5 Couples Photography Tips for Wonderful Images

Couple photography isn’t difficult, but if you want to create beautiful romantic images that tell a true story, it helps to know a few tricks.

As a professional portrait photographer, I do couple shoots all the time. And in this article, I share my top tips for stunning images, including:

  • A simple way to make your partners seem super connected
  • How to keep your subjects relaxed
  • A fun way to capture artistic couple photos
  • Much more!

So, if you’re ready to improve your couples photos, let’s dive in, starting with:

1. The photoshoot is about the couple, not you

lakeside photography partner couples

Whenever I do a couple shoot, I do everything I can to blend in with the background. In fact, in every couple session, I say over and over again to my subjects, “Pretend I’m not there!”

You see, the less the subjects focus on you, the more they will focus on each other, and the more their connection will show up in the final photos.

If your subjects need extra guidance – and they probably will! – tell them to act natural towards each other, as if they were dating or on a date. You want them to interact like they do every day. And you don’t want them to be so worried about having their picture taken that they forget to show their feelings for each other.

It can also be helpful to ask partners to look each other in the eye while communicating how much they feel about the other person. Some couples have deep and meaningful conversations when I ask them to. Other couples laugh at the corniness, but that doesn’t matter; they laugh together and the connection shines through.

Another great way to create interaction (and help partners forget about you) is to ask them to whisper in each other’s ears. I always order my subjects to say to themselves and not me. It usually helps them relax and gives them permission to whisper all sorts of things that set off sparks or make them laugh.

photography of couples two people looking into each other's eyes

Again, whether couples take this seriously or start joking, it doesn’t matter! As long as they forget about you and your camera, and as long as they show a connection, you’ll get great photos.

Note that you as a photographer can take several steps to be less intrusive. You can capture environmental portraits from a distance, for example, or you can shoot with a telephoto lens. You don’t have to be physically distant for the entire shoot, but if your subjects are having trouble relaxing, that can be a good thing. I would also recommend using your camera’s silent shooting mode (if it has one); this way your subjects won’t be constantly distracted by the sound of a shutter clicking.

Of course, while it’s important that you stay invisible, don’t let that get in the way of your photography. Always have your camera ready to shoot, and when the time is right, shoot lots of pictures!

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2. Bring the couple closer

We all have a comfort zone that we like to keep – a distance that we maintain with others. And although most people tend to get closer to their partner than strangers on the street or friends, they can still feel uncomfortable getting closer to their partner while being watched by a photographer.

So your job, as a spectator photographer, is to bring them closer. The closer a couple gets, the more intimate the result!

Ask them to move towards each other. This may feel a bit awkward at first, but remind them that their pose won’t be as close as it looks. Emphasize how beautiful the pictures will be and how clearly they will convey the love of the partners.

people sitting together and laughing

And if possible, include some kind of physical contact. This will add another level of intimacy to the portraits. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask them to bring their foreheads together and close their eyes
  • Have them do a forehead to nose touch (this one may be better if there is a significant size difference)
  • Have one partner place their hand on the other partner’s cheek or back
  • Have one partner place their hands on the other partner’s chest
  • Have one partner put their hands behind the other partner’s head

If you don’t like any of the above, you can always ask him to kiss, hug or hold your hand. Remember: physical contact can be simple, and that’s okay; you just want the image to show some connection.

Also, don’t feel like you have to lay them down endlessly. Direct their contact first – you can try standard couple posing ideas – then let them do what feels natural to them. You want them to connect in a way that’s comfortable and realistic. If you give too many commands – turn your hip here, touch your face here – they’ll start to feel overpowered and you’ll lose the relaxed feeling I talked about in the previous tip.

couple kissing on car hood

3. Give the couple something to do

People who aren’t comfortable in front of the camera can take revenge After uncomfortable when they have nothing to do – and the last thing you want is for your subjects to feel stiff and nervous.

Fortunately, couples are easier to occupy than individual subjects because they can interact with each other! You don’t have to be fancy; just tell them to go for a walk together, hold hands, or look at each other and laugh. Bored? Maybe. Efficient? Very!

two people holding hands and walking

Don’t be afraid to bring vehicles into the footage. You can ask partners to sit on the hood of the car or lean against the windows. (Again, the goal is to keep them busy!)

Let them push each other on a swing. If they like dogs, consider asking them to bring their pup (but be prepared for a lot of chaos and make sure you have someone to sit with the pup after this part of filming is over).

Really, do whatever you can to keep them busy. It helps to come up with ideas ahead of time (feel free to write a few down and keep them on your phone, just in case!).

4. You don’t always have to show faces

It is important to capture some footage that shows the faces of both partners, including shots of them looking towards the camera, shots of them looking at each other, and shots of them looking away.

But did you know that sometimes you can show even more connection without including any faces at all?

the lower half of a couple kissing on the road

Photographs of small details communicate a lot of love, and they help tell the overall story. For example, you can capture the backs of partners as they walk away into the sunset. You can capture two intertwined hands, a head on one shoulder from behind, or one partner’s hand playing with the other partner’s hair.

Again, don’t be crazy about the details – your customers will definitely not be happy if you only capture photos of their hands and backs, but occasionally mix up detail, especially once you’ve created a good set of standard images.

5. Shoot Through Foreground Foliage

This final couple photography tip is all about the art. It’s a great way to create a stunning effect (and it looks very professional too!).

You see, if you position yourself so that your lens is pointing through leaves or flowers and use the right settings, the foreground elements will be out of focus – and you’ll be able to capture the couple framed by a nice wash of color, like this:

a couple surrounded by leaves in a forest

Now to achieve this effect you will need to use a lens with a large maximum aperture and you will need to ensure that foreground elements are relatively close to the front of the lens. Set your aperture to f/2.8 or higher, then compose so that the flowers or leaves Frame the object.

It can be helpful, especially when you’re just starting out, to take a few test shots to better visualize out-of-focus areas. And don’t be afraid to switch to manual focus if your camera’s autofocus continues to get distracted by foreground elements.

I’m a big fan of this trick; not only does this make for great photos, but it also helps tell a story. It emphasizes the love felt by the couple and makes the emotions of the partners – seen from afar by the photographer – even more authentic.

Couple Photography Tips: Final Words

Well, now you have it:

Five tips to take your couples photography to the next level. So remember these tips. And see what you can create!

Which of these tips is your favorite? What techniques do you plan to use for your couple photo shoots? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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