Photographer's Guide to Posing Couples
I truly believe that being able to spend time photographing a couple is a privilege. In this post, I will share some of the tips I have learned over the years to help you the next time you are photographing a couple and then give you 10 great couples poses that I use all the time and provide great results!
The main thing to know when photographing a couple is that your main focus should be about capturing their connection and relationship in your image. So, how do you go about capturing a couple's love, bonds, and connection through your lens?
Tip 1. Establish a Relationship with the Couple
Before photographing your couple, spend some time getting to know them. This can happen over the phone or via email. Try to learn some things about them (i.e their hobbies and what they like to do).
If you are photographing this couple as part of a family shoot, get to know their family at the same time. If you are photographing this couple as part of an engagement shoot, ask a little about them, their engagement story, how they met, and their future plans.
Spend time chatting with them, getting a feel for their personalities, and letting them get comfortable with being around you in the first place. These small conversations can go a long way to getting to know the couple and helping them feel comfortable in front of your camera.
Tip 2. Capture Emotion
Showing affection and love requires some openness in front of the camera and can be difficult for some couples.
So how do you get two complete strangers to let down their guard and get lost in the moment? It can definitely be tricky, especially for men. If you have taken some time to establish a relationship with them (see above) you are well on your way to helping them show emotion.
Give them some assignments. Ask one of them to whisper in the others ear. Or maybe ask them to walk along a path while talking and laughing with one another. Ask her to lean on his shoulder like they were sitting on the front porch of their house. These assignments will usually bring out emotion that you can then photograph.
Be aware of the love you are seeing. As you are posing them, let them know you see their love and how beautiful they look. That goes for all couples. Always let them know how beautiful they are!
Tip 3. Capture Candid Moments
When it comes to posing, look for candid moments. Begin with some basic posing and then throw in the assignments mentioned above. In between there will likely be fun, candid moments for you to capture.
There might be laughing or snuggling that happen without your encouragement. There might be a moment when she closes her eyes while she is laying on his shoulder. These moments are precious, so make sure to photograph them!
Encouraging couples to chat about anything and everything along the way will also help bring about authentic moments to be captured.
Tip 4. Capture Connection
When photographing couples, it is so important that they connect physically. Having physical contact is a way that we show others we care for them. Our brain reacts positively when being touched.
We want our couples to feel connection during their time with us, so make sure your direction and posing involves them touching, holding hands, arms around each other, etc. This connection will spill over into the photos we capture.
10 Easy Couples Poses
Now, onto the couples poses. These 10 are my favorites! I have always had great results with these poses because they really bring out a couple's emotional connection and clients love them!
Pose 1. Forehead Kisses!
What can I say? There is something so caring and gentle about a forehead kiss photo. It’s tender and simplistic act is seen and felt more in a photo.
Encourage the guy to give her forehead kiss and you are guaranteed to get a sweet expression on her face where you can tell, for a split second, she is lost in the moment.
Make sure that your couple is also connected in more ways than just the kiss on the forehead or it won't seem authentic. First, have them hold hands or link elbows.
Pose 2. Looking at One Another
Another great interaction that can guarantee connection is to have the couple look into each other's eyes. Having couples lock eyes may elicit a giggle for being put on the spot, or maybe they will get caught up in the moment and produce a genuine smile and connection.
Either way, this a simple tip that will always give you a reaction that is photo worthy!
Pose 3. Faces Together; Looking at the Camera
Faces together, looking at the camera is perhaps the most basic couples pose. It really checks all the boxes of a classic couples portrait. You can mix this pose up a bit by having the man slightly angled toward the camera with the woman slightly behind him laying her head on his shoulder or have the couple embrace each other and then look towards the camera (see both of these poses below).
Pose 4. Arms Around Each Other
While maybe not quite as classic as pose # 3, the arms around each other pose captures connection and expression at the same time.
I like to have the man place his arms on the outside because I think this helps keep the woman looking smaller and the man more masculine. Having the woman join her hands to his in this pose will connect them even more. You can mix this pose up by having him kiss the top of her head or by having them look at one another.
Pose 5. Walking
If your couple is feeling uncomfortable in front of you at all, pull out the walking pose. Its a simple pose because almost everyone can walk.
Ask them to walk toward and then away from you while holding hands, looking and smiling at each other. Have one of them tell a silly joke to get them laughing. Take lots of shots here and make sure to choose the ones with the most flattering "walking legs".
You can change this pose up by changing the way they are holding hands (maybe have her hold his hand with both of hers) or having her put her arm through his. It is also very easy to have them stop and then ask her to lean her head on his shoulder.
Pose 6. Piggy Back/Lift
The piggy back pose will not work for every couple but it will work for many newly engaged couples and it something fun and different. It may even get them laughing while they work this out! Having her ride piggy back works well for couples where there is a big height difference as it automatically puts her face even with his.
If your couple isn't up for a piggy back pose, you can try a simple lift pose. Have the guy put his arms around her waist or just under her arms. Have the girl put her arms around his neck. He can lift her or spin her a bit. If her legs can be seen, have her bend them but have them staggered so it won't look like she just has one leg.
Pose 7. Foreheads Together
Similar to having your couple look at one another, the foreheads together pose can elicit a smile or a sweet moment between the couple. It will get them close and connected very quickly and doesn't require too much additional posing. I love that this pose leads quite easily into a kiss (see the next pose)!
Pose 8. Kisses
While not every couple will be super comfortable kissing in front of a camera, for most couples this comes pretty naturally. A simple kiss is a sweet expression of their relationship and connection. Even if affection doesn't come easily for them, starting with the foreheads together pose will easily lead into a sweet kiss that you can capture.
Pose 9. Sitting Together
So far all the poses we have mentioned have only required the couple to stand. If your location has steps, a bench, or just nice grass, make good use of of it by having your couple sit down there together. I try to have a blanket ready for my couple if the ground is the only option for sitting.
Most couples will do this pretty naturally. I always have them sit so that their hips are touching and then adjust them from there. Make sure that legs are bent and not just shooting straight out at the camera (this will make their feet appear very large).
Have him place his arm around her and then experiment with hand placement and where they are looking. Just slight adjustments to how they are sitting can change the pose and connection dramatically.
Pose 10. Laying Down
Since your couple is already down on the ground, this is a good time to move them to a laying pose. You can have them lay on their stomach or back. A blanket or good grass is a must for this one!
In order to capture them posed laying on their back, you will probably need a small ladder or step stool. You can pose them lying side by side or get creative and have one upside down. In order to capture them posed laying on their stomach, get down on their level. Be careful that nothing is showing that shouldn't! ;)
What are some other ways to help your couples connect?
- Make sure to put them in poses where they have to touch.
- Have your couples wrap up in a quilt or blanket can be a great way to get them close.
I love photographing and posing a couple in love together! Photographer's can, in fact, re-create love through a lens. These tips are a great way of releasing that super power!
Check Out Our Other Posing Guides at the Links Below:
- Posing Tips for Families
- Posing Tips for Toddlers
- Posing Tips for Kids
- Posing Tips for Teens (and Tweens)
Do you have any questions or comments about Couples Posing? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!