Engagement sessions can be really fun, but it can get a little repetitive posing the couple together again and again throughout the session. Here are great poses that work for all couples during an engagement photo session.
Begin with foundation poses
A foundation pose is a pose where you set the couple in the exact spot facing a specific direction. Foundation poses are great to lead into different variations as you begin to build upon the poses. For example, you start with both people facing the camera. From this foundation pose, you can build so that the couple holds hands, look at each other, and in the end, you can capture them walking toward each other slowly.
From each foundation pose, you can get at least five different variations without having to move the couple all that much! This is helpful especially when you find yourself in tight spaces or pressed for time.
However, you don’t always have to stay in one spot. Depending on the location, feel free to move around and use all of the interesting nooks at the location of the session.
Posing facing each other
This is probably the most comfortable pose for all couples because it’s the most natural. Have the couple face each other, and with their arms furthest from the camera, have them wrap them around each other. This leaves the pose open from the front so that you can capture them looking at each other.
From here, have them hold hands loosely or play with their hands up with interlocking fingers. You can also have one person play with the other person’s hair while you get creative angles on the pose.
Have them give each other a good squeeze to help loosen nerves and get the most natural laughs and expressions out of the couple. Have them kiss if they’re comfortable with that.
You can also give them a little space so that they are directly facing each other. Here the couple can stand with their hands at their side and then hold hands. Have them lean in to kiss each other and let them move in closer if they need to.
From this pose, you can also ask that they get really close together – tummy to tummy – and have one person lay their heads on the other person’s shoulder/chest. This pose is romantic and sweet.
The “T” pose
The “T” pose is a variation on the prom pose and gives a more romantic feel to the photo. Have the taller person stand facing 45-degrees from the camera. Ask the other person to stand with their shoulder’s perpendicular to the other person. Have them get close and wrap their arms around each other.
This pose is great for all couples because it keeps the faces at an angle where the couple can look at one another, hug, kiss, and enjoy each other at close proximity.
Try photographing this pose with a wide-angle lens, like a 35mm, and place the couple in the center. This technique makes the pose much more interesting! Especially if you’re at a breathtaking or unique location.
When your clients are in this T pose, you can ask one person to look at the camera while the other closes their eyes or looks off into the distance. Get in close to take a beautiful portrait of the person looking at the camera.
This is also a perfect pose to get a nice ring shot while the couple’s arms are wrapped around each other. Try getting more of the couple’s bodies in the frame with the rings in focus and the rest out of focus.
Prom pose with variations
While the prom pose isn’t all that popular these days, you can still use the foundation pose to build on and get great photos of the couple. One variation is to get the shorter person to stand behind the taller. Here, they can hold onto the taller person’s arm and look at the photographer.
You can also have them loosely hold hands in this position and look off into the distance. The person in the front can look back or down while the person in the back can look at the camera. This is a romantic and sweet pose that can be taken full length or from a closer angle. Take both focal lengths to get more variety from the pose.
This pose can also stay in its original form where the shorter person stands in front and arms are wrapped around the waist. However, it’s best if you change it up a bit and have the hands of the person in front caress the face of the person behind. Here the pose becomes more romantic and has more connection rather than staying in its original form.
Ask the person in the back to wrap their arms up high around their beloved. Make sure that in this pose, the heads are not directly above one another. Move the front person to either side of the neck to avoid having the pose look stiff and disconnected.
From here, move around the couple and get different angles. Have the couple look off into the distance and enjoy the moment. Perhaps tell a joke to get them to laugh a bit.
To create a little bit more movement, from this pose, ask the couple to hold hands while the person in front moves towards the camera creating some distance from the other person. It will appear like they’re walking while holding hands. It’s a more creative take on the pose and adds beautiful movement.
Action poses are fun and a great way to loosen nerves and get the couple more comfortable with being in front of the camera. These can include the couple walking, either holding hands or at a distance, climbing, dancing, or just talking with one another.
Starting with action poses can be more comfortable for a couple that is not necessarily big on kissing or being affectionate. If you’re in a location where there are activities, like an amusement park or coffee shop, have the couple do what they usually would if you weren’t around. This could be playing games, getting a coffee, enjoying some music together, walking, dancing, and talking.
You can also have the couple walk toward the camera while you’re out photographing the engagement session. Have them walk two or three times as you get different focal lengths and angles. Ask the couple to talk with each other or smile at one another because this looks more natural as they are walking.
Facing away from the camera
Having the couple face away from the camera can create more interesting photographs and keep the mood more romantic resulting in less posed and more natural looking photographs.
For one pose, have the couple stand at a distance facing away from the camera. Have the couple take one step forward and hold it as if they were walking. Have one person look back toward the camera and the other person looking down or to the side. You could have them do this as the couple is walking away from the camera. Just make sure that there is nothing in the way that could provoke a fall.
Another pose is having the couple face away from the camera but gets in close to each other. Here they can look at one another, hold hands, or kiss the forehead all while you are photographing from behind. Try getting the couple from a high angle, so it looks like you’re looking down at them.
Allow poses to develop naturally
While you set foundation poses and build different variations, allow the poses to develop into their own naturally. What I mean by this is that let the couple take charge in some of the poses with the kissing and getting close. Allowing for the couple to feel like they can move around within a pose can create more authentic and romantic expressions.
Couples feel most uncomfortable when they can’t be themselves, so during the session let them know that they are free to move and enjoy the moment. You are there to capture their love and excitement for their wedding day.
Once they have this liberty to move about in a pose, you’ll get real emotions and might even progress naturally through poses you may have thought of doing anyway!
Make sure to go with the vibe of the couple
Some couples aren’t romantic types and feel silly or uncomfortable doing lots of kissy or huggy shots. Try and get a feel for how the couple is. Are they playful? Active? Romantic? If after a few silly poses, you find that the couple is more on the romantic side, go for those types of poses.
Here are some ideas for each type of couple:
Romantic: Go with poses where the couple is close to each other. Either facing each other or hugging. Lots of closed eyes and enjoying the quiet moments of love between them. Try and photograph with a longer lens to give them space to be intimate with one another. Have them say something they love about one another while you photograph their reactions.
Fun/silly: Here you can get the couple talking and being overall silly. Try and get them to dance, tell jokes or play around at the location of the session. For example, having the couple make silly faces at one another or have one person tell a joke and get the reaction of the other person. Pose them with a little distance while holding hands to create a connection but not too close to where they feel uncomfortable having their photo taken so intimately.
Active: This couple will appreciate a good walk or even run! Have them jump, dance, climb, or even have one person piggy-back on the other! This couple is fun and needs to move around to keep them active by having them move around.
Not all of the poses have to be active if the couple is active, or romantic if the couple is the romantic type. Usually, after the first half hour, the couple has lost their nervousness and are more open to other poses. Just make sure that you keep an eye out for their natural personalities and go along with that vibe.
Being a little intuitive to the personality of the couple helps you create more authentic photos that they will love. An important note to remember is that some couples will be easy to pose, and others will need more direction.
In any case, let the couples know that they can move around and to not worry about holding poses for too long. Remind them to enjoy the moments and do what feels natural to them as a couple. This helps to calm nerves, and you’ll get much more real expressions than forced ones.
The best poses for engagement sessions are where you set a foundation pose and then build upon that depending on the vibe of your clients. Aim to give them a real and fun experience and document their personalities during the session. Pose them but let them feel free to move around and be themselves. They will have a great time and love their photos after!