How many of you have ever gone to a session and found the perfect spot, took one picture, and then suddenly you forgot how to pose couples? I have definitely been there. I used to have a handful of poses that I would do and then move to a new spot, and do the same few. Then I would go home and look through the gallery and be so disappointed that every single spot I had them in the same pose. I have really pushed myself to grow that list of go-to poses so that I don’t feel stuck and I give my couples so much more variety, and I am so excited to share them with y’all today!
Ask KWP: How do I pose couples?
Before we get into specific examples, I want to share the most important part of posing, in my opinion. Can anyone guess what that is?
Building your client’s confidence is key in creating a great posing system and a great client experience. It does not matter how gorgeous the light is, or how epic the venue is, if your client feels bad about themself in that moment, they are not going to love your photo. I really want to make sure I give you practical tips to help, so here are a few things I do to help build this confidence in a session.
First, listen to their concerns. I don’t love the way my arms photograph. My husband and I had our own anniversary photos done at the beach, and because it was windy, she posed me with my arm in an awkward place that really showcased my arms in a bad way. I have never used any of them. If she would have taken a few minutes to talk about what features I loved and my insecurities, she could have really built my confidence in how she chose to pose us.
Dos and Don’ts in how to pose couples:
You can start to build trust with your clients and give them confidence by asking about things like that, and which is their good side, and then remembering those things. If they know they can trust you, they will relax and then posing gets so much easier. I always spend the first few minutes just talking to my couples and getting to know them and joking with them so they start to feel less pressure.
Then, once you start shooting, you make them think they are the most amazing models you have ever photographed. Seriously. Those first few pictures can be crap, but you make that groom feel like he is a model. Now is not the time to be picky with the little things. If you start adjusting their arms and telling them to keep moving and correcting them, they will lose that confidence and all of the posing coming soon will be stiff and awkward.
Start with something simple. I always jokingly call it a “regular” pose. Just have the couple stand with one arm around each other and smile at the camera, like they normally would. Start with this because everyone needs a traditional photo and they can’t mess this up! During this first pose, you tell them how gorgeous they are and just genuinely compliment them. Make them FEEL amazing from the very beginning, and all the rest will fall into place. I’m going to share a quick posing flow you can start with. This list has so much variety but took about two minutes to get them and I kept them moving so they never felt awkward.
List of pose ideas:
- easy posing flow:
regular for the grandmas (hand in pocket)
smiling at each other
forehead kiss with arms around waist
forehead kiss but grab her face
kiss with your teeth
smile at each other after kiss
brush the hair off her face but make it cute
nuzzle drop the eyes
nuzzle look at the camera
squeeze her and make her laugh (whisper in her ear, tickle her, tell her to laugh)
walk away holding hands
lean in for a kiss then keep walking *don’t miss transitional moments*
you can repeat all of these but with her linked on to his arm without bouquet, or you can have them face each other.
Once you have mastered the more simple poses and made them feel great by keeping things moving in a posing flow, here are a few more formal, elegant poses.
2. Formal posing flow
chest to chest forehead to forehead eyes closed arms around each other (squeeze her waist so you can see how tiny she is)
drop the arms
grab the face and movie star kiss
smile at each other
backwards and forwards to showcase dress
And then I love to throw in a lot of fun prompts to get movement and laughs
fun posing flow:
dance- twirl her twice and then kiss
run towards me
kiss with a dip
View a full gallery to see the variety we give our couples and get more ideas for how to pose couples here: Gaines Estate Wedding
Just remember most important thing is how they FEEL.
I could easily give you the names of 6 poses that you have to do, but I don’t think that’s what is most important. I don’t have a checklist that I go through for the exact same poses every wedding and I don’t think you should either- I think that you will get bored and will have less connection with your client. The most important thing is to make them feel amazing, and these examples should give you the basis you need to give you variety while doing that! It never fails that I will have a session where I am just screaming hyping them up because I really think they are amazing. Then I get home and realize that those were not actually my favorite shots, but they always choose to share and print those because I made them feel like it was the best in that moment.
So while I hope that the posing flow I shared, and all of the sample poses and prompts will inspire you and give you more variety on your next session or wedding in knowing how to pose couples, the most important thing I want you to take away is to encourage your client and make them feel amazing in every single pose you choose.
Still have questions about how to pose couples? Drop them in the comments!
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