss my husband growing up either.  That would be the greatest tragedy of my life.

So, where I had gotten lazy on taking self-portraits of our marriage, the silver in his beard that snuck in without me looking stopped me dead in my tracks reminded me to pay attention and to start taking those photos again.

Whether you have your own “Silver in the Beard” story or you just want to get in the photo with your significant other because you feel like it’s important (go you!) I’m sharing a few tips on how to make this a little easier and a little more fun for you and your person.

5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story

1. Get it ready beforehand

My husband does not like the whole “let’s take a photo” process, so I really try to make it easy on him.  I set all of my gear up and get my settings ready before I even call him into the room/area.  He doesn’t want to stand around and hear about ISO settings, so I’m not going to make him do it.

5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story

2. Keep it short and simple

If I told my husband I was going to do a 45-minute photo session of us, he’d laugh really hard and then lock me in a closet.  When I want to get a photo of us, I rarely spend more than 5-minutes.  You don’t need a million photos, you just need one, one good photo that says everything you need to say but don’t have the words.  Also, I never make him change…even if he’s wearing the most ridiculous shirt I’ve ever laid eyes on, I let him wear it.  He’s doing me a favor by getting in the frame,  I let the wardrobe slide.  We aren’t a interest-perfect couple, so I’ve given up on looking like one.

5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story 

3. Tell your story

Who are you as a couple? What do you do together? What are your likes? Where are you most comfortable? What are your habits?  If you aren’t a wildly passionate couple that scantily dresses while frolicking in fields, you don’t have to take that picture.  Take the picture of you in t-shirts while drinking coffee on the porch.  The picture of you going for a walk..the picture of you giving a hug..a real hug.

5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story
4. Relax

It takes practice, but just relax and tell your love muffin to do the same.  “We are taking this picture because we like each other and you think I’m funny.” Say it…and mean it.  Tell jokes, tickle..do what you need to do to get the kind of emotion you want to see.  I almost always say to Kevin, “Okay, now say something funny..” and he does and then we laugh.

5 Easy Tips to Documenting Your Love Story 

5. How to nail your settings

This is the trickiest part for many people while taking self-portraits but it doesn’t have to be.  I talk a little bit about my self-portrait hacks in this post, but here they are again, with a few more tips.

Get a remote or use your iPhone as a shutter (I have wireless options on my Fuji X-T2 camera and have the fuji app downloaded on my phone.  I did the same with my canon and olympus.  It is a total game changer as your phone will also provide live view options and allow you to touch on the screen where you want to focus.  If this isn’t an option, wireless remotes can be found fairly cheaply on amazon!)

Get a tripod.  Sure, you can prop your camera up all day long on books and tables and whatever else, but life, and self-portraits are easier with a tripod.

If you are using a remote (non-phone), the self-timer, or the interval timer option of your camera (see your manual for how these work for your specific model), have your spouse stand where you will be “posing” focus your camera, then go join him.  If this is your first time trying any of these options and you have a less than willing partner, you might want to try it out alone or with someone else (like a child that can bribed with candy!) before you bring them into the frame so they don’t get impatient.

Shoot with a little bit of a narrower aperture (higher number) to give you a little bit of wiggle room on the focus

Make sure you have a fast enough shutter speed to allow for movement (I try to keep mine at 1/250 or higher)

Okay, that’s it! You can totally do this and will be making photos of one of your most important relationships in no time.  Remember, these don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be you.

And have fun…this isn’t a punishment, it’s a mini-date that you get to take a photo of. :)

{all photos edited with bohemian collection presets}

Ashley Manley is a serial personal project shooter with a love for documenting real moments on her small farm in Central Illinois.  Aside from her family, the loves of her life are her fuji X-T2, fujinon 23mm lens, helping other photographers to stay inspired, all the black and white things, and wine in a box.  She left social media at the beginning of 2017 but she loves new friends, so visit her website and shoot her an email already!