Love Through the Lens: 4 Films for Capturing Timeless Couples’ Portraits

By Amy Farrer

As a photographer, there's nothing quite as fulfilling as immortalising the love shared between couples through the lens of a camera. Each click captures a moment that will be cherished for years to come, and it's not just about snapping pictures; it's about creating timeless portraits that reflect the depth of emotion between two people. Today, Sundari Uthayakumar shares her approach to capturing love through the art of film photography, along with three film recommendations that she swears by.

  


 

Black & White Magic: Ilford HP5

There's an undeniable charm to black and white photography that adds a timeless quality to any image. That's why I always recommend having a good supply of B&W film rolls in your kit - Ilford HP5 Plus being my go-to. 

One of my favourite memories using Ilford HP5 B&W film was capturing the intimacy between Hannah and Zack pictured below. The results were simply breathtaking, and it made me realise the power of monochrome in evoking raw emotion. Learn more about the beauty of Ilford HP5.

 Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Ilford HP5

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Ilford HP5

During one of my engagement sessions, I found myself with only a single roll of expired Kodak Eastman Double X black and white film, which was regrettable because I had hoped to capture more images of the couple in monochrome. So, my suggestion would be to over-prepare and ensure you always pack more film than you anticipate needing! Missing out on capturing those beautiful moments due to a shortage of film is a situation best avoided.

 

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Kodak Eastman Double X

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Kodak Eastman Double X

 


 

Experimental Adventures: Kiro 400

Photography is as much about experimentation as it is about technique. That's why I love to push the boundaries with experimental films like Kiro 400, CineStill 50D or something expired. Mixing and matching different films in varying light conditions can yield unexpected yet beautiful results. Whether it's capturing the delicate details of a wedding cake or the subtle hues of a sun-soaked setting, experimenting with film is a creative journey that never fails to inspire me. 

I always make sure to pack a fun emulsion in my bag to explore and experiment with. Even if the results don't meet your initial expectations, embracing experimentation allows for valuable learning to improve your relationship with analogue film.

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on expired Ilford Delta 400

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on expired Ilford Delta 400 

 


 

Professional Grade Excellence: Portra 400

When it comes to professional-grade results, nothing beats the reliability of Portra 400 - or its sister films, Portra 160 and Portra 800. With its impeccable colour accuracy and fine grain structure, it's my go-to choice for capturing portraits that truly shine. Whether shooting with my trusty Canon EOS 5 or my backup Canon AE-1, I know I can always count on Portra to deliver stunning images that exceed my clients' expectations. 

 Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Kodak Portra 400

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Kodak Portra 400
 

There's a valuable lesson in packing and shooting with two cameras! Given the unpredictable nature of film, having a backup camera provides a sense of security. Usually I start with my Canon AE-1 to allow the couple to ease into the session, as initial shots can sometimes feel a bit awkward. Once they've grown accustomed to the camera, the rhythm of the shoot and sound of the shutter, I seamlessly transition to my Canon EOS 5, a reliable companion I trust to capture every moment flawlessly.

 


 

Embrace the Unexpected: Polaroid Perfection 

Last but not least, I always make sure to pack some Polaroid film for those unexpected moments that deserve to be captured in an instant. There's something magical about seeing a Polaroid develop before your eyes, and it adds an extra layer of nostalgia to any portrait session. Whether it's a candid moment between lovers or a spontaneous burst of laughter, Polaroids have a way of capturing the essence of love in its purest form. I love carrying my vintage Polaroid Impulse Portrait camera around, complete with a fresh batch of Polaroid 600 film in either colour or black and white!

Numerous photographers are now incorporating Polaroid wedding photography as an enchanting addition to their packages to elevate couples’ special moments with an extra dash of charm. 

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Polaroid 600 film

Captured by @onfilm.bysundari on Polaroid 600 

  


 

Don't Forget When Capturing Couples...

 

Communication is Key: Connecting with Your Subjects

Beyond the technical aspects of photography, what truly sets apart a memorable portrait session is the connection between photographer and subject. Taking the time to understand a couple's story, from how they met to what makes them tick, lays the foundation for capturing authentic moments that reflect their unique bond. I always encourage open communication before a session, as it helps put couples at ease and allows me to tailor the shoot to their preferences.

Preparation is Paramount: From Posing to Packing

In the world of film photography, preparation is key. From creating a Pinterest board of poses to ensuring you have a backup camera on hand, every detail matters. I always advise couples on the importance of natural light for indoor shoots and suggest incorporating outdoor locations for added variety. And when it comes to posing, having a few go-to poses pre-prepared can help streamline the shoot and keep things running smoothly.

If you're being paid to capture these moments - like wedding photographers who use film - then also make sure to have a back-up ready!

In the end, capturing timeless couples' portraits isn't just about the equipment or techniques that you use - it's about the passion and dedication you bring. Finding beauty in the ordinary and creating lasting memories. Whether it's the allure of black and white, the thrill of experimentation, professional excellence, or the whimsy of instant gratification, each film tells its own story. As photographers, it's our privilege to weave these narratives to create memories that last a lifetime. Let's continue to explore, create, and celebrate the art of photography in all its forms.

 


  

Continue the spirit of love with our Valentine's film bundles! Explore our selection of bestselling 35mm and 120 films, accompanied by a stylish film case to safeguard your precious films. When you’re ready to see the magic you’ve created, get your films developed with our Analogue WonderLab! 


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