Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday and for many couples that means trying to come up with a special and cute way to express their love for one another. However, shooting the most romantic photos means you need to be prepared and have plenty of ideas beforehand. Let’s take a look at some Valentine’s Day themed ideas to think about when shooting romantic photos.

1. Pick Several Locations

One of the best places to shoot romantic photos is in the great outdoors. There are so many places that offer beautiful,  natural backdrops for your Valentine’s Day pictures. Romantic locations include areas with many large trees, near a body of water, in a field filled with wild flowers or on a rowboat in the middle of a pond. When shooting outside you will have plenty of natural light, however you will still want to use a fill flash to prevent any harsh shadows falling on the couple’s faces. An alternative to shooting outdoors is to go back to the studio and use soft lighting techniques. Have the couple sit at a table, on a couch or in an overstuffed chair together. Use a filter on either the light or the lens to add a soft feel to the photograph.

2. Focus on Positioning

Consider where you want your subjects in comparison to the photo background. Try to use the rule of thirds whenever possible. This means dividing the frame into thirds vertically and horizontally, and aligning the couple along those imaginary lines to create a more interesting effect. Also, it is okay to have the background blurry. You want viewers to focus on the couple in the photograph, not the background.

3. Shoot the Unexpected

The couple should relax and enjoy their time together. The two should act natural while you observe. Be prepared to capture any unexpected romantic moments, including affectionate gazes, hugging, holding hands, walking together and kissing. Let them get as close to each other as they want to be.

4. Use Props

Consider adding props, such as balloons, confetti or flowers, to your Valentine’s Day photos. These props can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can have the couple looking at each other through a bunch of balloons or have the female batting her eyelashes at the male while her nose is buried in a bunch of roses. Another thought is to have the couple jumping in the air, holding hands while confetti falls over them.

5. Go Old School

Vintage looking photographs have a romantic feel of their own. Try shooting the couple in black and white or with a sepia tone to it. Encourage vintage clothing or props. This will make the picture appear even more vintage and the romance of the past can add a unique tone to a portrait. Valentine’s Day is the one time of year where you can be romantically creative when shooting couples. Use these tips to create the most romantic photographs possible. Before shooting the Valentine’s Day shots, sit down, talk to the couple and find out what they are looking for.

I hope these tips have been helpful "thought starts" for you as you consider how you might want to capture that special day come Tuesday... Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!