How to pose couples naturally? When I first started photographing couples, a lot of my pictures turned out really stiff and the only directions I could think of were “look at the camera / just be yourself / be natural” – umm, no wonder the pictures didn’t turn out at all natural. It’s one thing to find a handful of really great poses on Pinterest but another thing actually directing your couple so that the pose comes out naturally.
So let’s get started..
Getting your couple to relax.
Before the shoot even begins it’s so important to talk to your couple. Tell them what to expect from the session, ask them what their plans are for the evening, ask them questions about themselves. It’s all about making that connection so that they feel comfortable with you. I always find some things in common with my clients to begin with and that helps us work together well.
Start with a basic pose.
To begin the session, give them a super basic instruction. We don’t want to start with a really complicated pose, instead we start off with something small and once you have a few photographs at different angles of the first pose we move them on to the next phase of that particular pose.
You could start with a few poses like; stand side by side and hold hands / touch foreheads / put your arms around his shoulders / face each other and hold her waist etc…
While you’re shooting, give them small directions to add more variety and movement into each pose. Let’s say we started off with “Put your hand on his shoulder”, once you’ve got a few shots of her hand on his shoulder, ask her to slowly move her hand down his arm until they’re both holding hands. Keep taking pictures the ENTIRE time! We want to capture the process, not just the end result of the pose. It’s the process that we really want because that’s where you will get the most natural looking reactions.
You could try adjusting the basic poses we talked about into the next phase; stand by side and hold hands, then look at each other / touch foreheads, then have one of them look slightly off-camera / put your arms round his shoulders, then move your hands towards his collar / face each other and hold her waist, then lean in for a kiss.. etc.
Making these slight adjustments will give you lots of movement to capture.
Let them know that they look great, that they’re doing well and the lighting is really pretty where they’re standing and “oh wow, I love that, hold that pose if you can”. Your couples can’t see what’s going on at the back of the camera so it’s really important to keep them informed that everything is going really well.
Move your camera and change lenses for variety.
You can get a lot of various images out of just one pose if you move around the couple or change your lens for a different view. Let’s say I’m doing an engagement session and the bride-to-be has her arms around her future groom, I like to move around them so I have both an angle from her point of view AND his, I also like to change my lens so I have a wide shot as well as a close up shot. Right there I’ve gotten 3 or 4 different shots from one pose.
Show them what to do.
One of the best ways to get your couples into the pose if you can’t quite explain it, is to show them what to do by acting it out yourself. Simple.