The most romantic day of the year is right around the corner. But, as a photographer, it’s best to be prepared year-round to shoot romantic portraits of couples. If you need a dose of inspiration, here are 20 couple poses and photography ideas that will help you capture truly authentic and unforgettable moments.
There’s nothing like the warmth and comfort of being in the bedroom with a loved one. Ask the couple you’re photographing to relax by sharing stories, telling jokes, and getting close to one another. Expect this intimate setting to reveal honest interactions and genuine emotions.
02. Date Night
Valentine’s Day is a fun-filled occasion for most couples. Recreate the passion and excitement of this holiday by following a couple throughout a big night out. Pick a photogenic date night destination, like a carnival during sunset. Take snapshots of all the fun, fuzzy moments that they share with one another through the experience.
Capture timeless, cinematic portraits by getting your couple to play dress up in vintage clothes straight from a thrift store. Retro props and accessories like analog cameras and old-fashioned suitcases can also add that old world touch. To complete the vibe, add some digital film grain or a black and white filter to recreate that analog feel.
Entertain pop-culture lovers by having your subjects dress as their favorite movie, TV, or book characters. When looking for ideas for poses, simply have them act out famous scenes, or look up movie posters for their couple posing references.
Want to try something artsy? Experiment with double exposures—either digitally or on film. If you shoot with digital, keep in mind to photograph your couple one at a time in contrasting positions, and then combine everything in post. The mesmerizing effect of the double exposure creates a haunting take on the typical couple portrait.
If your couple loves dressing up, indulge them with a fashion editorial-themed shoot. Use their favorite magazines as your inspiration for couple poses, and make sure to pay attention to the styling and location. Use this technique to highlight your subjects’ sartorial flare and passion for standing out.
For an adventure-loving couple, capture the fun while they’re engaged in their favorite shared activity—whether that's skating, surfing, or even rock-climbing. When they’re naturally high on adrenaline, there’s no need to ask them to force a smile or pose.
What’s more classically romantic than sharing a bite together? Capture your couple as they celebrate each other's company at their favorite date spot. Whether that's a cafe that they frequent every Sunday brunch or the place they shared their first date. Sit back and snap them simply enjoying their meal.
If your couple is finding it difficult to do regular couple poses, sometimes adding a little motion can help. Put on their favorite song and ask them to dance and loosen up. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to do the Swing or the Waltz. As long as they’re having fun with one another, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture genuine moments.
Go for a rustic theme by photographing your subjects in a rural setting. Simply being outside creates a homey atmosphere that translates in photos. Couple poses can be as simple as having them hugging in the midst of a wide, open field with the horizon in the background. When you are naturally surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors, half the work is already done.
Hugs are always better than kisses when it comes to shooting couple portraits. The act is not only less awkward for the couple to have to do in front of another person, but it also naturally makes them feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Don't be afraid to ask your subjects to cuddle if they’re feeling a little shy. This technique always does the trick.
Capture your subjects looking into the distance to create a contemplative mood. Apart from showing your couple lost in a genuine moment, you also get to share the magnificent view with your audience.
The heart—the ultimate representation of love—can be shown in many different forms. Think of creative ways to incorporate this romantic symbol into your portraits. Sneak in an item of clothing with a heart-shaped pattern or include props like heart-shaped balloons that your couple can hold as they share a tender kiss.
Ask your subjects to stare deep into at each other's eyes. The power of this gaze can help bring out many different emotional responses: it can elicit joyous laughter or create and intense spark. Be sure to capture these moments by observing their reactions.
One of the advantages of going on a trip is that you get to go on an adventure with your couple. Follow your subjects as they explore a place they've never been to before—from popular tourist spots to their own personal finds. This sense of discovery will give your photos that extra spark.
A kiss on the lips may be the ultimate romantic gesture, but, as mentioned, it doesn't always translate well in photos. Another way to help your couple avoid looking (and feeling) awkward is by asking them about the other ways that they show each other affection. It can be a peck on the forehead or nose, or simply holding each other's faces. Everyone expresses their love in different ways, so try to capture one that is personal to your couple.
You don’t always have to rely on faces when it comes to portraits. When you choose not to reveal your couple’s faces, the viewer of the photo is forced to look at the other key elements in the scene—namely, the setting, the body language, the mood, and the moment.
Tiny details can reveal so much more about a couple’s relationship than first meets the eye. When photographing romantic portraits, try to include close-ups of tiny details such as matching tattoos or jewelry. Shots from such an intimate distance help the viewer really feel the sense of togetherness between a couple.
Staged shots may be fun, but nothing beats capturing real emotions. Look out for intimate moments between a couple when they think you’re not shooting. They’ll undoubtedly remember those images more than the times you ask them to pose.
We mentioned plenty of romantic couple poses, but what about getting your couple to shoot themselves? Sometimes the most fun and memorable moment happens when you ask them to take a self-timer photo or even a selfie. Pick a picturesque scene for them, such as outdoors during golden hour, then have them set up the self-timer and dash in front of the camera before it clicks. Take shots of them tying to execute this in the moment. This spontaneous rush of excitement will create an energy that a traditional pose can never duplicate.