As a portrait photographer, one of my favorite types of work is couples photography. Here are some tools and tricks I have learned along the way about couple poses.
These photography tips will help you guide your couples in your next portrait photo shoot.
12. Have Them Wear Coordinating Outfits
Your subject’s mindset is aided by what they wear. On top of this, you can tell from the way a person poses and their facial expression if they are comfortable or not.
I always tell my models to wear something that makes them feel confident, as well as comfortable in.
If you are going to make them run, jump or sit, tell them ahead of time. This way their choice will allow them to move freely.
To give a sense of connection and so your couple complement each other, get them to coordinate outfits. This doesn’t mean they have to be dressed the same way.
Have the couple wear colors that compliment each other. think about the fashion style too. As you go through this article, notice how the couples’ clothing is complimentary.
I also usually recommend my clients avoid patterns, letters, drawings or strong colors. These might distract from what’s important in the picture – the bond between them.
11. Make Any Other Adjustments Before You Shoot
Before you start the photo session, tell your models that you will direct them. You might also let them know if they need to adjust their hair or clothes.
You want them to look lovely in the photos and it is your responsibility to make them look as great as possible. Pay attention to how they look, both on and off the LCD screen.
They will appreciate your attitude. This will also help them relax, knowing that they have one less thing to worry about.
Get used to always checking their hair and clothes before pressing the shutter release. After a while, you’ll do it without realizing.
My experience taught me that long hair can get really wild while shooting outdoors. I recommend you always bring a comb and some hairpins with you, just in case your models need them.
10. Get Them to Talk About Their Romance
The great thing about working with couples is that they can interact with each other. they will help each other fall into natural poses and situations.
This helps them relax and not feel so awkward as a single model might feel in front of the camera. They both know what makes the other smile or laugh, which is a benefit.
You still need to help them by setting the right mood, interacting and talking with them. I like to ask my models how they met, the things they like to do together, or the things they like about each other.
I look for subjects that will make them remember happy moments. This cements the bond between them, which in turn, shows on the photographs.
If they’re thinking about their romance, this will show through in their mood and poses.
9. Use a Posing Guide for Reference Before the Shoot
I like to separate my poses into categories and make sure I have two or three for each in mind.
Some categories are: standing poses, leaning on a wall, walking, holding hands, kissing, sitting, or lying down.
I start by giving the couple suggestions from these few basic pose ideas. Then I let the couple interpret for themselves what the pose should look like.
As they pose in whatever comes naturally to them, I capture the moments. I am an observer after all.
When you’re doing portrait photography, it’s important to be ready to adapt. If one pose doesn’t work, change to another. Mix up the posing ideas and try different angles.
This applies to any kind of couple photography, from an engagement shoot to a casual photo session.
A mixture of different poses will keep your clients from growing uncomfortable or frustrated.
Walking Couples Poses
Sitting Couples Poses
Leaning On Something
Memorizing your list of couples poses will get easier the more photo sessions you do. It is important to have them written down just in case.
You can also write a list of couples poses that are new to you, and have it with you while shooting. Or you can keep a visual list of poses on your phone or tablet.
Here you can see me during a photo session checking my couples poses references collection on my phone.
One of the advantages of having it on my phone is that I can also show it to the models during the session. This helps them visualize the pose better.
Walking Poses Will Add Movement to an Image
I make my couples walk a lot. Photos of this kind look and feel very natural and the couple can enjoy a moment of “rest” from the photo shoot.
What I usually do is to tell them to walk away from me for a bit and I take photos of them from behind.
Then I ask them to stop and look back at me. After that, I ask them to walk back towards me and I take photos from the front and their side. It flows nicely.
Another really cute photo idea is when she is walking a bit ahead of him holding his hand.
This also gives you options: both looking forward or looking at each other. This makes for a great couples pose.
Dancing Poses Make for Fun, Romantic Pictures
Dancing in the middle of the street without any music or reason creates an awkward moment of shared embarrassment. It is a little juvenile, but it adds a playfulness to the shot.
Most of the time, this will make your models laugh.
Your aim here is to take photos of that genuine moment of laughter and not necessarily of their dance.
Get Them Close to Each Other
What we want to show in a couple’s photo session is the love and connection they share.
There is no better way to do that than to get them close to each other, really close. The closeness is the difference between a couple and two acquaintances.
This doesn’t necessarily mean kissing. Photos in which the couple is almost kissing are great because they have a romantic tension in them.
Perfect for embellishing those romantic poses.
All types of hugs are welcome: face to face, one in front of the other, standing, sitting…
Combine these photos with other photography poses in which the couple is not so close.
This adds diversity to your photo session.
Give Them Clear, Specific Instructions
Couples find it helpful when you tell them where to look at. As you are holding a camera and talking with them, there is a natural tendency to look at the camera.
This works for some poses. But couple photos usually have a more romantic look when they’re looking at each other or in the same direction.
Tell them where you want them to look at and if possible, use visual instructions.
“Look towards the sea” is always clearer than saying “Look to the right”.
(Which right? My right? Her right? Your right?)
Include the Environment in Your Couple Photos
Adapt the poses to the elements you find at the location. Benches, stairs or doors can be interacted with.
Have your couple lean against walls or trees, or create a frame around your couple with a door or a bridge.
Use your imagination and have fun. The important thing is that your couple looks comfortable, and their pose, natural.
Take Some Paparazzi Inspired Photos
Couples photography doesn’t have to look staged. Try and grab a few shots where it looks as if they are completely unaware of the photographer.
Place yourself farther away from the couple and look for something to frame them with like leaves, flowers, a door, or a window. Focus on the couple so that the frame stays blurry.
This gives the feeling that the photo was taken in secret and gives it a more natural feeling.
The effect works really well with photos in which the couple is kissing or hugging, so encourage them to do so.
Photograph the Details
Include some photos of details, focus on specific parts like hands or feet. Holding hands is a great way to show love.
You can also take photos of just their feet while they hug or dance. An impression can offer as much or more than when it is shown 100%.
Include Fun Poses
You can get them into these poses by making them run, jump up, jump on each other, walk one next to the other giving little pushes to each other, silly faces… it is a great way to show the joy of love.
You can combine them with more classical couple photos to get a wonderfully diverse photoshoot!
The key is not to take only silly photos or only serious photos.
Feel free to use any of the photos in this article for inspiration and ideas for your own photos. Remember to guide your couple using easy instructions, but also let them be themselves.
I recommend you to tell them to do things such as walking and dancing and experiment with the situation. You can get really beautiful candid photos this way!
Make them feel comfortable, create a nice environment and their love will shine through for you to photograph!