Photographed by Valerie Fernandez Photography


This session is still one of my favorites today, for the simple reason that I have known this couple personally for a long time, and knowing how shy and introverted S is, I never would have imagined taking them out for a couple shoot someday.

To make things even more difficult, being aware of how intimate my style and photos usually are further increased his apprehension and feeling of exposure, vulnerability, and discomfort. I knew I would have to respect these feelings, take them into account the whole time and adjust to them, build trust, lead gently and direct with confidence if I wanted to capture moments and images that they could love and that would feel true to them and respectful of who they are.

This is one of the first photos from the session, and you can tell from the smiles that they are loosening up and starting to have fun, but still feel a little bit nervous. What I did to soothe resistance and apprehension was immediately suggest going to the beach.

For one because I knew this familiar environment would help them relax and take their minds off the camera, but also because the water, as a “lively” element, works for me in cases like this: when the water physically moves your body, your body language unconsciously adjusts to it, and so any stiffness you might have had because of camera shyness instantly disappears.

The water element is also a very playful one, it makes it easy to let loose, to tame your nerves by just splashing and fooling around, and having something to do makes people feel more in control, less vulnerable, less exposed, and from there I can get them to relax and lead them towards a more emotive and intimate space as the session progresses.
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EnergeticHolding Each otherLaughingNaturalPlayful

“Alright guys, we’re just going to start with something fun and easy here okay? I’d just like you to both sit down where the waves are washing up please. Snuggled up facing each other and simply find yourself a comfortable position. There, awesome, that’s perfect. Now just relax, have a little chat, tickle and splash each other if you wish.”
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Rule of ThirdsCenter FramedMid Range

Sometimes less is best. If you are at the start of a session, with a couple that is willing but feels vulnerable, too much too soon can easily spook them. Go for something easy, fix a detail or two but again not too much or this will build up pressure, so choose carefully what matters. And if you have a natural element in the frame, whether water or wind for example, let them be a surprising element in your composition, you could be very pleased.


Single Point Focused on His eyes Continuous Autofocus
Light & Weather

Soft LightDirectional LightNatural LightSunset

Equipment & EXIF

1/250 f/1.8 ISO 100 WB Auto


Sony A7iii


Sony FE 24mm F1.4GM


Adobe Lightroom Archipelago Quest 12 LXCQ

This image was edited with

Archipelago Quest 12 LXCQ

Challenges & Solutions


Beach / Coastal Vanuatu

Mélé beach

Mélé Beach Bar

Final tips & Advice

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Valerie Fernandez Photography

Photographer Vanuatu Sony a9 Sonay 24mm 1.4 GM
Heya, I’m Val and I’m looking forward to meeting you! I’m kid at heart, a wonderer, a dreamer! Trough incredible blessings and heartbreaking loss, I have learned kindness and courage, and became a believer in people: in you, in me, in our uniqueness, our story, our potential, strength, and vulnerability; in how we laugh, love, grow, break, endure and keep going. Photography is my bridge between what’s inside and what’s outside; it’s my tribute to everyday poetry, every day courage, every day joy, everyday love, everyday life. It’s how I see and feel, fit and connect, share and learn, give and receive.
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“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Proust

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