Couples Photography Guide for Beginners – Gear, Poses, Ideas

Couple Photography Guide

Couple photography is about shooting love stories of two people. It is important for any photographer to show such tender feelings in the pictures. After years of photography experience, I’ve gathered some photography and photo editing tips for beginners who want to take beautiful and lifestyle couples photography.

15 Couple Photography Tips

Couples photography is a more complex activity than photographing an individual model. A photographer needs to establish the right interaction between partners and capture sincere emotions and lifestyle photography. I hope, these couple photography tips will help you a little bit.

Tip 1. Talk to Your Clients

couple photography

Effective communication is a key success factor for couple photosession. I recommend you to get acquainted with your customers better. Create a WhatsApp group and chat with your clients. Find out about the desires and preferences of your models in advance. It will help you take good photos. Try these photography questionnaire templates to understand what your clients want from a photo shoot.

Questionnaire #1


Questionnaire #2


Questionnaire #3


Tip 2. Schedule Your Workflow

professional couple photography

I advise you not to plan an outdoor photo session on the wedding day. Your models will be very busy communicating with guests and doing other things. In addition, you will need quite a lot of time to take good pictures. I recommend you to schedule, make a photography checklist, and discuss a photo shoot with clients in advance. It will give you the opportunity to manage the workflow and get the best shots. Download these scheduling apps to simplify preparation for couples photo sessions.

Acuity Scheduling

app for professional couple photography

It is an incredibly handy and useful tool for couple photography planning. Your clients will be able to select the necessary dates and time for photo sessions. Moreover, Acuity Scheduling has the function of sending payments through, Stripe, and PayPal.

iphone app store


app for scheduling couple photography

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a great app, which can help you simplify couple photography workflow, save a lot of time and automate your daily activities. For example, if you want to take pictures under the rain, connect the application for forecasting the weather. IFTTT will send you a notification with the most likely dates when rainy weather is expected.

iphone app store

Tip 3. Apply Manual Focus Settings

camera settings for couple photography

I advise beginners to use automatic AF settings for the first time. They will help you simplify the work and get experience. However, some situations in couple photography require manual settings, for example, if you want to focus on very small details. View more about camera settings for portraits in this Photographing Couples course by David Ziser.

Tip 4. Adjust the Aperture Correctly

aperture for couple photography

Aperture settings are very important for couple portrait photography. It will help you make the foreground sharper and deeper (by compressing or blurring the background). If the models are in the same focal plane, you do not need to use any special aperture settings; use the f/2.0 value. However, if people are on different lines, you need to increase the aperture, use f/4.0. It is a better option to focus on all your models.

Tip 5. Choose the Optimal Shutter Speed

shutter speed for couple photography

Some photographers often face the problem of camera shake when taking couples photos. There are several ways to avoid it. First, you need to adjust the shutter speed of the lens. Practice photographing as much as possible to understand which value is ideal for you. The second important factor is the focal length of your lens. Double its value and the likelihood of camera shake will decrease significantly. You may always find out how to use a tripod to avoid your camera shake.

35mm 1/70th
50mm 1/100th
85mm 1/170th
135mm 1/270th

Tip 6. Control ISO Settings

iso for couple photography

In order to adjust the exposure, control the ISO settings of your camera. The amount of light that reaches the sensor depends on this characteristic. The ISO values depend on the conditions in which the photographer works during the couples photography session. For example, set 100-400 ISO while working outdoors. Remember, weather conditions (for example, cloudiness) are of great importance here.

Sunny day ISO 100-400
Cloudy day ISO ~400-800
Shooting indoors with good natural light ISO ~800-2000
Dark interior (for example, church interior) ISO ~2000+

Tip 7. Prefer RAW Format

raw for couple photography

RAW files have many advantages over JPEG images. Prefer RAW shooting format. It will open up a lot of opportunities for you during further photo editing. Careful image editing will help you achieve the best result and get perfect pictures even if it’s overexposed.

Lightroom Presets - Must-Have Collection

lightroom preset collection for couple photographylightroom preset collection for couple photography

Use these Lightroom presets for making deep color correction of your couple photos. Warm or cold tones, pastel, vintage, cinematic, and other effects can be achieved in several clicks.

Tip 8. Work with Proper Lighting

lighting for photography

Proper lighting is a very important aspect of couple photography. Choose the best time for a photo shoot. I think that the optimal period is the time one hour before sunrise and one hour before sunset. Plan your engagement photo session during the daytime to have good light. If you can’t schedule a photo session in advance, apply modern lighting techniques. Place additional light sources and photography light bulbs indoors or outdoors. Such equipment will help you get perfect pictures even when working at night.


ebook for couples photography

Read this book to find out what are the features of shooting portraits of two people. In this book, you will find detailed descriptions of the lighting techniques, poses and gear tips.


Tip 9. Treat Your Camera like an Ordinary Thing

camera for couples photo sessions

Do not focus your attention on the camera while taking couples portraits. The fact is that it is very difficult for many models to feel comfortable and natural during a photo shoot, especially if they are photographed for the first time. Emphasizing your attention on the camera can cause additional discomfort for the couple. Imagine that your equipment is nothing more meaningful than an ordinary table or chair. Behave simply and naturally. Chat and joke with your clients. It will help you create a relaxed atmosphere.

Recommended camera:

Canon 6D

This is a very good option at an affordable price. It can produce high-quality images even in low light. This device can compete with 5D Mark III in many aspects, but its autofocus is far from perfect and inferior to the AF characteristics of 5D Mark III.

Tip 10. Cooperate with an Assistant

couple photosession

Photography couple is a rather difficult activity. Therefore, I recommend you to work with an assistant. He/she will help you set up your equipment, place additional light sources, flashes, and other accessories. The assistant will also keep an eye on some important details, such as random objects in the background, hair, clothing, and make-up of your models.

Tip 11. Think of the Final Product

professional couples pictures

If your customers order a photo book consisting of 20 images, you should understand that you will need to take many professional couples pictures. You have to choose the perfect frames for printing. Think over the style of your photo shoot. You should achieve perfect harmony. All photos must complement each other. For example, take a series of consecutive pictures that describe a certain story. Make sure all your photos meet customer requirements and are of the highest quality.

Tip 12. Think About Couple Photoshoot Poses

It is very important to plan the style of photo shoots and poses in advance. I advise you to listen to the wishes of your customers in order to get the most harmonic and natural images.

Ask them about the couple photoshoot style they prefer (for example, portrait style or documentary photography). Having this information, you can make a list of suitable poses and discuss them with your clients. The fact is that some poses may seem too uncomfortable for them. Do not forget about this. Here is a list of the best 10 poses ideas for you:

1. Side by Side

photography couple

Ask your models to sit close to each other. Remember, happy couple photography requires sincere, natural emotions. Some people may feel insecure and uncomfortable sitting in an open space. Offer them some support. For example, you can use pieces of furniture or a wall for them to lean on

2. Emphasize the Feet

couple photography poses

It is not necessary to keep their faces in the focus all the time. There are a lot of original couple photography ideas you can try. I recommend you to focus on other body parts too. It is very trendy to emphasize the feet today. Ask your clients to stand as close as possible to show their connection.

3. Kiss on the Forehead

creative couple photography ideas

Demonstrate the tenderness of real feelings with a kiss on the forehead. This is the best way to show how close the lovers are to each other. Famous couple photographers often use this trick. By the way, closed eyes will add a special romantic mood to such photos.

4. A Moment Before a Kiss

outdoor couple photography poses

Everyone knows that the kiss is a symbol of passion. However, the moment before a kiss can be shown a little differently. It is not passion, but tenderness and a sense of anticipation.

Photographer Couples Posing Guide


Do you want your couples photography to look natural and unique? Then you should absolutely get this useful guide. It features 46 ideas of poses which will help you convey the true connection between two people.


5. Holding Hands

happy couple photography

This is a classic technique in couple portraits photography. It works well at the beginning of the photo shoot when the models feel a little shy. Ask them to step back and go in your direction.

6. Cityscape

cute couple photos ideas

If you have the opportunity to photograph a couple against the cityscape background, be sure to do it. Photos of the evening city look especially beautiful. Use elevations, such as a viewing platform for this purpose.

7. Hugs

poses for couples photo shoots

Hugs can convey all the tenderness of lovers to each other. Ask the man to stand behind the woman and embrace her gently. Choose an interesting angle. For example, try to shoot lying on the floor or the ground.

8. Mysterious Silhouettes

couple photoshoot style

Add some mystery and elegance to your photos. Take pictures of the silhouettes of your models. Darken their figures and make the background more vivid. Avoid accents on small details. The silhouettes of newlyweds should be the main focus of attention.

9. Rain

couple poses for wedding photography

Raindrops will add a nostalgic mood to your professional couples photos. Take one umbrella. It will unite your models. A transparent umbrella is a very good trend that can help you to focus on people and demonstrate the beauty of raindrops.

10. Reflection

couple poses reference

Use the available materials to create unusual reflections. For example, you can use a mirror or lacquered furniture for this purpose. Use water as a reflective surface. While working outdoors, take pictures of a couple near the river or pond. Experiment to get interesting visual effects with the help of reflection.

Tip 13. Try These Couple Photoshoot Outfit Ideas

Choosing a suitable outfit for a couple photosession may be a difficult task too. You should take part in this process too. Such clothes should be should perfectly fit your clients and make them feel comfortable. Many couples usually want to get images taken at different locations, so they prepare several outfits. This is a great chance to take photos in both casual and formal manner. Check these 10 creative couple photography ideas to get even more interesting results.

1. Prepare comfortable clothes

fun couple photoshoot ideas

It is advisable to wear something that makes you feel comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movements. Opt for clothes that you can wear on a real date, as it favorably highlights your beautiful figure and deftly hide some defects (if there is any). You should feel confident in your clothes, otherwise, couples photography session will be rather disappointing.

2. Choose outfit to match the location

couple photoshoot themes

Be mindful about the shooting location and choose your clothes to harmoniously match the place. For example, you can wear clothes of white and blue colors if you pose near the sea or the river. Thus, you will get professional couples pictures with cool composition.

3. Put on a traditional white dress

creative engagement photo ideas

It is a good idea to wear a classic white dress for the pre-wedding photo session. Such clothes come in different fit, so you can choose a long dress with minimum decorative elements or flirty variants with beautiful ornaments. Many women opt for casual white dresses, which give them a chance to move around easily and take different couple photography poses.

4. Be mindful with color combinations

couple picture ideas poses

If you want your couples portraits to look interesting even many years after the photo session, choose classic color combination in your outfit. Blue and yellow are the best option as they harmoniously complement each other and look rather pretty against many backgrounds.

5. Put on matching denim

outdoor engagement photo ideas

You are mistaken if you think that denim clothes won’t suit the couple photography session. In fact, such things look rather trendy, but only if they are in one color scheme.

6. Try plaid-patter clothes

couple photoshoot poses

Plaid shirts always look stylish and bring some casual touch to the model’s look. Both men and women can choose such clothes but of different colors, not to look like twins in the photos.

7. Use a jacket

professional couple photography

This is a great item of men’s clothes that adds an official touch to the photos. Don’t choose a jacket of black color, as it will be somehow borings, while brown and dark blue jackets will look very trendy. Besides, you can try different outdoor couple photography poses wearing a jacket or simply slinging it over your shoulder.

8. Choose small and simple prints

couple photoshoot outfit ideas

Don’t wear clothes with many distracting elements, like tiny flowers scattered across the dress or a dotted suit, which makes you less interesting in the picture. Opt for simple patterns, which always look interesting and beautiful.

9. Remember about shoes

couple portraits photography

Footwear, as well as clothes, matter a lot for couple photography. If you’ve decided on the outfit, choose matching shoes. For example, casual jeans and T-shirts will look great with sneakers.

10. Add white elements to your look

couple photoshoot outfit ideas

If you have some doubts on the perfect clothes for couples photo sessions, go for white color in your outfit. It adds a touch of tenderness and to the images and suits many background options.

Tip 14. Look for a Special Location

couple photography ideas

Your clients may have a special place where they want to have a photo session. If not, try to find a location which means something to both of them and evokes pleasant feelings and memories. For example, you can choose the place, where they first met or kissed, where he/she proposed to the other, etc. Anyway, it should be a meaningful place, which is related to their couple.

I have worked with many couples and know that there is usually a spot that adds a romantic mood to the couple photosession and makes them relaxed. Choosing the place, mind the weather condition, so that you won’t prepare in vain. It would be a real disaster if you get caught in rain, having your clients disappointed and equipment damaged.

Spotted By Locals

app for finding locations

There are some apps that may become really helpful while choosing a perfect location for shooting. One of the most popular apps is Spotted By Locals. It is created with the idea that local people help you to find a good place for photographs with breathtaking background.

iphone app store

Tip 15. Get Inspired by These Places

There are so many beautiful places on our planet and it will be super cool to visit them together with your partner. They will admire you with their breathtaking views, ancient buildings and wild nature, so it’s a reasonable idea to save these memories in the form of images.

1. Havasu Falls Hike, Arizona

couple photography

This is a perfect place for real risk-lovers, who are ready to implement the craziest couple photography ideas. Havasu Falls serve as a gorgeous background for images bringing dynamics to each of them. Though, there is a 10-mile trek separating you from this spot, the view is worth every effort.

2. Scenic Stroll in Iceland

couples photography

Scenic Stroll in Iceland adds a special mood to professional couple photography, offering lots of awesome views. You will find bustling waterfalls and steep cliffs, fast rivers and huge glaciers, which is a great couple photography location for those people who like nature and traveling.

3. Streets of Cuba

professional couples photos

The romantic aura of the country attracts many people. Colonial architecture, fresh fruit, retro cars, strong rum and refreshing cocktails will leave lots of pleasant impressions. Beautiful Cuba streets may become a wonderful location for couples photography session, especially if models wear traditional Cuba clothes.

4. Brooklyn Bridge, New York

couples photography session

A walk along the Brooklyn Bridge is a sacred ritual for both city residents and tourists. The bridge offers excellent views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, which may be a great background for couples portraits. It is better to take images in the late afternoon, when the bridge is “embraced” in the rays of the setting sun.

5. Moraine Lake, Banff, Canada

professional couple photography

The most beautiful places may be hidden from the human eyes. Nature, as if, deliberately wants to leave intact amazing locations. This is true for the Glacier Moraine Lake in Canada, which is located among the snow-covered mountain ranges and dense forests, 14 km from the nearest village. If your clients are persistent enough and are ready to cover this distance, you are sure to get awesome pictures. You don’t even need to prepare certain poses for couples photo shoots, as nature will inspire you.

6. Hawaii

couples portraits

Hawaii is an expression of natural perfection mixed with cultural diversity. Excellent surfing conditions and active volcanoes, spewing lava flows, attract tourists from all over the world. In the morning you can go diving in the coral reefs, and at sunset listen to guitars. Hawaii is juicy fruit and hibiscus flowers, Pacific cuisine and whales jumping out of the water. So why not use this local color to give life to your photography couple ideas?

7. Cinque Terre, Italy

wedding couples photography

Cinque Terre Park is a stunningly beautiful place located in the Liguria region, with unique sea and mountain landscapes, as well as medieval sights that bring a special Italian atmosphere to your couples photography. It stretches for several kilometers along the rocky coast, and includes 5 picturesque cities. All of them have interesting locations for your photo session.

8. Santa Barbara, California

wedding couples photography

Santa Barbara is a very green, cozy and quiet city with lots of little cute houses and a long coastline. It is quite a small town, so it will take you several hours to see the main sightseeing. So, you can easily move from one place to another and realize your cute couple photos ideas.

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

couple photosession

Copenhagen is a very compact and cozy city, with almost no skyscrapers, but with a lot of old houses, parks and embankments. In the city center, there is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe – Stroget, which serves as a wonderful place to take professional couples photos. The most comfortable weather conditions are in summer, so mind this while organizing a shooting.

10. Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California

couples photo sessions

Sutro Batch keep attracting tourists from other countries, though there is little left from the original baths. Still, you may take some interesting photos in these ruins, giving your images timeless feel.

FREEBIES for Editing Couple Photography

You can take professional photos by following all the tips I’ve mentioned above, but you won’t do without the final stage, mainly, quality picture editing. However, it is not always necessary to master all the secrets of photo editing yourself. I offer several free tools that will facilitate your picture editing process.

1. Free Light and Airy Lr Preset "Contrast"

You may try different couple photoshoot themes, but the main idea is to keep natural shades. This preset is just what you need.

2. Vintage Preset for Lightroom "Soft Sepia"

Soft Sepia preset is among the most popular plugins for couple photography. It results in softer tones, yellow shade and slightly faded image.

3. Glow Lightroom Preset "Light"

Apply this LR presets to the couples portraits taken on a bright, sunny day. It raises shadows in the blacks and improves clarity, so regulate the opacity if needed.

4. B&W Pro - Free Lightroom Preset from B&W Essential Collection

Turn the images from the couples photography session into B&W shots in a professional way. Thus, you’ll get dramatic and atmospheric pictures.

5. Free Adobe Lightroom Preset "Contrast Warm"

If you need to accentuate the center of the picture, apply this preset. Besides, it removes extra shadows, making the photo well-balanced.

6. Pastel Lightroom Preset "Butterfly"

This is a truly universal plugin, suitable for all photo genres, couple photography included.

7. Adobe LR Preset "Cool"

You can skillfully improve the color tone in your couples portraits with this preset. Highly recommended for outdoor photography.

8. PS Action “Matte Effect"

The photo becomes softer and acquires muted colors, which is really beneficial for portrait and couple photography.

9. Photoshop Portrait Action "Burn"

The picture becomes slightly darker, while facial features are more prominent. The main accent is on the eyes, so they become really expressive.

10. Fog Overlay "Dramatic Look"

Designed to add light fog to your photos, this overlay will be especially great for gentle couple photoshoot style.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more