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30 Best Couple Poses for Portrait Photography

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Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 18 min read
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Here are some tips and tricks I have learned about couple poses. As a portrait photographer, one of my favorite types of work is couples photography. So, here’s a list of 30 great sample poses to try!

These photography tips will help you guide your couples in your next portrait photoshoot. Whether you’re doing poses for wedding photography, engagement pictures, or a couple’s photoshoot for friends, you’ll help them express their love.

Two people looking at each other over a drink sitting on a beach for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. 135mm, f/3.2, 1/8,000 s, ISO 320. Maria Budanova (Unsplash)
 

30 Best Couple Poses for Portrait Photography

You can give your couple these posing instructions throughout their photoshoot. Feel free to show them reference pictures to help them recreate these poses.

Not every pose works for every couple, and that’s okay. Be open to experimenting with different poses and adjusting the ones on our list. The more poses you try, the more successful your photoshoot will be!

1. Go for a Walk and Hold Hands

This can be done at any point during your photoshoot. Although the classic hand-holding pose is a bit cliché, it never gets old.
Ask the couple to walk in front of you to make your photos more candid. They should have a specific destination, so you know how far to walk.

As the couple walks, they might talk, laugh, or point to something around them. This is the perfect time to shoot spontaneous, authentic photos of couples.

Holding hands while walking on a beach for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a7R IV. 43mm, f/2.8, 1/400 s, ISO 200. Bailey Mahon (Unsplash)

2. 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.

Woman pointing with man beside her for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. 35mm, f/4.0, 1/160 s, ISO 160. Thought Catalog (Unsplash)

3. Balance on Something

This probably sounds like one of the worst couple poses ever, but bear with me! Balancing on something with a partner symbolizes strength and trust.

Of course, the couple shouldn’t balance on something that could easily break. They can stand on a side wall, log, or anything that looks safe and stable. You can take full-body shots or focus on their legs.

Two people pretending to balance on a wall beside the ocean for couple poses
Photo by Camera Treasure (Pexels)
 

4. Stretch Out an Arm

Travel photographer Murad Osmann has popularized this portrait pose. It’s often used in smartphone photography, but you can easily recreate it in your professional couple’s photography.

Shooting in a picturesque location is a good idea for a pose like this. Use a small aperture to ensure that the background remains sharp. You can also use a wide-angle lens to create a comfortable distance between the couple and yourself.

A woman holding a mans hand leading him forward for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a7S II. 16mm, f/4.0, 1/640 s, ISO 50. Karsten Winegeart (Unsplash)

5. Twirl

To make simple couple poses exciting, add movement to your shots. One of your models wearing a long, flowy dress would look fantastic. The model can throw a part of the dress in the air or twirl. Use a fast shutter speed to capture everything sharply.

But a long dress is not necessary. You can still freeze interesting movements in this couple pose.

A man having a woman twirl in the woods for couple poses
Shot with a Nikon D750. 85mm, f/1.4, 1/800 s, ISO 250. Scott Broome (Unsplash)

6. Dance Like No One Is Watching

Many people find dancing awkward, especially when a camera is pointed at them. This is exactly why you should ask the couple to dance! The awkwardness will inevitably make them laugh. This helps them loosen up, which might lead to more joyful couple portraits.

Two people dancing on steps outside for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS R5. 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1,000 s, ISO 160. Jonathan Borba (Unsplash)
 

7. Do Something Silly

Ask the couple to do something silly, like make the ugliest faces imaginable. This will likely make them laugh, which 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.

A woman picking up a man with both of them laughing for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a7 III. 35mm, f/1.8, 1/1,000 s, ISO 100. Daniel Azmanov (Unsplash)

8. Get Lost in an Activity

One of the easiest ways to take candid couple portraits is to photograph your models when they’re busy. Allow the couple to do something that they both love during your couple’s photoshoot.

This can be skating, walking, eating ice cream, singing, or anything else they genuinely enjoy. While the couple is lost in their world, you’ll get to capture all kinds of cute poses for couples.

You can also 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 helps define their relationship.

A couple on road bikes with fog in the background for couple poses
Cropped. Shot with a Canon EOS R. 35mm, f/3.2, 1/1,000 s, ISO 250. Himway Bikes (Unsplash).

9. Pick Each Other Up

Ask the couple to take turns picking each other up. It’s fun to make your models laugh and be playful in front of the camera!

Black-and-white shots are very common in portrait photography. It gets rid of distracting colors and emphasizes emotions.

Shooting in black-and-white during close-ups can intensify the romantic atmosphere in your images. You can also convert your color photos to black-and-white later.

A man with a woman over his shoulder for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a7 III. 35mm, f/1.8, 1/1,000 s, ISO 100. Daniel Azmanov (Unsplash)
 

10. Piggyback Ride

The couple can take turns carrying each other on their backs. Piggyback rides might be childish, 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 will also make the couple laugh and feel at ease in front of your camera.

Piggyback ride for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 90D. 24mm, f/3.2, 1/1,600 s, ISO 100. Javier González (Unsplash)

11. Sit on Shoulders

This is a fun pose that inevitably makes the couple laugh. Ensure it’s safe and comfortable for the couple to do this. Shoot vertically to get proper full-body couple portraits. Take a few steps away from the couple before they try this pose so your camera doesn’t miss a moment.

A woman in a hat sitting on a man's shoulders pouring a drink into his mouth for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. 35mm, f/1.4, 1/1,600 s, ISO 800. Jennifer Kalenberg (Unsplash)

12. Hold Hands With a Look

Have the couple hold hands and look at each other. This simple but powerful pose can show a deep connection.

You can also have the couple look outward in the same direction while holding hands. They’ll look like a powerful duo in your photos. Looking in one direction symbolizes strong values.

Black-and-white photo of a couple holding hands and looking at each other for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. 24mm, f/5.0, 1/50 s, ISO 100. Edward Cisneros (Unsplash)
 

13. Gently Hold the Other’s Face

You can capture a tender moment by asking the couple to hold or caress each other’s faces. They can gently caress each other’s cheeks or faces with one or 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. But it’s best to only do this pose after the couple feels comfortable. If you start with this, they might feel a bit awkward.

A woman holding a man's face with his arms wrapped around her for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T8i (850D). 24mm, f/1.4, 1/250 s, ISO 100. Melanie Rosillo Galvan (Unsplash)

14. Lean on the Other Person

This is a simple but effective couple pose. It is easy to do as a stand-alone pose or during events.

One of your models can lean on the other’s shoulder. You can take photos behind them to show what they’re looking at. Their view can be something like a fireworks show or anything that tells a story about the couple’s relationship.

A woman leaning on her partner for couple poses
Shot with a Nikon D7100. 50mm, f/4.0, 1/250 s, ISO 100. Євгенія Височина (Unsplash)
 

15. Touch Noses or Foreheads

The traditional Māori greeting is pressing your nose against someone else’s. You can incorporate this peaceful greeting into your couple’s 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. And if they laugh while they do this, you’ll get even better shots!

Two women in a sunflower field standing with their foreheads touching for couple poses
Shot with a Nikon D750. 24mm, f/2.0, 1/640 s, ISO 125. Jayson Hinrichsen (Unsplash)

16. Lean In at Sunset

This is one of the most popular couple poses incorporating the previous tips. The couple should lean toward 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, ensuring the couple stands right above it. This creates a beautiful haze.

You can create a silhouette by having the couple stand directly in front of the light. This covers the sun and creates interesting dark shadows. (See the end of the article for an example.)

Two people leaning in for a kiss at sunset for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 109mm, f/9.0, 1/250 s, ISO 100. Klara Kulikova (Unsplash)

17. 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 allows you to photograph both of their faces at once. Because their faces are so close, you can take romantic close-up photos. You can also have them close their eyes for a bigger emotional impact. This is also a good opportunity to capture fun and joyful couple photos.

A woman hugging a man from behind for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 90D. 24mm, f/3.5, 1/1,600 s, ISO 100. Javier González (Unsplash)
 

18. Kiss a Hand

Kissing someone’s hand has always symbolized respect, love, and admiration. For this reason, it’s a good pose to use often during a couple’s photoshoot.

Combining it with other poses can make your couple’s photos look even more unique. For example, the couple can kiss each other’s hands while they walk. Or, one can kiss the other’s hand while they hug them from behind.

A man kissing a woman's hand on a bridge for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i (600D). 50mm, f/4.0, 1/800 s, ISO 100. Lo Lindo (Unsplash)

19. Kiss the Forehead

A forehead kiss is another subtle but sweet gesture for close-up portrait photography. The couple can be standing, sitting, or even lying down. With this couple pose, you can get very creative.

A woman kissing a man on the forehead for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D Mark II. 50mm, f/5.0, 1/800 s, ISO 400. Dmitry Ganin (Unsplash)

20. Kiss a Cheek

Cheek kisses are a classic pose in couple photography. If your models don’t want to kiss in your presence, cheek kisses are the next best thing. It’s a sweet gesture ideal for close-up photography.

A man kissing a woman on the cheek for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (100D). 50mm, f/2.8, 1/160 s, ISO 200. Lauren Rader (Unsplash) -kissing cheek
 

21. Kiss Under an Umbrella

Photoshoots in the rain tend to be the most romantic. But having special rain equipment, like a camera cover or sleeve, is a good idea.

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.

Two people kissing under an umbrella in the rain for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. 85mm, f/1.2, 1/6,400 s, ISO 250. Alireza Dolati (Unsplash)

22. Kiss With a Leg Lifted

This is a popular couple pose in the kissing category. One person can lift their leg behind them while their partner kisses them. This might sound simple, but it adds a huge difference in couple photos and makes them more interesting.

Alternatively, one person can dip their partner and lift their leg while they kiss. This can add a bit more drama and dynamism to the image composition.

Two people kissing with a wave washing ashore and the man tilting her back and lifting the woman's leg for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 35mm, f/2.2, 1/640 s, ISO 640. Vince Fleming (Unsplash)

23. Kiss in a Cozy Place

You can easily create many couple poses in cozy spaces on location or at home. You can have a couple’s photoshoot in a fun place, like on an amusement park ride or in a cozy room at home.

Your goal is to find a location that relaxes both of them. Ask them to kiss, hug, or hold hands.

Two people kissing with an elevator closing for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a7 IV. 53mm, f/4.5, 1/160 s, ISO 3,200. Jocelyn Allen (Unsplash)
 

24. Sit on Steps Together

Ask the couple to sit on a set of stairs or steps together. Steps can look just as beautiful as chairs in couple photos. This pose lets you showcase the couple’s outfits in all their glory. It lets the couple rest, chat, and pose more comfortably.

Two people sitting on steps with the woman laughing for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 50mm, f/2.5, 1/1,600 s, ISO 1,000. Lucas Mendes (Unsplash)

25. Feed Each Other

This might sound like another weird idea, but it’s a great pose for candid couple photography. This is easiest to do in cafes, malls, or around food trucks, where you can find a variety of treats.

One of the models should feed the other. Ensure the food isn’t something that would result in awkward pictures, like pasta! For example, you can try different fruits, like grapes, cherries, or berries.

A man feeding a woman dessert at a restaurant for couple poses
Shot with a Sony a6000. 29mm, f/4.5, 1/60 s, ISO 1,000. Keriliwi (Unsplash)

26. Have a Conversation

You can find many romantic outdoor locations for this couple pose. Or, 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 talk. For lighting, you can use fairy lights and a lamp. Fairy lights create the perfect romantic atmosphere for a photoshoot.

Ask your models to interact with their surroundings, talk to each other, and ignore the camera. This gives you lots of opportunities to take spontaneous couple photos.

Two people sitting outside at dusk with fairy lights for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 20mm, f/2.8, 1/20 s, ISO 3,200. Jonathan Borba (Unsplash)
 

27. Whisper Something

Here’s another cute photo pose for couples. Ask the couple to share jokes, say something silly, or whisper gibberish into their partner’s ear. Then, shoot photos of them as they do this.

You’re guaranteed to get a lot of unexpected reactions, so make sure you shoot in burst mode. This continuous shooting lets you take multiple photos sequentially by holding your shutter down.

A woman whispering something in a man's ear for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. 40mm, f/2.8, 1/400 s, ISO 100. Jessica Hearn (Unsplash)

28. Snuggle Under a Cute Blanket

This is one of the most popular couple poses for autumn or winter photoshoots of couples. The couple can lean on each other while they snuggle under a blanket.

Make sure the blanket complements their outfits and isn’t too vibrant. It should just be a prop that adds coziness to your photos.

Two people in an embrace standing under a blanket outside for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 35mm, f/1.4, 1/160 s, ISO 250. Helena Lopes (Unsplash)

29. Lie Next to Each Other

This is a great pose for portrait photography shot from above. When shooting from above, it’s best to use a step ladder and a wide-angle lens. This ensures you get panoramic portraits without stepping on your models’ faces.

Your models can look at each other or the camera. Make sure they don’t look in different directions. This makes them look bored or disinterested in each other.

Shot from above of two people laying next to each other cheek to cheek for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D Mark II. 50mm, f/1.8, 1/250 s, ISO 400. Tabitha Turner (Unsplash)

30. Cheek to Cheek

Detailed photos can say a lot more about a relationship than you think. This easy couple pose helps you take beautiful close-ups of the couple’s eyes. All they have to do is lie very close to each other.

Get in close with a zoom lens and capture both of your couple’s eyes. This is a great way to emphasize their similarities and differences.

Close-up of two people cheek to cheek for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS 6D. 135mm, f/2.5, 1/200 s, ISO 640. (Unsplash)
 

4 Tips for a Successful Couple’s Photoshoot

Now that you have the 30 best poses for couples portraits let’s discuss some general tips you can use during the photoshoot.

1. Arrange Coordinating Outfits

What your subject wears influences their mindset. And you can tell whether they are comfortable from their pose and facial expression.

I always tell my models to wear something that makes them feel confident and comfortable. Tell them beforehand if you want your model to run, jump, or sit. This way, their choice of clothing lets them move freely.

Ask them to coordinate outfits to give a sense of connection. But this doesn’t mean they have to be dressed the same way!

Have the couple wear complementary colors and consider the fashion look they want. As you look through the pictures in our article, notice the couple’s complementary clothing.

I usually recommend that my clients avoid patterns, letters, drawings, or strong colors. These might distract from the picture’s most important element—their bond.

Two people dancing on a desert highway in matching western outfits for couple poses
Shot with a Fujifilm X-T3. 56mm, f/2.5, 1/8,000 s, ISO 400. Asdrubal Luna (Unsplash)
 

2. Make Adjustments Beforehand

Before you start a couple’s photoshoot, let your models know you’ll be directing them. Also, tell them if they need to adjust their hair or clothes. You want them to look lovely in the photos. And it’s your responsibility to make them look as great as possible.

Always pay attention to how they look. Look at them both on and away from your camera’s LCD screen. Get used to checking their hair and clothes before pressing the shutter. After a while, you’ll do it without realizing it.

They’ll appreciate how thorough you are. This also helps them relax, knowing they have one less thing to worry about.

My experience has taught me that long hair can get pretty unruly while shooting outdoors. I recommend bringing a comb, hair ties, and hairpins if your models need them.

Two men in jeans and no shirt jumping with hands held on a beach for couple poses
Shot with a Fujifilm X-T1. 39mm, f/8.0, 1/400 s, ISO 200. Christian Buehner (Unsplash)
 

3. Have Them Talk Romance

The great thing about working with couples is that they can interact with each other. They help each other fall into natural poses and situations.

This helps them relax and not feel as awkward as a single model might feel in front of the camera. They both know what makes the other smile or laugh. Use this to your benefit.

You still need to help them by setting the right mood and interacting with them. I like to ask my models how they met, what they like to do together, and what they like about each other.

I look for subjects that make them remember happy moments. This cements their bond, which shines through in the photographs. If they’re thinking about their love, it shines through in their mood and poses.

Silhouette of couple at dusk of a man kissing a woman's forehead for couple poses
Shot with a Canon EOS SL3 (250 D or 200D II). 55mm, f/5.0, 1/400 s, ISO 3,200. Kiran Kesarapu (Unsplash)
 

4. Use a Posing Guide

I like to separate my couple’s photography poses into categories for refernce. And I make sure to have two or three poses for each category in mind before the shoot. Here are some categories of couple poses I use:

  • Walking
  • Holding hands
  • Standing poses
  • Leaning on a wall
  • Kissing
  • Sitting
  • Lying down

I start by giving the couple some suggestions from these basic pose ideas. I then let the couple interpret for themselves what the pose should look like. As they pose naturally, I capture the moments.

When taking portrait photographs, it’s important to be ready to adapt. If one pose doesn’t work, try another. Mix up the posing ideas and try different camera angles.

This applies to shooting any couple’s photography, from an engagement shoot to a casual photo session. Various poses keep your clients from becoming uncomfortable, bored, or frustrated.

Couple kissing under white Christmas lights for couple poses
Shot with a Nikon D5300. 50mm, f/4.0, 1/160 s, ISO 800. Vladimir Sayapin (Unsplash)
 

Conclusion: Best Couple Poses

Use any of the couple poses in this article to inspire your photography. Remember to guide your couple poses with gentle instruction and let them be themselves.

I recommend telling them to walk, dance, or experiment with different movements. You can get really beautiful candid photos this way! Make them feel comfortable and create a nice environment. Their love will shine through for you to photograph!