The 5 Love Languages | Using Them in Your Photo Session

November 23, 2022

I recently picked up The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. Published in 1992, this books is about how knowing how you and your partner like to show and receive love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy.
It’s a really quick read, with a lot of explanations and anecdotes, and a test is included. It will help you find out which love language you prefer.

WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES?

The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Not everyone communicates love in the same way, and likewise, people have different ways they prefer to receive love. Each language highlights specific needs, and discovering you and your partner’s love language will help support each other’s growth. Here is a brief description of each language.

Couple hugging and kissing

Words of affirmation

Value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent “I love you’s,” compliments, words of appreciation, and verbal encouragement. Written and spoken shows of affection make you feel understood and appreciated.

Quality time

It’s all about giving your undivided attention to your partner, without the distraction of television, phone screens, or any other outside interference. Actively spending time with each other, having meaningful conversations, or sharing recreational activities is really important to you.

Receiving Gifts

You feel loved when given visual symbols of love. The monetary value of the gift is not important, it’s more about the symbolic thought behind the item, and the careful process of selecting a meaningful gift for your loved one.

Acts of Service

Value when your partner goes out of their way to make your life easier. Actions speak louder than words. It’s things like bringing you soup when you’re sick, making your coffee for you in the morning, or cooking meals for you when you’ve had a busy day at work.

Physical Touch

Value the feeling of warmth and comfort that comes with physical touch. You feel loved when receiving physical signs of affection, including kissing, holding hands, cuddling on the couch, and sex. Physical intimacy is a powerful connector for you.

newly weds running together in Schönbrunn Castle

HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO YOUR SESSION?

Now, I picked up this book, not so much because of my own relationship, though I am thankful for it, but because I felt it would be relevant to my approach with couples. It was really eye opening!

Couple holding lanterns kissing under the moon

First, it is a great way to verbalise your needs when working with me. Second, it will help me navigate your own preferences during the session, and thus make the experience more meaningful for you.

Not all couples like the same things. And during sessions, it is something I find out rather quickly. For example, some couples aren’t touchy-touchy. So being close and intimate with each other in front of the camera feels totally awkward for them. And before reading that book, I had no way to quickly know what makes them tick, so it made these session a little more difficult. (For a photo session, I always assume that people want to cuddle and kiss, but now I understand that it might not be the case)

Couple walking on the beach

Now, thinking about those languages is part of my onboarding process. It is a discussion I will have with you. And from that, I will be able to tailor the activities you will enjoy during the session. Here are some examples.

Bride and Groom running in front of Schönbrunn Castle

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION

There are many ways to include words of affirmation in a session. One is to write each other letters to read during your session time together. The second is through prompts. Examples of prompts could be:


List 5 things you admire from your partner. Tell him/her what you are most proud of (of him/her) in the last year/month/week. What is your favourite memory with him/her? All these prompts are inserted in the session in order for you to interact naturally.

Most of the time, when receiving compliments and words of love, we will automatically show more emotions and affection, thus making the experience and reactions 100% real.

Bride and Groom exchanging vows
Groom kissing the bride on the temple

QUALITY TIME

Since our focus is on spending time together, with no distractions, daily activities you both enjoy might be our way to go! The session itself is pure quality time. It's hard to be distracted by your phone or the TV! I will be there kind of as a third wheel #notawkward, but not to worry, I make myself useful in directing you to focus on the moment. For these types of session, think about what you like to do together. Here are some ideas: Cuddle in bed, playing games (video games, board games, childhood games like the floor is lava, building blanket forts, pillow fights), stroll in the city, going for ice cream/fastfood/coffee, picnics in nature.

Couple crossing the street in Vienna
Couple walking with lanterns in Prater Park.

RECEIVING GIFTS

The session itself can be a gift, so do the prints and albums if you wish to. Also, if I learn that one of you has gift as their first love language, we can always organise a little surprise. If you play an instrument, you can play a song for the other. You also can wrap a little something to offer each other during the session.

ACTS OF SERVICE

Acts of service might be the most difficult one to include in a session due to it often being related to chores. And I will be surprised if you want to do chores as a date idea! But there are ways to include small gestures. Some ideas that come to mind are: Offering breakfast in bed, helping each other dress, giving a massage, making a drink to the other, or just simply the fact that you showed up to the session for each other is an act of service, especially if one of you isn't thrilled by the idea of a photo shoot!

Bride helping the groom climb the snowy rocks

PHYSICAL TOUCH

It makes the session so much easier when the couple is comfortable with physical touch and public display of affection. Simple cuddling time is sometimes all we need. It is the best for those who wish to have a more intimate experience. And for those who are comfortable, it is possible to go through different stage of undress as well.

Here is an example from me: Physical touch isn't my primary language (quality time is, followed by words of affirmation) but I get a lot of comfort from getting my back or arm gently stroked. It's one of the only ways I was able to receive affection when I was young, and up to this day, it has stayed with me. This has grown from a childish demand to something really sweet in my relationship, and I would definitely include that in my own session. It is extremely precious to me and something I ask of my man as often as I can. I also definitely wouldn't be shy to be topless for this part of the session. (That said... I am not shy with nakedness, so it's not something that bothers me to start with.) Just sharing this to show that ways you show love to each other might vary, despite your primary language.

Now, I want to address those for whom touch is last on their list. If you are uncomfortable with public display of affection, or is you aren't the touchy-feely types, there is still something for you here! Playfulness and fun will be at the centre of your experience rather than intimacy. I will make you play, or gently compete with each other on certain tasks, to make touching very natural without it being the focus.

So this is a new tool I use to create a genuine experience that helps you connect deeper. As I repeat over and over here: the connection is the focus, the photos are a bonus. I really want your experience to be special and I hope the 5 love languages will find a way to your heart! Sometimes I wish I could find something like this for my relationship. We are so busy working here, and we have such a hard time disconnecting from both our businesses that this kind of date would be ideal for us.

If you are in a similar situation, and interested in booking a session, or wish know more about this service, don't hesitate to contact me.

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