Is it okay to do a photo shoot with my boyfriend/girlfriend?

SHORT ANSWER: I'd love to give a simple yes or no to this, but there just isn't a clear-cut, always-true answer to this question. It really depends on the present health of your relationship, your reasons for wanting to do it, and the nature of the photos themselves.

LONG ANSWER: Since the Bible doesn't directly address photo shoots, I’m going to offer four questions for you to ask yourself as you consider the decision. These are meant for you to think critically about yourself, your motives, and your heart. I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions and listen for God's voice amid the answers. Follow King David’s example as he prayed to God,

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalm 139:23-24)

4 Questions To Ask Yourself

1) Why do I want to do a photo shoot…really? This is a pretty simple question, but it can lead to some thoughtful reflection about your true motives for wanting to do this. And "because it would be fun" isn't a good enough answer. Do you want to do it because you've seen others do it? Would make the relationship seem more "official"? Do you want pictures to “show off” how close you are with their bf/gf? Do you want the same feelings of intimacy and connection that you see in other couples or in wedding or engagement photos? And then, once you have some ideas why, share them with a trusted friend (preferably single) or adult youth leader to ask what they think and whether you're being totally honest with yourself.

2) Have you done photo shoots with other people, including members of the opposite sex? Some people love taking photos, so photo shoots might not be a big deal for them. On the other hand, if you don’t regularly take photos or this is the first and only photo shoot you've done, then you're a lot more likely to put extra significance on it. For example, if a girl regularly hugs her guy friends, then hugging her boyfriend might not be a big deal. But if a girl has never hugged a boy before, then hugging her first boyfriend would actually be a huge deal.

3) Would a photo shoot lead to unhealthy levels of intimacy or a sense of connection that is inappropriate for a dating couple? If a photo shoot would make you feel a lot closer to and more intimate with your bf/gf, then it’s probably a bad idea. More intimacy usually means putting that person in a higher and higher position of important in your life, often at the expense of other friendships and even God. Also, more intimacy almost always leads to more sex. If this is a battle you're fighting (and possibly losing), then leave the photo shoots to the professionals.

4) What is the relationship’s current level of “oneness” vs. “twoness”? If you're read some of my other dating articles or attended one of my workshops, then you’re probably familiar with my ideas of dating identity “oneness” (unhealthy) and “twoness” (healthy). If not, read about it here.

This is important because if a couple is already deeply involved with one another in unhealthy “oneness” behaviors, then I would recommend against it because it would likely make a bad situation worse. If the couple is pretty healthy in their “twoness”, then a photo shoot would probably be pretty harmless.

I believe that if you genuinely wrestle with honest answers to these questions and allow God to speak to you in the process, you'll be able to make a great decision about doing photo shoots.

Wanna read more? Check out my follow-up article "4 Suggestions for a God-Honoring Photo Shoot with Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend".