Posing Couples – Photographer’s Tips!

The last time I wrote a blog for Photography tips it was on “What Makes a Good Photographer“. (Which, in all honesty, I never quite finished that series. *BLUSHES* But I have plans to! I wrote out most of the blog I just need to finish it.)
Which I really enjoyed writing because I learned all of this the hard way, but I had so many other photographers encourage me and invest time and information into me. That is what helped me learn the most, the encouragement. Now I want to encourage others and pass on some of this amazing information that was given to me, or that I’ve learned myself!!!

One of the things I REALLY struggled with (and I mean REEEAAAALLLLYYY struggled with) is posing.
Yes, I know. I lost you there for a bit, didn’t I? Who really is a natural poser? Who can really pick up a camera and naturally know how to pose someone else in front of the camera in a beautiful way that compliments their figure in the best possible way?
Yeah… I didn’t think so, me either. ;)

It’s okay, you’re not alone!
Even though I’ve had a good two straight years in learning this, I still struggle with it sometimes!!!

When I do, however, I always find myself remembering some words of wisdom I’ve heard from some other amazing photogs. (One of which is Jasmine Star, and her “Posing FAQs” blogs and advice. And DPS’s “What Everybody Ought to Know About Posing” articles. Can’t sing their praises enough! Definitely read these, they’re worth your time!)

But how can you keep from having your subjects look like their posed in strange positions and have that look like they’re just smiling for the camera… that cliched “Cheese” look with no emotion in their features?
The secret is… You don’t pose and create moments, you CAPTURE moments.

Here are my quick tips on how I do just that. (These are only my techniques, not claiming to have all of the answers, just telling you what has worked for me! :P)

1- Have the couple enjoy their time with one another.
I want them to have moments where they even forget I’m even there.
I mean really, who is comfortable in front of the camera all the time? (Other than models who do it for a living. But I bet even they have times where they’re nervous.)
We’re real people. We want real moments, and real emotion. But when we feel like we’re in the spotlight we panic and feel like we need to perform, and we lose that real emotion.
When you’re shooting a couple you want to keep their attention on one another. Give them a few moments to talk to themselves, look in each other’s eyes and get that “connection” between them. You can snap away so they feel comfortable with you around, snapping pictures, but to truly capture that “moment” you need them to connect with one another’s souls.

2- Constantly encourage your subject/couple.
Again, they’re NERVOUS!!! They feel so self conscious right now. I know how that is, I’ve had to pose for other photographers as well, and I feel so awkward in front of the camera.
One of the best ways to encourage them is by telling them how amazing they look, and how beautiful they are. If your picture looks bad in your view-finder, it’s NOT because of your couple. It’s our job to make them feel comfortable and find another position or setting that makes them look amazing. Sometimes that means scrapping that picture idea and moving onto the next.
But I never EVER, EVER tell my subject that a picture turned out awful. Because they think it’s their fault, something they did wasn’t right, or they looked ugly, or whatever… You want their confidence to build during your shoot.

3- Try natural poses first!
Sometimes a position just doesn’t look right. Even if it looks beautiful to the naked eye, through a lens it just looks iffy. Ever have those moments? Your couple looks AMAZING, but as soon as you take that shot… what happened? It’s a completely different look, and it’s awful! It just doesn’t work.
Instead of trying to pose your couple in grand fashion-magazine-worthy poses, try the natural classic poses first! There’s always a way to make a classic pose look new and different! (Yes, that means you need to get creative with angles, lighting, background, framing… etc. But those are for another time. We’re on poses right now. ;) Don’t let me get side-tracked!)
Find a natural pose that works for your couple, ask them what they do when they’re alone on a date… do they sit down and snuggle? Does he like to put his hand around her waist and pull her in to kiss her? Does she like to play with his hair whenever she hugs him? Do they like to hold hands while they smooch?
Each couple has different things they do to show their affection to one another, and because it’s natural for them, it becomes a cuter and more realistic pose. They naturally fall into the pose, and do their thing… and that makes it easier for you to do #1. ;) Become invisible and capture natural moments and pure emotions.
Keep it simple and natural. You’ll have some of the best outcomes, you don’t need to go all out and find the perfect movie-poster poses that look stiff and positioned. You’ll save yourself the energy and frustration if you find something they’re already good at… just being themselves.

That’s all from me for now!
I’ll bring more to you soon…

Happy shooting!!!
~Danica

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