Stuck in a rut with posing for engagement sessions? Just need a few new engagement photo poses and ideas? We’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find some great photo ideas on posing couples (not even just those newly engaged photos).
From the classic traditional look that moms everywhere adore to fun and silly scenes, we’ll help you position your couples for a bright future of beautiful photos in your engagement shoot.
The Importance of Engagement Photos
Engagement photos are often some of the first professional photos the couple has taken together. They might use these photos to share their news on social media, incorporate into their wedding or as thank yous for gifts.
These photos are also the official beginning of a life together as husband and wife. An engagement session should be a mix of shooting images the couple can use for practical reasons (save-the-date cards or a newspaper announcement photo) but should also capture who they are, right then, at that moment.
Make sure the engagement poses fit your couple, their personalities, and their likes! These engagement sessions are for the client, so make sure you focus on them and their love, not just a list of ideas for your portfolio. You’ll give them images they’ll cherish twenty-five or fifty years down the road!
And be sure to use these engagement photo ideas as inspiration, not a checklist. You’ll exhaust everyone before you get halfway through!
Connection, Connection, Connection
No matter what engagement photo poses you use, always make sure you’re highlighting the couples’ connections. Think about how you can connect them physically via touch or convey connection emotionally through a look or gesture.
I use what I call my “foundation poses.” These are simple, straight forward poses that I can tweak slightly based on the couples’ personalities and body types. For each engagement shoot, I use maybe 4 to 5 foundation poses, making small adjustments along the way. Then shoot it from a variety of angles and add layering for visual interest.
This way I create a ton of variety without a lot of complicated setups! Using foundation poses makes posing easier to remember and lends consistency to your workflow from engagement session to engagement session.
If the couple is changing locations or outfits, I repeat some of the same foundation poses in the new location or outfits. The scenery, clothing, and even their comfort in front of the camera can make the same basic pose look different.
I’ll mark my foundation poses with a * so you can see some of my favorites and then list the variations of the foundation pose underneath!
A Bit About Gender Prounouns
I’ll use traditional gender pronouns in this article, including man and woman, guy, girl, him and her, etc. just to keep directions clear. But these poses work equally well for engagement sessions with same-sex couples!
Engagement Photo Poses
Walking Photo Shoot Ideas*
Adding movement to a pose gives it some immediate energy and life. It also helps clients relax during an engagement shoot because they are focusing on something else. I usually start with having them simply walk together holding hands as if they were strolling down the beach.
Have the couple vary the position of their eyes by looking at each other, you, or even just down at the ground. Shoot this pose coming toward you, walking by you and walking away from you!
Follow the Leader
Have the couple take turns leading one another as they walk. Ask them to speed up or slow down or or even shuffle or skip and watch their demeanor change from romantic to silly in an instant. I think these look best if you can catch them as they walk across your lens.
Push Me Pull Me
Get them laughing in their engagements photo by asking the man to pull the woman toward him or push her away from him. Have him pull her completely into him and snuggle her.
Arms Encircling Each Other
Have the man put his arm around the woman as they walk, either around her shoulders or her waist. He can put his other hand in his pocket and she can grab the arm wrapped around her for a more intimate feel.
Stumbling and Bumbling
After your couple has their arms wrapped around each other walking, tell them to stumble and bumble together a little as if they were slightly tipsy. Even if the couple doesn’t drink, they know what this looks like and it makes for some fun, giggly moments!
As the couple walks away from you, call on one of them to turn and look back at you. It might end up being your favorite shot of the series!
Side by Side Traditional*
Even if you’ve got a nontraditional couple, take a few traditional engagement photos! I call this the “cake topper” photo because it reminds me of those old fashioned ceramic bride and groom cake toppers. Have the man and woman stand side by side and connect with one another.
My favorite is slightly more fun than the stoic side-by-side American Gothic look though. I have the man square up to me with thumbs in pockets with the woman pressing her stomach to his hip bone and snuggling his arm.
From the traditional engagement side-by-side pose, I’ll have a couple slip their inner arms around each other and turn toward one another slightly. Then I’ll have them take turns telling a secret to one another. If they can’t think of a secret, have them whisper a nursery rhyme in a sexy voice to the partner.
Another way to use the side-by-side pose is to turn either the man or woman away from the camera so only their partner is facing the camera. Have the person facing away from the camera turn his or her head slightly to look at their partner so you catch a glimpse of the side of their face.
Girl in front of Guy*
This is another traditional pose that’s popular with parents and grandparents and very common at high school proms!. Have the couple stand so the girl is slightly in front of the guy. I usually start by telling the guy to “wrap her up from behind.” Then I tweak it as follows.
Smell Her Hair/Nuzzle Her Neck
This is a great pose to create intimacy in an engagement session by asking the man to smell her hair or nuzzle her neck. Have the woman keep her eyes on you at first, then move her gaze and body slightly toward him.
Kiss The Cheek/Fish Lips
Instead of smelling her neck, ask him to to kiss her cheek. Then ask him to put his lips on her cheek and use fish lips to give her a smooch. Be prepared for a huge giggle and smile from her from the silliness.
Kiss The Hands
If the couple is side-by-side holding hands, have their raise their clutch hands up toward their faces and ask one of them to kiss their entwined hands while the other
Instead of having the man be directly behind the woman, have him stand at a 45-degree angle to your shooting position. Then have the woman stand with her shoulder perpendicular to his body and wrap their arms around each other. They can look at one other or touch foreheads. This shot oozes with love and tenderness most of the time.
Contemplate the Scenery
Don’t forget to get those soft, wistful expressions as the couple looks away from the camera. I give my couples a point in the distance to look at then give them a task or prompt like “Silently count the branches on that tree that you can see.” Or “Name as many states as you can in your head in a minute.” They’ll forget you are there and focus on the task while you get your shot.
Guy-in-Front of Girl*
Use any of these same poses from Girl-in-Front-of-Guy, but put the guy in front of the girl for a slightly different look!
Behind the shoulder snuggle
One of my favorite shots is to have the girl snuggle her guy from behind. Have the guy stand perpendicular to you so his shoulder is facing the camera with his hands in his pockets.
Ask her to snuggle him from behind and shoot the couple from the side. She can look at the camera, lean up and whisper in his ear or the can both turn slightly toward you for a more open and friendly pose.
Facing Each Other*
There are lots of variations of the facing toward each other pose. I start by telling my couples to “Walk over there a few feet, turn stomach to stomach and then just wrap up in each other.”
Most couples have a default pose that is completely natural and intimate to them and you just need to be ready to capture it. Create variation by adjusting how the arms are positioned.
Have them kiss as they face each other. Vary how it looks by adjusting how they are connecting. They can hold hands down low for a sweet, chaste smooch. Have one take the other’s face gently in the hands and kiss for a more intimate feel. Or ask them to almost lock lips and hold so no one’s nose is all smushed!
Switch it up a bit by having them twist at the waist and dip slightly as they smooch.
Touch Foreheads/Forehead Kiss
Ask them to lightly touch foreheads as they face one another. Have them take turns lightly kissing the others forehead.
Pick Her Up
Have the guy lift the woman off her feet as they smooch. Ask her to bend one knee slightly for a playful, fun look.
Sitting is a great photo pose if there’s a large height difference in your couple! You can have them sit on a bench or on the ground on a blanket. Stairs are another great nature seat. I give my couples broad instructions like “sit on the ground and sort of snuggle in to one another.”
From there, I’ll ask them to look at each other, nuzzle each other or even tickle one another. You can also have them sit facing each other and connect at the knees or hold hands. You can always use some of these other poses like the T-pose or Smell Her Hair from a sitting position.
Sitting on Two Levels
Position the woman on a top stair or chair and ask the man to sit down directly in front of her. Have her wrap him from behind with her arms or play with his hair. Then reverse their positions for a different variation. This is a great position to use if there is a big height discrepancy between the two of them!
Lying Down Snuggle
Have the guy sit on the ground facing the camera. Ask the woman to lie on her back with her head on his leg looking up at him.
Dancing is another great foundation pose to add some motion to your images. The mood can be romantic and intimate or fun and playful depending on how you ask them to pose!
Even if they aren’t big dancers, most couples have done some slow dancing in their relationship. Play off of that and focus on the love. If you take a small speaker and some great music, even better!
If you see a moment where you want them to look at the camera, ask them to stop and look at you. Most of the time, I let couples just enjoy each other and focus on candid moments.
Clutch and sway
Have the couple face each other and put their hands around each other as if they were at a junior high dance. I usually have the girl put her hands around his neck and tell the guy to wrap his arms around her waist.
Tell them to hold each other and sway as if they were listening to music. Encourage them to get a little closer if needed!
This is perfect for all your country couples. Ask the two of them to come together as if they were going to country dance or two-step. Ask them to dance in a small circle at a relatively slow pace. Stand in one spot and snap some photos as they come around at you.
Always ask for a dip! The pair might not execute it correctly but they usually have a lot of fun and laughs doing it!
Once the couple is positioned as if they are dancing, ask him to twirl her slowly with one hand.
I love using motion in my engagement shots because couples are more relaxed than they are just staring at the camera. Try using a few of these ideas! Remember you might need to raise your shutter speed to stop faster motion.
Slow Motion Smooch Engagement Photo
Ask the couple to face one another but stand several feet apart. Then have them walk toward each other and kiss in slow motion. Intentionally slowing down their movement amps up the anticipation factor and gives most couples a bit more intensity.
If you’re photographing on a beach or at a lake, get the couple playing in the water and splashing each other. Puddles are also a lot of fun. I usually save these for the end, though, so hair and makeup is intact for the majority of the session.
If you’re near a park, have them swing together. Have them take turns pushing each other and then just sit in the swings next to each other and talk. Be creative and you’ll come up with some amazing shots!
Let them ride bikes together! I think these types of images look darling with vintage bikes, but if your couple is athletic and physically active, mountain bikes work great too!
Ask the couple to ride in a circle around you or past you several times. You can have one partner be stationary and the other partner ride around him and shoot from both perspectives. This also works great for horses.
Throwing Snow or Leaves
When in nature, play with nature for great photo poses. Throwing leaves or a snowball fight isn’t just fun for kids. An engagement photo with joy and laughter is one they’ll love forever.
Piggy Back Ride
These are always some of my favorites if the couple has the physical strength to do it. And remember, the guy doesn’t always have to do the heavy lifting.
Any activity the couple enjoys together is fair game for fun engagement photo poses. Capture them playing a board game, working on a puzzle, enjoying a crossword together, eating together, fishing together, reading books, etc.
Don’t forget to throw in at least one really detail shot of the engagement session! Shoot the ring on her hand and in a more detailed still life. But you can also focus on details like earrings, statement necklaces, shoes or watches.
Incorporate the scenery
I always try to do a few really wide shots and incorporate the beautiful scenery into a few images, especially if the area is someplace special to the couple. Any pose works for this style of shot, but my favorites to use are them dancing or kissing as they face one another.
And remember, a shot taken from a different angle can give the engagement photo a different vibe entirely. Shoot from up high, down low and from straight on.
Pets add a fun and relaxing element to the session. One of my favorite poses is to place a dog behind the couple and have them hold hands over the dogs head. If the pet isn’t super obedient and won’t stay in place while you shoot, have the couple sit and snuggle together with the pet to keep them close.
Make use of props important to the couple. That might mean a vintage picnic set, books, food, or sports equipment. Anything that helps tell their story as a couple can make for great images.
Engagement photos should showcase the clients’ love and relationship and tell their story as a couple. Select a few foundation poses to use with each session and make small adjustments to their positions for a completely different look.
Focus on the love and connection between your couple. And don’t forget to have fun and just enjoy the couple and this fun moment in their lives!