Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Couples

A Guest Post by Kaspars Grinvalds from Posing App.

In the previous articles in this posing guide series we looked individually at posing female subjects, posing male subjects and posing children (there are links to the full series of posing guides below). In those individual person portraits the main subject was a single person and her or his personality. In comparison, couple photography is more about connection, interaction and above all – feelings between two people. And most probably those are very deep and passionate feelings, which makes couple photography so delightful and positive.

Generally a couple should be easy to engage in a photo shoot. If they are initially a bit shy or feeling uncomfortable, just ask them to show you how they felt and looked when they met for the first time. You will invoke them on an emotional level, providing you with natural and loving expressions in their portraits

1. Easy starting pose standing face to face (but looking to the camera) and her holding an arm on his chest. Take both close-up as well as vertical shots.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

2. Ask the couple to stand very close to each other to catch intimate close-up portraits. Don’t be afraid to zoom in and crop real tight!

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

3. Very easy and cordial pose with him holding her from behind. The couple may look straight into the camera or at each other. They might even kiss for a more emotive shot.
Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

4. Fun and loving pose with her holding onto his back and shoulders. Pay attention to hand positioning: It should be simple and natural.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

5. Just a variant with her holding him from behind. Remember that the couple doesn’t necessarily have to look in the camera. For better results, make them interact with each other by talking, flirtatious looks, laughing etc.
Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

6. Creates a very romantic mood. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. Shoot only slightly from a back. Remember that you have to be far enough to the couples side to be able to capture each person’s closest eye, otherwise you will create an impersonal, “empty” shot.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

7. Find some elevation and shoot your subjects from above. A common pose shot from an unusual angle is always creative and will often reward you with surprisingly good results.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

8. Another romantic pose. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. Works also very well as a silhouette against a bright background, in front of a sunset, for example.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

9. Easy to realize pose for a full height shot. Creates a calm and affectionate mood.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

10. A fun pose. Don’t presume this to be appropriate only with younger people. If an older couple feels fine with it, this pose will work absolutely superb with them as well. Try different framings, take full height shots, half height ones and close-ups.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

11. Very nice way to show the affection when meeting each other. Works very well in crowded places, such as a famous meeting point in a city, trains or metro stations etc.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

12. A pose with a little bit of fun. The crucial part is her leg positioning, each leg should be bent in different angles. While he is still lifting her, take a close-up portrait shot as well.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

13. Take shots of the couple walking hand in hand approaching from a distance. Shoot in burst mode only! However, the majority of your shots will look awkward because of the leg movement. Therefore, the second part of your job is to select the photos with the best leg movement and positioning afterwards.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

14. Another variant with a walking couple. This time couple walks close together and holds onto each other. Again, take several shots and choose those with the most elegant leg positioning.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

15. Never forget that there often are good opportunities simply shooting from the back.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

16. A couple lying close together on the ground. Make them lift their upper bodies a bit by using their arms as supports. He might embrace her gently. Shoot from a very low angle.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

17. Another variant with a couple lying on the ground. This time with a little interspace.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

18. A good example to show that two persons can very well be positioned asymmetrically.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

19. Informal and fun way to pose for a couple lying on their backs.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

20. A cordial pose, ask the couple to sit comfortably on their favorite sofa.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

21. Sometimes shooting a couple may mean maternity photography. Some poses from this couples series work also pretty well for such an occasion. Simply adjust a posing accordingly to show the couple’s feelings about and interactions with the unborn new life.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses for Photographing Couples

Here’s 16 of our favorites for you to print and take with you on your next couple shoot:

Posing Guide for Photographing Couples

Allow me to repeat the previously stated – look at these sample poses as a starting point only. That’s the reason why they are rough sketches instead of real photos. You can’t and should not repeat the pose exactly, instead adjust the pose creatively according to your shooting environment and scenario.

Check out our other Posing Guides in this Series at:

Grab Our Guide to Portrait Posing

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App where more poses and tips about people photography are available.

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  • Maxim Andreessen

    Well done, app is bought! :-)

  • Maxim Andreessen
  • Smith

    I should of killed both of them when i had the chance!

  • http://shaadigrapher.com/ Amrit Vatsa

    These poses had really helped me when I had started off. But off late I have started liking the idea of minimizing all sorts of instructed poses. I wrote about my perspective on couple photography in a blog here: http://shaadigrapher.com/right-approach-to-couple-photography/

  • http://www.birgitengelhardt.de/ Birgit Engelhardt

    This one is really really helpful – thanks a lot!

Some older comments

  • Diddy

    August 19, 2013 07:26 am

    But I'm still alone :')

  • jschau

    July 29, 2013 06:24 pm

    More dreary heterosexual posing. How about the reset of the human species?

  • Casey

    July 29, 2013 11:57 am

    How about a self posing guide for those of us who would like to try self portraits?

  • Daniel

    June 3, 2013 12:23 pm

    Plus you can be inventive and create your own shots to reflect your couple's characters.

  • Alexa

    April 17, 2013 02:55 am

    Check out this website! http://gogetfunding.com/project/help-pay-for-our-wedding-3

  • Philip Lord

    April 7, 2013 08:11 am

    Excellent post. Very easy to understand well done !

  • Charles

    February 14, 2013 06:23 am

    Its really simple to understand and I think we all can get more poses from these. Great article and big help! Thanks.

  • Paul

    January 28, 2013 02:37 am

    A man is ant there always will be a man, and a woman is and will be a woman. No matter how much he/she will try to pretend the opposite. IMHO, other advises regarding homosexuality problems should be beyond the scope of this site.

  • Bethany

    January 25, 2013 07:41 am

    This is wonderful but lets say your couple is a same-sex couple. How could you make some of these poses more famine or masculine?

  • Wedding Photographer Malaysia

    November 3, 2012 01:20 pm

    Excellent starting point for beginners. Bear in mind these are basic poses which can have several variants, so it's good to experiment with this as a start, and develop your own from there. Once you've mastered the posing, the next step would be to look at portrait lighting techniques.

  • juan carlos

    October 1, 2012 01:36 am

    It's nice to find poses on the web. It is a big deal for me, thank you very much

  • Simon Tepoorten

    September 9, 2012 01:04 pm

    Absolutely wonderful starting points for new players or people needing a refresh. Thanks for your contributions, they really help this vast photographic community.

  • laurie ann

    May 25, 2012 12:18 pm

    I would love to get this app on my imac! I don't have an ipad or iphone. I would love to see poses for weddings too... and mums/dads/sibblings with babies

  • Rich

    May 25, 2012 01:17 am

    @ccting: If you have Microsoft One Note, you can copy and paste almost anything to it. You can make folders for different categories and place posts like this in them. Printing these posts is very easy to do. You can then take your copy with you on a shoot for ideas.

  • B. A. Mather

    May 23, 2012 06:39 pm

    Great series of examples and good to show to the couple before the shoot.

  • Ian McKenzie

    May 22, 2012 03:01 am

    These are great posing diagrams. I'd like to get some ideas of how to pose couples when there's a big height differential. I photographed a couple on the weekend where he was 6'1" and she was 5'4". Those nine inches make some of the above poses unworkable.

  • ccting

    May 17, 2012 06:06 pm

    I am quite dissapointed that this app only support iPad and Android, how about the desktop Microsoft windows?? I have just lost my Android.. Please enable support for Microsoft OS.. I wish to see the wedding pose..

  • Nomadic Samuel

    May 16, 2012 01:55 pm

    This is a great example of different poses to consider and is quite a timely post because my new girlfriend and I tried taking some couples shots for the first time and they turned out quite awkward.

  • Teresa

    May 16, 2012 05:27 am

    I am a beginner photographer and these are great. Love the sketches without all the distracting background of "real" pictures, whoever complained about them should understand that photography is an art form and so the sketches were just fine.

    Although someone mentioned the poses seem "old", I have gone on tons of shoots with my best friend (the reason I'm getting into photography) and people LOVE these poses and shots.

    One girl even brought a while wedding album of her mother and father and wanted the same type of shots.

  • Paul

    May 16, 2012 04:02 am

    Great article and love the line drawings too, this must be the third or forth I'vce seen in this series :)

  • Brian Cordle

    May 5, 2012 06:18 am

    These posing guides are EXCELLENT! A great help... please keep up the good articles!!!

  • alanc230

    May 5, 2012 12:32 am

    This is a useful set of posing suggestions, even for rank amateurs. I think these poses will make our family snapshots look more professional.

  • Maira Martins

    May 4, 2012 06:37 pm

    I liked so much this series that I ended up buying the app at Google Play Store (my first paid app, I have to say). That's an invaluable tool for someone like me, who is just starting as a portrait photographer. Thanks :-)

  • Kaspars Grinvalds

    May 4, 2012 05:35 pm

    Hi there, thanks for all kind words, really appreciate it!

    And @kat - the app is available for Android, please follow the direct link:
    http://market.android.com/details?id=lv.mendo.posingapp

  • Penelope

    May 4, 2012 12:04 pm

    These look like standard engagement shots, very common and used for many, many years, and many of the poses are not very flattering (back angles for head and neck for example, emphasize things like double chins on couples)…I was hoping to find a list of unique poses that are more playful or at least flattering.

  • Fotograf nunta Iasi

    May 4, 2012 10:43 am

    Many times when photographing the wedding and I was not really a day I used this kind of inspirational stories. Here I found some new that you will use. Thanks for the article!

  • Michael

    May 4, 2012 10:07 am

    This posing series has been absolutely wonderful for a novice photographer as myself. It's given me a starting point to improve my portrait photography and actually get some professional-looking shots. Your sketches are great and encourage each photographer's creativity in using them. (Now I just need to talk one of the kids out of an old iPod so that I can get your app!) Thanks for sharing your work!

  • Kat

    May 4, 2012 10:04 am

    Love the 4 articles you have written on posing and this time thought I'd look at purchasing the App, but it's only available for iphone users :( where is the Android version? Would love to see one :D

  • Egle

    May 4, 2012 08:34 am

    tips and sketches are amazing once again, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Matt Keeling

    May 4, 2012 05:24 am

    Desperate to get some similar app on windows phone 7. Even thought about developing one myself but you have to pay Microsoft £100 for a developer account to submit apps. Would be so useful when out even if you know the pose its a handy reference point and can show the model. I often forget my favourite poses when in the field faced with do many things to remember.

  • Rachel

    May 4, 2012 05:09 am

    I'm really loving all of these samples.... nice work! And some great tips too!

  • Harry

    May 4, 2012 05:09 am

    This is a great posing guide. I have a TON of books about posing, but the subjects allways seem to be your fashion model/Hollywood types and of course the scenery is absolutely heavenly. This gets in the way when you are at a simple wedding trying to pose couples. Thank you very much I will definately be printing this out.

  • Jordan

    May 4, 2012 03:34 am

    Great article! I really was needing some tips on posing. I think all to often we, as photographers, get caught up worrying about lighting and composition and forget the simplicity of a natural, beautiful pose.

    Thank you very much!

  • Mikel B PHOto

    May 4, 2012 02:54 am

    This is awesome! Thanks man. I have been waiting for this one. I used the one for posing kids and I got some pretty good shots. I think you should take all of your poses and make them into an app. Give all of the ones you have so far our for free and add a bunch extra for ,let's say, 5 bucks ($4.99). It would do well because it's from you guys! Look in to the other apps for posing. They are crappy. contact me for more info :)

  • Louise

    May 4, 2012 01:50 am

    These are fabulous! This whole series - poses for women, men, children, and now couples - has been fantastic and so helpful!

    What I would love to see now are poses for elderly people. My mother is 83 years old and I want to do a series of photos of her for my family members. Are there any suggestions for poses? I have searched on line and have come up pretty much empty...

    Thank you.

  • Hafeez Halim

    May 3, 2012 02:28 am

    Simple and compact. This is basic poses that great to start with and later reproduce other creative pose based on location and situation. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Kumar Varun

    May 2, 2012 09:33 pm

    These are really a nice reference.
    http://500px.com/kumar_varun

  • Paul

    May 2, 2012 09:27 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! Last evening I was just about to arrange a meeting with a future couple (for a wedding) and practice the Male/Female posing examples. Now I have this 'cheatsheet' which is so useful. I agree that natural and 'unposed' photos are so great, but I think this stage of posed should be learned very well before mastering skills in a very professional manner. Thank you so much

  • Mridula

    May 2, 2012 07:27 pm

    The only thing I ever managed to click in pairs was these Jungle Babblers!

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2010/11/lazy-sunday-photo-a-cute-pair-of-jungle-babblers.html

  • Sal parra

    May 2, 2012 06:00 pm

    I love your guide!! Going get the app now...hope to see seniors and weddings soon.

  • steve slater

    May 2, 2012 04:52 pm

    Catching people when they do not expect it can produce a natural pose and have emotion:

    http://wildlifeencounters.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Street-photography-in-Eastbourne/G00004ShZCZqM52A/I0000aV3b5gOJMA4

  • Marcus S Davis

    May 2, 2012 01:13 pm

    I was hoping you would continue with this series and include couples. I am planning an engagement shoot for a couple of my friends and this will come in handy.

  • Eric

    May 2, 2012 09:33 am

    Love the 'posing' series, but was wondering why you use sketches as opposed to actual photographs? Just seems odd for a photography website. Still very helpful though!

  • Guilherme Polaquini

    May 2, 2012 06:20 am

    This series of posts is great! Keep on!

  • Andy Mills

    May 2, 2012 03:25 am

    I bought a second hand iPod Touch just so I could use this app.

    It's handy for when you get stuck or run out of ideas (or are starting out), and you can use it to show clients/models/whatever what you want them to do.

  • Charlie

    May 2, 2012 03:24 am

    I bought the app last week and will be referencing it this weekend, thanks for sharing!

    Charlie

  • ccting

    May 2, 2012 02:50 am

    OMG, OMG, Kaspars Grinvalds Thanks thanks thanks thanks very very very very very very much much much... I can't thanks anymore..

  • Kris

    May 2, 2012 02:33 am

    This is great. Thanks for posting this.

  • raghavendra

    May 2, 2012 02:20 am

    wow, this is interesting
    everytime they show the couples near the tree
    this is enlightening

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2012/04/beautiful-lily-flower-in-pond.html

  • Alexx

    May 2, 2012 02:11 am

    Once again, thanks for the posing articles.

    You should do a wedding one next. http://disney-photography-blog.com/

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