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How to take a photo and other unendingly maddening processes

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Alright so what is it like taking photos with us? So right off the bat I will tell you we take all of our own photos, we don’t have like a personal photographer following us around all day…. So one of the great things is luckily Jocelyn has some talent behind a camera (and an obsessive need to be good at something once she starts) so we’re on the right track when it comes to picture taking.


Ok so the first step is Jocelyn (me) generally brainstorms ideas. I generally get these through Pinterest (follow us! https://www.pinterest.com/Joce_and_rachel/), Instagram, and if I have a specific shot I’m thinking of, google (lol). And this usually takes…. awhile. I generally have a pretty good idea of what I want the shoot to look like so I make sure I find photos that I can work off of that get at that look. I know this sounds slightly vague, but what I mean is what type of image do I want to create with this picture? Do I want it outdoors or indoors? Do I want it to be bright or do I want it to be moody? Do I want props, where should the focus be? Essentially I'm narrowing down my vision from one that is a couples shot to one that expresses something I am trying to create.


This is a general picture of the process, I knew where I wanted the picture but I needed to figure out angles, lighting, and what type of editing I needed to accomplish the shot. The end product, and our most popular picture ever, is on the right.

Ok so day of…I think about what we should wear and where we should go. For the most part clothes are pretty straight forward unless I want a specific outfit or look for a shot, we’ll both wear whatever it is we have on that day. For location, we are soooooo lucky to live in Maine, the coastline here is absolutely stunning so unless I have a specific place I want to get a shot, we will just wander out our door and take some shots.


Staging, the key to a good shot. No seriously, staging is 100% the difference between a shot that works and one that doesn’t. The first thing I look at is if the background is too busy. Is there too much going on in the background that it draws your eye away from us? If there is, I try to change the angle of the photo to be more balanced. Second, where are you shooting from? The absolute most important part of a photo is the symmetry of where you shot lines up. At the very least you want to have a foreground and a background. If you also have a middleground that adds another layer but usually adds dimension to the shot as well.

Time to take some photos! Like I said, we take all of our photos ourselves so what that involves is setting up our tripod, (you can find all of our camera gear here:https://www.amazon.com/shop/joce_and_rachel?ref=cm_sw_em_r_inf_own_joce_and_rachel_dp_3ToJyJrzAghPZ) and having Rachel stand where the shot should be taken as a place marker. Then, if its close enough I use a remote to take the photo, or set the timer and run! Usually we take between 5-10 pictures in a given spot and then move on to find a new location. In one shoot we usually move between 3-4 spots and it takes about an hour. I usually end up with around 25-30 shots which after editing turns into between 5-7 Instagram worthy photos.


The editing process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so, depending on the picture and how much work I think it needs. It’s been a really fun adventure learning lightroom and photoshop to really push our photos over the top. I can’t wait to share with you our editing process as well as the PRESETS we’ve been developing over time. Seriously, I’m so excited to show them off and how to use them! But that’s for another post….

I know this seems like a lot of work for not a lot to show from it, but the longer the shoots the more pictures you can get if you have time. I’ve also found that I don’t like to post too many photos from the same sessions in a row because I feel like it makes our feed look disjointed. What do you think about our process? Is yours different? If it is, what do you do?

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