Posing Couples

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I find that explaining how to pose couples can depend on a lot of variables.

Things I consider:

  • What is the environment – is there an activity they will be partaking in?
  • Do they want posed portraits?
  • Is there a theme the client wants (did they bring props)?

Each client is different – some bring props, others revolve a session around an event, like a State Fair, and some just want peace and quiet in a field.  A photographer cannot shoot the same in each environment, because each client is unique which makes sessions incredibly fun, or for some, stressful if not given enough scenarios to practice.

First, let me say that it’s so much easier than you think – just read your client.

Their choice of location says it all.

Active location

Say, the state fair, or the couple says they want to look like they are fishing, playing ball, flying a kite, you pretty much have it easy – you document the fun.  Find the location, and find ways to capture moments.

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I loved MJ and Jon’s session at the State Fair – it revolved around activities and little posing. The posing was minimal, I just gave instructions that included, kiss, and look at each other.

The Non-Posing Pose

Find a creative, natural way for your couples touch – and it doesn’t have to always be by their hands or lips.

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Sitting can be creative, and also romantic.  Yes, we don’t sit on stairs like that, but isn’t it just lovely to see something a bit more dramatic?

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Romantic Moments

Yes you pose them into these romantic moments. The eyes down, kiss her temple is always sweet.  I tend to drop my voice and be a little quieter in my tone.  Sometimes we can be overly excited or high energy that it can rile up our clients – which is great for children or the laughing shots, but when you want your image to be quite, start with yourself.  The quietness will follow.

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Circle noses or what I call, “sharing space” is sweet too – this is a close up in a classic car for this maternity session.

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Isolated Locations

For locations that can stand alone, the couple concentrates on the character of their location – so your job is to plop them in, and look as if you just captured them in their natural setting.  Like a walk through Prescott (if the wardrobe allows).  They can hold hands, walk or look at each other.

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You – you move around

Posing is just the first thing about getting a good shot – the other part is where you are standing.

The traditional wedding shot, hands around waist, or hug, whichever is your jam, but what about…

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…then walking around behind them and taking this shot?  Or, you have them quickly turn around and face the other way?

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Posing Tip Summary

  • Don’t ask your clients what they want – you can easily tell by their location choice and if they have a planned activity.  Don’t ask them if they have a planned activity, you’ll know if if they have one trust me.  Ex: If they pick a farm, they probably want chicks and live stock around them, no need to ask.  If they pick Sedona, they want tranquility and to showcase the scenery.   In fact, just don’t ask to many questions in general, you’ll stress them out and look as if you don’t know what you are doing.
  • Make a posing list on a label and stick it on the bottom of your camera – nuzzle noses, back of head, walking, etc.  Name your poses and have a quick look when you tell your couples to “relax” you can look down at the bottom and be inspired – trust me your clients are not watching you.
  • Eyes closed, look at each other, kiss her temple, he looks at her while she looks at you – those are 4 different looks right there.  Move around or slap on a different lens and you just multiplied your shot count.
  • You can do the same poses at different locations in the same session.  It’s repetition – that’s how you get your style, same poses, same settings, different location.
  • Watch their hands – if they look uncomfortable or stiff, get in and rearrange it.
  • Use positive affirmation.  Never use negative words like – “no” “nevermind” “no, like this”  You are only pointing out they are doing it incorrectly.  Instead, say, “Let’s try this,”  or “a little more,” and positive affirmation.  Even if they are doing it wrong, take your shot (pixels are free) and then quickly jump into rearrange.  Never laugh at your client or make them feel embarrassed – while this is typically unintentional, sometimes we are nervous ourselves we try to alleviate the pressure off ourselves, try to refrain.
  • Want more? Read an article I wrote for SLRLounge.com here.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

6 Comments

  • Carissa

    I am photographing a wedding this Saturday, my first as the main shooter in a long while (excuses: moving, surprise pregnancy, baby, in that order) and I just made my little posing list and stuck it to the bottom of my camera. Just had to tell you : ) Thanks for the tip.

    Oh, and if you think of it, please say a little prayer, because the weather forecast is 60% chance of rain + thunderstorms (and everything is supposed to be outside) *monkey covering eyes emoji*

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I’m so glad that posing tip helped, good luck and will be praying for no rain. I did shoot a wedding in the rain – the NY wedding. It was during portraits and it made for a cute shoot. 60% isn’t too bad! Enjoy! I know you will capture some great moments!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you so much, this was sooooo helpful! I’m totally going to take your advice and tape poses to the bottom of my camera ;)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I’m SO glad you found this helpful! LMK what else you want me to post about! I need ideas.

  • Courtney

    Aaron and I are still practicing ‘circle noses’ :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Oh you two!!!! I think I reminisce about your wedding just as often as you both do, can we do it again, please? ;) You and Aaron had the circling noses down!

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