15 Valentine’s Day Photoshoot Ideas (for Stunning Images This February)

Do you want to capture some amazing Valentine’s Day images, but you’re fresh out of ideas?

Don’t worry.

In this article, I’m going to give you 15 amazing Valentine’s Day photoshoot ideas, featuring portraits, food, pets, and so much more. Whether you’re single, married, or deeply in love, you’re bound to find a fun idea or two to keep you occupied.

Let’s get started.

1. Create Stunning Macro Images of Red Roses

If you want to capture some artistic images this Valentine’s Day, here’s my recommendation:

Bring out that macro lens.

A macro lens will help you see the world differently. It will open up so many photo opportunities you didn’t even know existed.

And on Valentine’s Day, you can use the unique properties of a macro lens to create something especially cool:

Close-up shots of red roses.

I recommend purchasing a few roses from your local grocery store (they’re bound to have some in stock!), then take them home and put them in a vase.

Position the roses so they’re well lit, either next to a window or by your off-camera flash.

Then start taking photos. Aim to get a mix of wider images that show the rose as a whole, and close-up, abstract-style images that look unique and artistic.

Note that you’ll want to switch your macro lens to manual focus because it’s deeply frustrating to try to focus at high magnifications with a lens’s AF system.

Oh, and if you don’t have a macro lens, don’t worry. Just find your closest-focusing lens and go nuts!

2. Put Your Rings in a Book (to Create a Heart!)

Here’s another Valentine’s Day photoshoot idea that relies on a close-focusing lens:

Heart shadows.

It’s often done by wedding photographers when capturing a couple’s rings, but you can do it at home pretty easily.

Just take off your own ring or your significant other’s ring. Put it in a book, dead center between the pages.

Then position the book so the light comes from directly in front or behind. You can use window light or an off-camera flash for this (though if you do go with an off-camera flash, make sure it’s sufficiently modified by a diffuser).

If all goes well, you’ll get a beautiful heart shadow, like this:

I recommend shooting the ring from lots of different angles. Try to capture a combination of the ring and the resulting heart shadow. Also, play around with the positioning of the light for unique shots.

3. Do an Outdoor Photoshoot of Your Significant Other

If you have a significant other, then what better way to spend your time than doing an outdoor photoshoot?

Depending on your location, the weather might be cold – but that’s part of the fun!

So ask your significant other to dress appropriately, perhaps adding some reds and pinks into the mix. Then take a walk to your favorite local photoshoot site and go crazy with your camera.

One thing to bear in mind is the light:

If it’s cloudy, then you’ll get some lovely diffused lighting, in which case it’s a good idea to head out during the middle of the day. (Wait too long, and things will start to darken.)

If it’s sunny, then it’s better to go out during the evening; the light will become a lovely golden color that will easily take your images to the next level.

Oh, and try to get at least one photo of you and your significant other together. You’ll want a memory of the occasion!

4. Do a Valentine’s Day Food Photoshoot

Valentine’s Day is a time for delicious desserts, including cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and more.

So why not take advantage of the fun? Get your ingredients together, make some amazing treats, and take photos as you go. 

You could make one dessert (like a cake) and photograph every stage of the baking process: working with the ingredients, putting the cake in the oven, and eating a slice at the end. You could also bring out some Valentine’s Day cutlery and plates for a beautiful food flat lay.

Alternatively, you could make a handful of deserts, then have fun creating arrangements that feature heart-shaped cookies and chocolate brownies. Go for a beautiful shallow depth of field look (with the food fading in and out of focus), or take some shots from above that highlight all the delicious goodies on a platter.

5. Capture a Compelling “Follow Me” Image

Follow Me was an Instagram craze a while back, but it’s still managing to capture hearts and minds today.

Here’s how it works:

Grab a wide-angle lens. Grab your significant other. Go to a place you both love.

And ask your significant other to take your hand and guide you forward – while you take photos.

Ultimately, you’ll end up with some intimate, romantic images, like this:

Images that really emphasize your connection to your significant other and your love for one another.

Plus, you’ll be able to look back on the images in years to come! I guarantee they’ll make you smile.

6. Photograph Your Child with Valentine’s Day Goodies

Here’s the thing:

Everyone is always talking about how Valentine’s Day is meant for couples.

But children can take part in Valentine’s Day too! Children like the chocolates, they like the colors, and they like the balloons.

So why not give them what they want?

Instead of photographing your significant other, try photographing your child. Hand them some nice Valentine’s Day props, such as chocolates or hearts, and ask them to do fun things with the items. Encourage them to eat the chocolate or make a mess with the hearts – whatever you need to get some unique images.

It may not be the most romantic Valentine’s Day photoshoot idea out there, but it should certainly make for some lasting memories.

7. Photograph Your Pet in Valentine’s Day Garb

If you have a dog or a cat, consider how they can become a part of your Valentine’s Day photography.

For instance, you could dress them up in red, then do a dedicated pet portrait session at a nearby park. (If the weather is on the colder side, try shooting in your bedroom or in a DIY home studio instead!)

You might also bring Valentine’s Day props for your pet to hold, such as roses:

Or you might add some heart decorations for a bit of extra color:

I’d recommend shooting with a variety of lenses for the best results. Try a 50mm or 85mm prime lens at its widest aperture for those pro-looking shallow depth of field shots. Then use a wide-angle lens to get stunning environmental shots that include your pet and some Valentine’s Day decorations.

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(Pro tip: When photographing animals, burst mode is your friend. Set your camera to shoot at its highest frames-per-second count, then fire away! You’ll need to discard most of your images, but you’ll be left with a few frames featuring perfect poses.)

8. Create a Flat Lay with Your Valentines

If you’re the type of person who receives tons of Valentine’s Day gifts (or buys a lot of gifts for yourself), then this idea is for you:

Take all your gifts. Clear a table. And place your gifts in a flat lay!

Flat lays are fun because they often have a modern, upbeat feel. Plus, flat lays make great Instagram and Facebook posts.

Try to place a dominant item somewhere into the flat lay. Something that the viewer’s eye can focus on, like a large cutout heart or a box of chocolates.

And then add supporting elements in the form of cards, candy hearts, roses, and anything else you have on hand.

If you don’t feel like you have enough gifts to make this work but you want to try it anyway, then consider creating some Valentine’s Day items of your own. You can cut hearts out of paper, make confetti out of tissue paper, blow up some balloons – nothing is off limits!

What matters is that you have fun creating your flat lay. And that you get some stellar photos, of course!

9. Capture Heart Bokeh

This one’s a creative Valentine’s Day technique, and it’s guaranteed to get you drool-worthy, heart-shaped bokeh:

First, select the lens you’ll use for your bokeh photoshoot. A 50mm prime is a good option, but feel free to experiment with telephoto glass.

Then trace the lens on a piece of paper and cut out the result. The point here is to create a custom “filter” that’ll fit on the front of your lens. If your tracing and cutting aren’t perfect, don’t worry; you’ll still get a good result.

Next, create a heart-shaped cutout in the very center of your paper filter. I’d recommend starting small, but you can always create a handful of filters with different-sized cutouts.

Finally, put the filter onto the front of your lens – if it doesn’t stay in place, you can always tape it! – and fire away. 

For the most visible bokeh, you should use your lens’s widest aperture setting and focus close to your lens’s minimum focusing distance. Try setting your lens to focus manually, then turn the focus ring until you’re focusing a few inches or feet beyond the front element.

Also, be sure to position your subject in front of some background lights. Christmas lights work great for this, but you can also use distant car brake lights or streetlights (just make sure they’re far enough away that they appear as small pinpricks in the background).

Note that this photoshoot idea is all about creativity. You’re not going to get ultra-sharp shots; instead, you’ll end up with wonderfully abstract, artistic images.

10. Photograph Valentine’s Day Signs

On Valentine’s Day, you can often find lovey-dovey signs everywhere.

Grocery stores will have them near the Valentine’s Day flowers. Department stores will put them near the checkout counter.

I’m talking about cards, balloons, coffee mugs, and more, all of which say things like “Be mine!” and “Love you!”

So why not play a game with yourself and see how many Valentine’s Day signs you can photograph?

But try to do it creatively. Instead of just documenting the presence of the signs, turn them into real pieces of art. Try to capture some abstract images. And see if you can photograph people interacting with the signs – walking by them, looking at them, etc.

Of course, this will require some concentration, and I don’t recommend doing it too much, especially if you’re spending time with your significant other.

But you can certainly take a few snaps whenever you see an opportunity!

11. Capture Images of Valentine’s Day Chocolate

One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is the chocolate. But while it’s great to eat Valentine’s Day chocolate, you can also use it for a fun photoshoot.

For instance, you can photograph the chocolates themselves for some cool close-ups.

Or you can ask your significant other to eat the chocolates and take some photos as they do!

What you do with the chocolates is your call, but there are certainly a lot of great options to consider.

12. Shoot Your Significant Other on a Beach

Everyone loves beaches. And they’re very, very romantic.

Which is why, if there’s a beach nearby, I recommend you head over to it and do a Valentine’s Day photoshoot.

You should capture photos of you, your significant other, and the two of you together. Try all sorts of different approaches: get in the water, run on the sand, laugh, and just have fun together.

After all, what’s a Valentine’s Day photoshoot without some fun?

For a beach session, I definitely recommend going out early or late in the day, when the sun is low in the sky and casts some beautiful golden light.

You can try photographing your significant other from a frontlit direction, or – for a more dramatic result – use backlight or even sidelight.

That way, you’ll end up with some very cool, unique shots.

13. Do a Photoshoot with Your Best Friend

As I mentioned in an earlier section, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about couples.

So instead of doing a couple photoshoot, you might invite over a pal or two, then do a special friend photoshoot. You can still include Valentine’s Day elements, such as red clothes, heart props, and roses – but you can also photograph you and your friend(s) together, doing activities, and just having fun.

I’d recommend the standard portrait photoshoot equipment: a standard (50mm) lens with a wide maximum aperture and a short telephoto (85mm) lens, also with a wide aperture. If you have a fast 70-200mm lens, you might bring that, too. And if you want to experiment with creative environmental portraits, then a wide-angle lens, such as a 35mm or a 24mm, is another great idea. 

(A wide-angle lens will also help you capture beautiful selfies with your friend if you decide to go that route.)

Be sure to capture at least one photo that features the classic “heart hands” pose. It makes a fantastic Valentine’s Day social media post!

14. Photograph a Heart in Nature

While it’s great to do photoshoots with friends, family, and significant others, sometimes the best Valentine’s Day photoshoots are simple: just you, your camera, and the great outdoors. 

No, it’s not the most traditional Valentine’s Day idea, but nature is full of photo opportunities, so why not take advantage?

For instance, if you live in a warm climate, go on a walk and capture some red or pink flowers along the way. If things are on the colder side, you might look for heart-shaped clouds or even a blazing red sunset.

Simply channel the Valentine’s Day theme. Pretty soon you’ll be spotting compositions left and right.

If you struggle to find good photos, don’t give up. Instead, get creative! Try drawing a heart in the snow or the sand, or combine a Valentine’s Day prop with a stunning vista.

I recommend using a wide-angle lens and a tripod for any landscape-style shots; that way, you can capture the entire scene with plenty of sharp detail.

You might also bring a macro lens for close-ups of flowers and a telephoto lens for close-ups of distant elements.

Don’t focus too much on the gear, though. You can capture beautiful Valentine’s Day nature shots with any camera, including your smartphone! Instead, think about what you want to display – and what you want to communicate.

15. Head Out for a Romantic Sunset Photoshoot

Here’s your final Valentine’s Day photoshoot idea:

Have a romantic sunset stroll that turns into a portrait session.

Of course, this one only works if the weather cooperates. So check the forecast ahead of time. And if things are looking good, head on out!

As I’ve already mentioned, sunset is a great time for photography – especially Valentine’s Day photography. The golden sunset will lend a warm, comfortable feeling to your images. Plus, golden light is one of the best forms of lighting for portrait photography (and one of the best forms of lighting, period).

So don’t let the opportunity go by. When the sunset starts, bring out that camera.

And have a wonderful time.

Enjoy Your Valentine’s Day Photoshoot!

Now that you’ve finished this article, you should have some exciting ideas for an upcoming Valentine’s Day photoshoot.

So write them down (or make a mental note). Then capture some gorgeous, meaningful images!

Valentine’s Day Photoshoot FAQ

What camera should I use for a Valentine’s Day photoshoot?

Start by asking yourself what kind of photos you’re looking to take. If you want to capture a casual snapshot or two, then a smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera will work just fine. But if your goal is to capture stunning portraits, then I’d recommend a DSLR or mirrorless camera, which will offer you tremendous flexibility and beautiful image quality!

What’s the best lens for Valentine’s Day photography?

That depends on what you want to photograph! If you’re capturing Valentine’s Day portraits, then I’d recommend either a 50mm or an 85mm lens (though a 70-200mm lens will also work well). If you’re hoping to do some Valentine’s Day flat lays, then a close-focusing 50mm lens is a good pick. And if you’d prefer to create some scenic Valentine’s Day shots, then use a 35mm lens or wider.

How do I photograph a Valentine’s Day flat lay?

First, arrange the flat lay in a compelling composition. Next, grab a standard lens (50mm works well), and position it directly over the flat lay arrangement (so the camera’s LCD is parallel to the flat lay). If you have a lot of light, you can shoot handheld, but I’d highly recommend you work with a tripod. Last, take a shot! If you find that parts are out of focus, you may need to move back farther; alternatively, you can narrow the aperture to increase the depth of field.

About the Author

jaymes dempsey author

Jaymes Dempsey

Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to PetaPixel. You can connect with Jaymes on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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