Valentine’s Day traditions have evolved significantly since the Middle Ages when “wear your heart on your sleeve” had young couples pinning names on their sleeves as an expression of their love for one another.
1. Use Telephoto Lenses
People tend to ham it up when they know a camera is on them. One of the best ways to capture spontaneous moments of love and affection is by shooting from a distance.
A 70-300mm lens on an SLR camera allows the photographer (whether friend or professional) to stand 30 to 40 yards away from the couple and still capture intimate moments (the distance basically renders the photographer out-of-sight, out-of-mind). Head to a local park and spend an hour of time with your significant other. Get on the swing set, chase each other around—you know, just be that cute couple in love.
The shoot doesn’t have to be totally unscripted, as the expression on her face when she sees the Valentine’s Day bouquet you bought, along with the subsequent kiss, makes for a timeless photographic masterpiece.
2. Soft Focus Technique
When people refer to the innocence of youth, they are talking about the sweet naiveté you can see in a child’s eyes; it’s angelic. Fortunately, with a few steps, adults can manipulate the camera to achieve that look in photos.
Soft focus creates less-defined outlines on slightly-blurred images to create a dreamlike effect. It’s very common with glamour shots, wedding pictures and, of course, for children’s photos. The easiest way to create this effect is to cut a piece of 15-denier pantyhose large enough to cover your lens. Secure it with a rubber band and shoot as normal. Bring several different colors of nylon for experimentation.
Another option is to smear petroleum jelly around your UV filter. The key to this method working is viewing the shot normally first, then applying the Vaseline to create the effect. Always carry alcohol wipes if you choose this method for cleanup and to prevent damaging your camera. Layering and brush tools in Photoshop create the effect as well.
3. All About Display
Creative presentation turns average pictures into lasting holiday memories. One simple idea is making a picture frame out of the Valentine’s Day candy conversation hearts. Glue the candy hearts around a traditional frame to create a cute and pleasant-smelling photo.
Consider collage with four pictures of you. Hold red or pink cardboard hearts in each one, with the words “I love you,” followed by your significant other’s name spelled out in the collage. The poses and smiles in each of them are sure to warm the heart.
Valentine’s Day only happens once every year; make sure you have a creative photographic record of it every year.
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