When you’re photographing couples, how they interact with each other in the frame will set the mood for the photos. Two photographs with couples in similar body positions can take on two very different moods simply by tweaking the interaction within the photograph.
What you need to remember is that some couples will be comfortable in front of the camera, and others won’t. Sometimes, they’ll just need to warm up a bit first!
These are ten easy-to-manage poses for couples. There should be something among this list for even the most embarrassed, camera-shy couple that allows you to create an intimate portrait.
1. Looking at the camera
Some couples will naturally lean away from each other, so you might well have to tweak this interaction and ask them to go cheek-to-cheek or to get closer to one another. ‘Snuggle up’ is a good term here.
This is another easy one because it can be performed in front of friends and family without embarrassment. The other nice thing about this interaction is that it gets them really close together, and they usually end up laughing because they are in so close. Try asking them to close their eyes for this one, especially if they’re a bit embarrassed.
There’s a lot of mileage in cuddling. If you ask them to close their eyes and rotate their heads toward you just a touch, you can usually capture both of their faces without having them look at the camera or be straight on to the camera.
4. Kiss on the forehead
This is a great one if you have one partner who is significantly taller than the other. You will get a different feeling in the photograph by changing up what you ask the couple to do—if they both close their eyes, then you will create a more intimate portrait. If the smaller partner opens her or his eyes and looks straight at the camera while the other partner’s eyes are closed, you will create something a bit bolder.
A perennial favourite, and one of the easiest to ask for. Don’t be afraid to tweak the kiss by having them change their head positions—remember, you want to avoid making it look like one person is eating the other person’s face and you want to make sure that you aren’t hiding one person.
Another easy one, this one gives a lot of variety as you can shoot them moving away or towards you, fast or slow, walking, skipping, jumping, or running. Tell them that you don’t want them to look at the camera, but that they talk to and look at one another, interacting with each other rather than the camera.
7. Holding hands
An easy stationary position to accomplish, you can tweak the mood by changing the distance they are from one another, and whether they are looking at each other, looking at you, or in different directions. If you don’t like the mood of the photograph you are taking, simply change their distance from one another and where they are looking.
If you’re working with a couple that needs plenty of direction, this is a simple pose for which to ask.
9. One looking at the camera, one not
This is another position that can be combined with some of the others, or it can stand just as well on its own. The mood of this shot will be affected by whether the person looking at the camera has a huge grin or is serious.
10. A detail shot with the couple as a backdrop
This shot doesn’t necessarily have to be details from the wedding, but they work well, too. It can be almost any detail: rocks on a beach, lavender flowers, a classic car. Try using a shallow depth-of-field so that the detail is in sharp focus and your couple is pleasantly blurred.
Stuffy, staged wedding photos are a thing of the past. Master modern wedding reportage and capture the true spirit of the event and the personalities of the couple and guests with Michelle Turner’s The Wedding Photography Field Guide. Get the latest information on digital gear, and a professional’s insight into the best techniques for covering the action. Whether you simply want to get great photos at a wedding you’re attending, if you’re breaking into the business, or you just want to refresh your approach, this book is full of useful advice making it essential reading for any wedding photographer today.
The Wedding Photography Field Guide
Download the PDF now!
RRP for print edition: £8.99