There's something exceptionally beautiful about well-executed couple poses. Couples photography is far broader than the classic examples of engagement and wedding sessions. More and more couples are looking to professional photographers to capture their personal stories to share with their friends and family.
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Couples photography has evolved into its own art form, a method of telling a love story in creative visual ways. There are as many techniques and approaches to couples photography as there are couples in the world.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get cute couple poses:
Make a Plan before the Couple Photoshoot
Like all good portrait sessions, cute couple photos don't just magically happen. They take a little bit of technique and planning. Great pictures aren't taken, they're made. To that end, a good photographer will be mission-oriented to getting the best photos from the very beginning. And to accomplish that, they're going to have to befriend the couple.
All portraits come down to the models' comfort level. If the pair is uptight and uncomfortable around you, you aren't going to be able to get very good photographs. So from the first time you meet with your couple, focus on making the experience fun and exciting.
The best way to accomplish this is with an informal consultation, where you meet them without a camera. Put together an inspiration board or idea book with your favorite couple's photographs. Talk honestly about what you like and what you don't like. Encourage them to do the same. Work out some rough couple poses drawing examples based on the ideas that you all come up with. The goal is to figure out what sort of photo session the couple wants and then to make it happen.
Part of the pre-shoot consultation should include some discussion of attire. There are many paths to take, and a lot of ideas might come from the inspiration board or couple poses drawing.
The wardrobe choices are entirely up to you and the couple. Many cute couple poses come from wardrobe choices that help tell the story. From formal evening wear to casual t-shirts and shorts or much less, the sky is the limit.
The rule of thumb for any choices, from wardrobe to location to poses, is that the couple must be comfortable. Forcing laid-back surfers into suits and gowns isn't going to work, just like taking city folks and putting them in cowboy boots isn't going to work.
The pair needs to be at home in their outfits, and they must believe that they look good in it. Never force them to be someone they're not.
Keep an Eye on the Small Stuff
Photographers must keep their eyes on the photo composition, the poses, and the technicalities of the camera. But all the while, it's important to keep an eye on little details. If outdoors in the wind, hairstyles and outfits can get blown out of place and into awkward positions. Be nice about it, but keep on top of these little issues that will have a big effect on the photos. In the end, everyone wants the photos to make them look great.
There are a few other things that photographers need to watch out for. Hands should never go in pockets, which can make a person look like an amputee in a two-dimensional photograph. Viewers will always follow where fingers are pointed, so use that tool in your composition. Also, in most poses, their hips should be touching. Awkward spacing in photos ruins the look of closeness.
As with all portraiture, avoid face-on flat images and square posing. Look for interesting angles and use three-quarters poses to their maximum effect.
Couple photos work well in any type of location. Like the wardrobe choices, the perfect place is one where the couple is happy and relaxed. But you can use the site to tell more about these people and their love. Pick a place that they are passionate about, be it a park in the city where they got engaged or a mountain cabin where they love to spend summer vacations.
Themed Couple Pose Shoots
The theme of all couple photos is the relationship between the subjects. Their story and connection is the purpose of the shoot. With this in mind, couple shoots are a little more involved than most portrait work since there is more to tell.
As you review wardrobe, location, and pose ideas with your couple, you will hopefully get to know them a little bit better. There are many great ideas for themed shoots. These can revolve around a location or props. But either way, you can hone in and fine-tune your plan to put together the photos into a cohesive story.
If the couple surfs, get their boards out and head for the beach. Get shots in the water, swimming, plus posed images at the beach. If the pair is city-dwellers, theme your shots like a street photography shoot. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity and what the couple is into.
It's also worth noting that couples photography is more about capturing and creating an emotional response in the viewer, especially when compared to most other forms of portraits such as self-portraits or family portraits. Moody lighting and creative effects are much more common in these photos.
Dramatic lens flares are usually frowned on but can be used to great effect here. So too can backlighting and harsh rays of sunlight shining through windows or trees. For the photographer, this frees up some creativity to play with backlighting and silhouettes. Some photographers even use double-exposure compositions to tell a story.
Tell Their Story
Images that immediately tell a story are instant winners. Some cute couple poses feature a surprise, like a ring or flowers, hidden from the view of one partner. Look for ways to add to the plot of the story and to add depth.
One way to do this is to use the weather and the location to create a story, and let your couple tell it. But using the above tips and coordinating the couple's personality, the site, wardrobe choices, and poses, it will likely flow naturally.
After the shoot is finished, you'll have a much better idea of what tack to take with the photographs. Keep your theme and planning in mind as you move into post-production. Just like on location, couples photography often makes use of dramatic lighting and heavy-handed effects. Make colors pop, and add drama to the photo and the story.
Best Couple Poses Ideas
Now that you have a rough idea of the sort of shoot you'll be doing, you can dig into the basics of cute couple picture poses. The best guides provide an outline that you can fine-tune and look at with your clients to figure out what they want to do.
The importance of planning cannot be overstated. If you show up unprepared for the shoot and haven't taken the time to get to know the couple, chances are you aren't going to get good images.
Couple Posing Essential - Where to Look
Not every great couple pose involves both parties looking directly into the camera and smiling. As a matter of fact, this is a pretty flat and unimaginative way to approach the shoot. Remember, the photos aren't just of the partners but also their love story. When directing their gazes, you have four basic options. They can both look at the camera, look at each other, both look away, or have just one of them look at the camera.
All of these choices can completely change poses for better or worse. They're listed here so that they can be combined with other pose options found below. You might pose the couple in what you thought would be an intimate sitting pose with them looking into each other's eyes, only to discover that it falls a bit flat. Try instead to have one look into the camera, or have them both gaze away.
Standing, Sitting, Laying Down Couple Poses
The three basic portrait poses–standing, sitting, and reclining–do not change. All three can be employed like with other photo shoots. When working out couples poses, though, you'll want to focus on how to use the positioning of your clients to foster a sense of intimacy.
Standing poses should be done as close together as possible, and always touching in some way. Even if it's just holding hands, there should be a physical connection in the composition between the characters. Examples of great couples pictures that are standing apart are few and far between. Standing poses can also be done while leaning on walls or railings.
The same goes for sitting and reclining poses as well. Work with arms and legs to emphasize coziness and cuddling. Even just having the pair lean on each other helps show a deep emotional bond in the photographs.
Create Physical Intimacy
Unlike in high school, public displays of affection should be encouraged during a couples shoot. It should help tell their love story and how they want to present it is up to them. Hugs are a great way to connect the couple in a way that everyone will be comfortable with. Classic couples shots include both people looking into the camera, with one partner's arms wrapped around the other.
Just framing images so that the individual's faces are close to one another fosters intimacy. You can do close up shots of faces that are touching or nearly touching.
Kiss photos are, of course, a staple of cute couple poses. But never forget that the "almost kiss" is even more powerful. Try to capture that special moment before the kiss too.
Telling the pair to whisper in each other's ears is a great trick to encourage a similar intimate look in a photograph. You can cue them to whisper something funny or sweet, and try to capture the emotional reaction as they do it. Laughter is a great tool here to lighten the mood and keep everyone upbeat.
Hand placement is another consideration in the composition when capturing intimacy. A viewer's eyes are drawn to the subject's hands. The difference between a hand on the shoulder and a hand on the hip completely change the mood of a pose from one showing friendliness to one showing romantic love. A hand on the other's face or neck is deeply intimate in portraits.
Active Lifestyle Shots
Not all couple's shots should be static and staged. Look for opportunities to get your couple moving around, walking towards the camera or away from it. Have them hold hands and gaze into each other's eyes.
Another great technique is to incorporate the couple's shared favorite activities. Are they musicians, skaters, hikers, or bikers? Whatever their thing is, bring it out into the foreground. Have them bring props or help you out by picking their favorite location. Find ways to make intimate portraits of them doing what they love to do and doing it together.
An excellent example of this idea put into practice is couple yoga poses. If your couple is a pair of yogis, work with them to put it into part of your shoot. The great thing about couple yoga poses is that these images have it all. The location, wardrobe, poses, and activity all point to an intimate connection between two souls and tell a unique story.
Consider taking Shots of the Details
Some of the best couple photos might not even have their faces. Consider taking cropped images of their feet, arms, or other details. If part of the story being told involves rings, this might be a given. But it can also include shared tattoos, footwear styles, props, or details in the location.
Candids In Between
With all of the focus on poses and activities, you might have a lot of different shots to capture. But just like a wedding or an event photographer, keep your eyes open for those impromptu moments when moving from one pose to the next. How does the couple interact? Keep your camera at the ready, and try to capture some of these honest moments. Hopefully, they're having fun and are engaged with one another so that you'll catch some smiles and banter.
Get Creative with Couple Poses
Couples photography is a marvelous form of portrait work in that it opens up so many possibilities. Work with the couple and be creative. There's no right or wrong way, as long as the couple is happy. Get the pair to be silly and take chances. The worst that will happen is one lame photo. Try making posed selfies or try recreating famous scenes from the movies, like Jack and Kate on the bow of the Titanic.
Props are also a great way to add a little drama to the visual story. Fireworks, like sparklers or smoke bombs, make for awesome images. Props can also be related to the couple's favorite activities, like tents, guitars, cars, or boats.
Couples are always looking for new and inventive ways to capture their portraits. Wide-angle photos are a great way to feature the location, mainly if the couple chose an expansive outdoor venue. Drones are becoming more popular to get a heads-down shot from above. This bird's-eye view can take wide-angle shots to the next level, and show them in their special place.
And last but not least, it's always a good idea to offer to include the rest of the family, be it children or pets. Do read our guide to family photography with tips and techniques to add that special touch to portraits. Dogs, in particular, are great in active shots outdoors. It’s a great way to include something unique and shared.
Remember, couples photography is all about telling a story. But to be clear, it's not the photographer's story that's being told. If you're working with paying clients, they deserve that you take the time to understand them and produce something representative of them. It takes a little more work, but the results are well worth it.
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