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30 Best Couple Poses for Portrait Photography (Couple Photos)

Last updated: November 12, 2023 - 15 min read
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As a portrait photographer, one of my favorite types of work is couples photography. Here are some tips and tricks about couple poses I have learned along the way. And there’s a list of 30 great sample poses to try!

These photography tips will help you guide your couples in your next portrait photo shoot.

You’ll help them express their love whether you’re doing wedding photography, engagement pictures, or just a couple photo shoot for your friends.

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Couple Poses for a Successful Couple Photo Shoot

Before I give you the 30 best poses, let’s talk about some tips you can use while shooting couples portraits.

Have Them Wear Coordinating Outfits

Your subject’s mindset is influenced by what they wear. And you can tell from the way a person poses and their facial expression if they are comfortable or not.

I always tell my models to wear something that makes them feel confident and comfortable. If you want your model to run, jump, or sit, tell them ahead of time. This way, their choice of clothing will allow them to move freely.

To give a sense of connection, ask them to coordinate outfits. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be dressed the same way!

Have the couple wear colors that complement each other. And don’t forget to think about fashion sense. As you look through the pictures in this article, notice the couple’s complementary clothing.

I usually recommend that my clients avoid patterns, letters, drawings, or strong colors. These might distract from what’s important in the picture—the bond between them.

A couple poses holding hands in front of a doorway

Make Any Necessary Adjustments Before You Shoot

Before you start the couple photo shoot, let your models know that you will direct them. You should also let them know if they need to adjust their hair or clothes.

You want them to look lovely in the photos. And it’s your responsibility to make them look as great as possible. Pay attention to how they look—both on and off the LCD screen.

They will appreciate how thorough you are. This will also help them relax, knowing that they have one less thing to worry about.

Get used to always checking their hair and clothes before pressing the shutter. (After a while, you’ll do it without realizing it.)

My experience has taught me that long hair can get really wild while shooting outdoors. I recommend bringing a comb and some hairpins with you, just in case your models need them.

Relaxed photo of a couple sitting on the grounds smiling and holding each other

Get Them to Talk About Their Romance

The great thing about working with couples is that they can interact with each other. They will help each other fall into natural poses and situations.

This helps them relax and not feel as awkward as a single model might feel in front of the camera. They both know what makes the other smile or laugh. Use this to your benefit.

You still need to help them by setting the right mood and interacting with them. I like to ask my models how they met, the things they like to do together, and what they like about each other.

I look for subjects that make them remember happy moments. This cements the bond between them, which really shows in the photographs. If they’re thinking about their love, it will shine through in their mood and poses.

Relaxed posed photo of a couple sitting outdoors smiling at each other

Use a Posing Guide as a Reference

I like to separate my couple’s photography poses into categories. And I make sure to have two or three poses for each category in mind before the shoot.

Some categories of couple poses are:

  • Standing poses
  • Leaning on a wall
  • Walking
  • Holding hands
  • Kissing
  • Sitting
  • Lying down

I start by giving the couple suggestions from these few basic pose ideas. Then I let the couple interpret for themselves what the pose should look like. As they pose naturally, I capture the moments.

When you’re doing portrait photography, it’s important to be ready to adapt. If one pose doesn’t work, try another one. Mix up the posing ideas and try different angles.

This applies to shooting any kind of couple photography, from an engagement shoot to a casual photo session.

A mixture of different poses will keep your clients from growing uncomfortable, bored, or frustrated.

30 Best Couple Poses for Portrait Photography

These are posing instructions that you can give the couple throughout the photo shoot. Feel free to show them reference pictures to help them recreate these poses.

Not every pose will work for every couple, and that’s okay.

Be open to experimenting with different poses and adjusting the ones on this list. The more poses you try, the more successful your photo shoot will be.

30. Gently Hold the Other Person’s Face

a man gently holding his girlfriends face by a window

You can capture a tender moment by asking the couple to hold each other’s faces. They can gently caress each other’s cheeks or just hold their face with both hands. Ask them to look into each other’s eyes while they do this.

This is a great way to create intimacy in your photos. However, you should only do this pose when the couple feels comfortable. If you start with this, they might feel a bit awkward.

29. Hold Hands and Go for a Walk

Couple walking on the beach hand in hand

This can be done at any point during your photo shoot. The classic hand-holding pose might be a bit cliché, but it never gets old.

To make your photos more candid, ask the couple to walk in front of you. They should have a specific destination so you all know how far to walk.

As the couple walks, they might have a conversation, laugh, or point to something around them. This is the perfect time for shooting spontaneous and authentic couple photos.

28. Hug From Behind

a couple hugging outdoors

There are different ways to hug a person. Instead of hugging each other directly, the couple can try a hug from behind.

This lets you photograph both of their faces at once. Because their faces are so close, you can take romantic close-up photos. This is also a great opportunity to capture fun and joyful couple photos.

27. Touch Noses

black and white portrait of a couple hugging and rubbing noses

The traditional Māori greeting is pressing your nose against someone else’s. This is a peaceful greeting that you can incorporate into your couple’s photo shoot.

Your models can touch noses. Their foreheads can also touch to create more intimacy. Take close-up shots of them as they do this. And if they laugh while they do this, you’ll get even better shots!

26. Piggyback Ride

a man giving a woman a piggy back in front of a lake

The couple can take turns carrying each other on their backs. Piggyback rides might be childish, but they’re a fantastic way to loosen up and have fun. If you notice that the couple feels awkward, start with this pose to relax them.

A piggyback ride pose is guaranteed to make the couple laugh and feel at ease in front of your camera.

25. Kiss on the Forehead

A black and white shot of a couple kissing

A forehead kiss is another subtle but sweet gesture for close-up portrait photography.

Black and white shots are very common in couple portrait photography. It gets rid of distracting colors and emphasizes emotions.

You can shoot in B&W when you take close-ups to intensify the romantic atmosphere in your images. Alternatively, you can also convert your photos to B&W later.

24. Kiss Hands

A man kissing his girlfriends hand in a cafe

Kissing someone’s hand has always been a symbol of respect, love, and admiration. You can use this pose often during your couple’s photo shoot.

Combining it with other poses will make your couple’s photos look even more unique. For example, the couple can kiss each other’s hands while they walk. Or one of them can kiss the other’s hand while they hug them from behind.

23. Lean on Each Other in Front of a Sunset

Silhouette of a couple embracing in front of a sunset

This is one of the most popular couple poses out there. The couple should lean toward each other until their foreheads touch. They can even press their noses together.

The background should be a sunset or a bright source of light. Shoot against the light, making sure the couple is standing right above it. This will create a beautiful haze.

You can create a silhouette by making the couple stand directly in front of the light. This will cover it and create interesting dark shadows.

22. Balance on a Log Together

a close up of a couples legs balancing on a wooden beam

I know that this probably sounds like one of the worst couple poses ever, but bear with me! Balancing on something with a partner symbolizes strength and trust.

Of course, the couple shouldn’t balance on something that could easily break. They can just stand on a log or anything that looks like one. You can take full-body shots or focus on their legs.

21. Kiss in a Cozy and Homey Atmosphere

A fluffy grey cat in front of a kissing couple

There are lots of couple poses you can easily create at home. You can also have a couple photo shoot in a fun place. Your goal is to find a location that relaxes both of them.

Ask them to kiss, hug, or hold hands. As you do this, focus away from them. Focus on something that they both own or like. This can be a pet, a cup of coffee, or anything that perfectly defines their relationship.

20. Whisper Something Funny Into the Other Person’s Ear

a couple sitting outdoors and laughing

This is another pose you can use to take cute pictures of couples. Ask the couple to share jokes, say something silly, or just whisper gibberish into their partner’s ear. Try shooting photos of them as they do this.

You’re guaranteed to get a lot of unexpected reactions, so make sure you shoot in burst mode. This lets you take multiple photos in sequence by holding your shutter down.

19. Pick Each Other Up

a man holding his girlfriend in his arms

Ask the couple to take turns picking each other up. This might sound silly, but it’s a fun way to make your models laugh and be playful in front of the camera!

18. Snuggle Under a Cute Blanket

a couple snuggling under a cute blanket

This is one of the most popular couple poses for autumn or winter photo shoots of couples. The couple can lean on each other while they snuggle under a blanket.

Make sure the blanket complements their outfits and isn’t too vibrant. It should just be a prop that adds coziness to your photos.

17. Hold Hands and Look in the Same Direction Together

A couple posing outdoors, holding hands and looking in one direction together

Looking in one direction symbolizes strong values. If the couple looks in the same direction while holding hands, they’ll look like a powerful duo in your photos.

16. Dance Like No One Is Watching

a couple dancing in a field
Dancing is an awkward activity for many people, especially when there’s a camera pointing at them. This is exactly why you should ask the couple to dance!

The awkwardness will inevitably make them laugh. This will help them loosen up, which might lead to a lot of joyful couple portraits.

15. Kiss Them on the Cheek

black and white portrait of a man kissing his smiling girlfriend

Cheek kisses are a classic pose in couple photography. They’re the next best thing if your models don’t want to actually kiss in front of you. It’s a sweet gesture that’s ideal for close-up photography.

14. Stretch Out Your Arm and Hold Their Hand

A woman walking through a luscious landscape holding her partners hand
Travel photographer Murad Osmann has made this portrait pose very popular. It’s often used in smartphone photography, but you can easily recreate it in your professional couple’s photography.

For a pose like this, it’s a good idea to shoot in a picturesque location. Use a small aperture to ensure that the background remains sharp.

You can also use a zoom lens to create a comfortable distance between the couple and yourself.

13. Lean on The Other Person’s Shoulder and Look at Something Interesting

A couple watching a firework show

This couple pose is easiest to do during events. One of your models should lean on the other’s shoulder. You should take photos from behind them to show what they’re looking at.

Their view can be a fireworks show, a beautiful scene, or anything that tells a story about the couple’s relationship.

12. Have a Conversation in a Romantic Setting

A couple sitting in an indoor teepee

If you have some extra time on your hands, make a DIY studio. There’s no limit to what you can do with simple props. You can build a tent where the couple can pose. And you can use fairy lights and a lamp as your light sources.

This will create the perfect romantic atmosphere for a photo shoot. Ask your models to interact with their surroundings, talk to each other, and ignore the camera. This will give you lots of opportunities to take spontaneous couple photos.

11. Lift Her Leg up While They Kiss

A couple embracing at a pier in front of a large boat

This is a popular couple pose in the kissing category. Your model can lift one leg behind her while kissing her partner.

This might sound simple, but it makes a huge difference in couple photos. It can make the couple look happy and improve your composition.

10. Get Lost in an Activity That They Both Love

A couple posing outdoors covered in colored powder

One of the easiest ways to take candid couple portraits is to photograph your models when they’re busy. Give the couple an opportunity to do something that they both love during your couple’s photo shoot.

This can be skating, walking, eating ice cream, singing, or anything else that they both genuinely enjoy. While the couple is lost in their own world, you’ll get to capture all kinds of cute poses for couples.

9. Lie Next to Each Other on a Bed or Picnic Blanket

A sweet couple photoshoot shot from above

This is a great pose for aerial portrait photography. You can take great shots using a camera or a drone.

When you’re shooting from above, you need to use a ladder and a wide-angle lens. This will ensure that you get panoramic portraits without stepping on your models’ faces.

Your models can look at each other or at the camera. Make sure they don’t look in different directions. This will make them look bored or disinterested in each other.

8. Kiss Under an Umbrella in the Rain

Romantic shot of a young couple posing under an umbrella
Photo shoots in the rain tend to be the most romantic. But you’ll need special rain equipment for your camera.

For unique couple photos, use a transparent umbrella. Shoot directly through the umbrella to create a soft and hazy effect. You can also cover part of your lens with the umbrella to create a beautiful blurred foreground.

7. Twirl in a Flowy Skirt or Dress

A couple honding hands on a field

To make simple couple photos exciting, add movement to your shots. You can easily do this if one of your models is wearing a long flowy dress.

All the model has to do is throw a part of the dress in the air or twirl. Use a fast shutter speed to capture everything sharply.

6. Lie Next to Each Other for Beautiful Couple Eye Close-Ups

Couple holds their heads together

Detailed photos can say a lot more about a relationship than you think. This is an easy pose that will help you take beautiful close-ups of the couple’s eyes. All they have to do is lie very close to each other.

Get close using a zoom lens. Capture both of your couple’s eyes. This is a great way to emphasize their similarities and differences.

5. Feed Each Other Something Delicious

A relaxed couple photoshoot at a carnival

This might sound like another weird idea, but it’s a great pose for candid couple photography. This is easiest to do in amusement parks, where you can find a variety of treats.

One of the models should feed the other. Make sure the food isn’t something that would result in awkward pictures, like pasta! For example, you can try different fruits like grapes, cherries, or berries.

4. Do Something Silly

A close up shot of a couple photoshoot in natural light

Ask the couple to make the ugliest faces imaginable. It’s very likely that this will make them laugh. This is when you can start taking exciting portraits.

The point of this pose is to make your models have fun and laugh. You can also tell them a bad joke, share a funny personal story, or make them do something awkward on purpose.

3. Point at Something

Portrait of a couple posing naturally on a hilltop

The couple should point at something interesting together. You can photograph them up close or create a wide shot where you can see what they’re pointing at.

2. Sit on the Other Person’s Shoulders

A fun couple photoshoot in the snow

This is a fun pose that will inevitably make the couple laugh. Make sure you shoot vertically so you can get proper full-body couple portraits.

Take a few steps away from the couple before they try this pose so that your camera doesn’t miss a moment!

1. Sit on Steps Together

A couple having fun during an outdoor photoshoot

Ask the couple to sit on a set of stairs or steps together. Steps tend to look more beautiful than chairs in couple photos.

This pose will give you the opportunity to show off the couple’s outfits in their full glory. It will also give the couple some time to rest, chat, and comfortably pose for you.

Conclusion—Best Couple Poses

Feel free to use any of the couple poses in this article for inspiration for your own photos. Remember to guide your couple poses with gentle instruction, but don’t forget to let them be themselves.

I recommend you tell them to do things such as walking and dancing and experiment with the situation. You can get really beautiful candid photos this way!

Make them feel comfortable and create a nice environment. Their love will shine through for you to photograph!

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