As a portrait photographer, one of my favourite types of work is couples photography. Here are some tools and tricks I have learned along the way about couple poses, plus 30 great sample poses to try.
These photography tips will help you guide your couples in your next portrait photo shoot.
Tips for a Successful Couple Photoshoot
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 that your couple can complement each other, get them to coordinate outfits. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be dressed the same way!
Have the couple wear colors that compliment each other. And don’t forget to think about fashion style too. As you go through this article, notice how the couples’ clothing is complimentary.
Make Any Necessary Adjustments Before You Shoot
Before you start the couple photoshoot, let your models know that you will direct them. You might also tell them 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.
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, though, 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.
Use a Posing Guide for Reference Before the Couple Shoot
I like to separate my couple photography poses into categories and make sure I have two or three for each in mind.
Some couple pose categories are:
- standing poses
- leaning on a wall
- holding hands
- 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.
This applies to shooting 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, bored, or frustrated.
30 Best Couple Poses for Portrait Photography
These are instructions that you can give to the couple throughout the photoshoot. Feel free to show them the reference pictures to help them re-create these poses more accurately.
Not every pose will work for every couple, and that’s okay.
Be open to experimenting with different poses and adjusting the ones on this list. The more poses you try, the closer you’ll get to having a successful couple photoshoot.
30. Gently Hold the Other Person’s Face
You can capture a tender moment by asking the couple to hold each other’s faces. They can gently caress each other’s cheeks or just hold their face with both hands. Ask them to look into each other’s eyes while they do this.
This is a great way to create intimacy in your photos. However, you should do this pose when the couple feels comfortable. If you start with this immediately, they might feel a bit awkward.
29. Hold Hands and Go for a Walk
This can be done at any point during your photoshoot. The classic hand-holding couple pose might be a bit cliché, but it never gets old.
To make your photos more candid, ask the couple to walk in front of you. They should have a specific destination so that you all know how far you should go.
As the couple walks, they might have a conversation, laugh, or point out something around them. This is the perfect time for shooting spontaneous and authentic couple photos.
28. Hug From Behind
There are different ways to hug a person. Instead of hugging each other directly, the couple can try a hug from behind.
This will let you photograph both of the couple’s faces at once. Because their faces are so close, you can take romantic close-up photos. This is also a great opportunity to capture fun and joyful couple photos.
27. Touch Noses
The traditional Māori greeting is pressing your nose against someone else’s. This is a peaceful greeting that you can incorporate in your couple photoshoot.
Your models can touch noses. Their foreheads can also touch to create more intimacy. Take close-up shots of them as they do this. If they laugh while they do this, you’ll get even better shots!
26. Piggyback Ride
The couple can take turns carrying each other on their backs. Piggyback rides might be juvenile, but they’re a fantastic way to loosen up and have fun. If you notice that the couple feels awkward, start with this pose to relax them.
A piggyback ride pose is guaranteed to make the couple laugh and feel at ease in front of your camera.
25. Kiss on the Forehead
A forehead kiss is another subtle but sweet gesture for close-up portrait photography.
The black and white (B&W) effect is very common in couple portrait photography. It gets rid of distracting colours and emphasises emotions.
You can shoot in B&W mode when you take close-ups to intensify the romantic atmosphere in your images. Alternatively, you can also convert your photos to B&W later.
24. Kiss Hands
Kissing someone’s hand has always been a symbol of respect, love, and admiration. You can use this pose very often during your couple shoot.
Combining it with other poses will make your couple photos look even more unique. For example, the couple can kiss each other’s hands while they walk. One of them can kiss the other’s hand while they hug them from behind.
23. Lean on Each Other in Front of a Sunset
This is one of the most popular couple poses out there. The couple should lean on each other until their foreheads touch. They can even press their noses together.
The background should be a sunset or a bright source of light. Shoot against the light, making sure the couple is standing right above the light. This will create a beautiful haze.
You can create a silhouette by making the couple stand directly in front of the light. This will cover it and create interesting dark shadows.
22. Balance on a Log Together
I know that this probably sounds like one of the worst couple poses ever, but bear with me! Balancing on something with a partner symbolises strength and trust.
Of course, the couple doesn’t have to balance on something that could easily break. They can just stand on a log or anything that looks like one. You can take full body shots or focus on their legs.
21. Kiss in a Cozy and Homey Atmosphere
There are lots of couple poses you can easily create at home. You can also have a couple photoshoot in a place where your models have the most fun. Your goal is to find a location that relaxes both of them.
Ask them to kiss, hug, or hold hands. As you do this, focus away from them. Focus on something that they both own or like. This can be a pet, a cup of coffee, or anything that perfectly defines their relationship.
20. Whisper Something Funny Into the Other Person’s Ear
This is another pose that you can use to take cute pictures of couples. Ask the couple to share jokes, say something silly, or just whisper gibberish into their partner’s ear. Try shooting photos of them as they do this.
You’re guaranteed to get a lot of unexpected reactions, so make sure you shoot in continuous mode. This will let you take multiple photos by pressing your shutter speed for a long time.
19. Pick Each Other Up
Ask the couple to take turns picking each other up. This might sound silly, but it’s a fun way to make your models laugh and be silly in front of the camera!
18. Snuggle Under a Cute Blanket
Make sure the blanket coordinates with their outfits and isn’t too vibrant. It should just be a prop that adds cosiness to your photos.
17. Hold Hands and Look in One Direction Together
Looking in one direction symbolises strong values. If the couple looks in the same direction while holding hands, they’ll look like a powerful duo in your photos.
16. Dance Like No One Is Watching
Dancing is an awkward activity for many people, especially when there’s a camera pointing at them. This is exactly why you should ask the couple to dance!
The awkwardness will inevitably make them laugh. This will help them loosen up, which might lead to a lot of joyful couple portraits.
15. Kiss Them on the Cheek
Cheek kisses are a classic pose in couple photography. They’re the next best thing if your models don’t want to actually kiss in front of you. It’s a sweet gesture that, like nose-touching, is ideal for close-up photography.
14. Stretch Your Arm Out and Hold Their Hands
Travel photographer Murad Osmann has made this portrait pose very popular. It’s often used in smartphone photography, but you can easily re-create it in your professional couples photography.
For a pose like this, it’s a good idea to shoot in a picturesque location. Use a small aperture to ensure that the background looks as detailed as possible.
You can also use a zoom lens to create a comfortable distance between the couple and yourself.
13. Lean on The Other Person’s Shoulder and Look at Something Interesting
This couple pose is easiest to do during events. One of your models should lean on the other’s shoulder. You should take photos behind them to show what they’re looking at.
Their view can be a firework show, a beautiful store, or anything that tells a story about the couple’s relationship.
12. Have a Conversation in a Romantic Couple DIY Setting
If you have some extra time on your hands, make a DIY studio. There’s no limit to what you can do with simple props. You can build a tent where the couple can pose and your lighting can be fairy lights and a lamp.
This will create the perfect romantic atmosphere for a photoshoot. Ask your models to interact with their surroundings, talk, and ignore your camera. This will give you lots of opportunities to take spontaneous couple photos.
11. Lift Her Leg up While They Kiss
This is a popular couple pose in the kissing category. Your model can lift one leg behind her while kissing her partner.
This might sound simple, but it makes a huge difference in couple photos. It can make the couple look happy and improve your composition.
10. Get Lost in a Couple Activity That They Both Love
One of the easiest ways to take candid couple portraits is to photograph your models when they’re busy. Give the couple an opportunity to do something that they both love to do together during your couple photoshoot.
This can be skating, walking, eating ice-cream, singing, or anything else that they both genuinely enjoy. While the couple is lost in their own world, you’ll get to capture all kinds of cute poses for couples.
9. Lie Next to Each Other on a Bed or Picnic Blanket
This is a great pose for aerial portrait photography. You can take great shots using a camera or a drone.
When you’re shooting from above, you need to use a ladder and a wide-angle lens. This will ensure that you get panoramic portraits without stepping on your models’ faces.
Your models can look at each other lovingly or both look at the camera. Make sure they don’t look in different directions. This will make them look bored or disinterested in each other.
8. Kiss Under an Umbrella in the Rain
Photo shoots in the rain tend to be the most romantic. Take into account that you’ll need special rain equipment for your camera, though.
For unique couple photos, use a transparent umbrella. Shoot directly through the umbrella to create a soft and hazy effect. You can also cover part of your lens with the umbrella to create a beautiful blurred foreground.
7. Twirl in a Flowy Skirt or Dress
To make simple couple photos exciting, add movement to your shots. You can easily do this if one of your models is wearing a long and flowy dress.
All the model has to do is throw a part of the dress in the air or twirl. Use a fast shutter speed to capture everything sharply.
6. Lie Next to Each Other for Beautiful Couple Eye Close-Ups
Detailed photos can say a lot more about a relationship than you think. This is an easy pose that will help you take beautiful eye close-ups of the couple. All they have to do is lie very close to each other.
Get close using a zoom lens. Capture both of your couple’s eyes. This is a great way to emphasise their similarities and differences.
5. Feed Each Other Something Delicious
This might sound like another weird idea, but it’s a great pose for candid couple photography. This is easiest to do in amusement parks, where you can find a variety of treats.
One of the models should feed the other. Make sure the food isn’t something that would result in awkward pictures, like pasta! For example, you can try different fruits such as grapes, cherries, or different types of berries.
4. Do Something Silly
Ask the couple to make the ugliest faces imaginable. It’s very likely that this will make them laugh. This is when you can start taking exciting portraits.
The point of this pose is to make your models have fun, and laugh. You can also tell them a bad joke, share a funny personal story, or make them do something awkward on purpose.
3. Point at Something
The couple should point at something interesting together. You can photograph them up close or create a wide shot where you can see what they’re pointing at.
2. Sit on the Other Person’s Shoulders
This is a fun pose that will inevitably make the couple laugh. Make sure you shoot vertically so you can get proper full-body couple portraits.
Take a few steps away from the couple before they try this pose so that your camera doesn’t miss a moment!
1. Sit on Steps Together
Ask the couple to sit on a set of stairs or steps together. Steps tend to look more beautiful than chairs in couple photos.
This pose will give you the opportunity to show off the couple’s outfits in their full glory. It will also give the couple some time to rest, chat, and comfortably pose for you.
Feel free to use any of the couple poses in this article for inspiration and ideas for your own photos. Remember to guide your couple poses through easy instructions, but don’t forget to 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!