14 Outdoor Couple Poses for Unforgettable Portraits

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When you take photos of couples, you have to consider many things. What is their story? How do you make your photos meaningful? More importantly, how can you make this an unforgettable experience for your clients? This process doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. The right couple poses and ideas can make a big difference in your photography.

1. Forehead Kiss

Close-up portraits go very well with sunrises and sunsets. Notice how the sunlight highlights some parts of the models’ hair. This adds dimension to the photograph. It also gives it a painterly feel. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the golden hour during your portrait photoshoots.

The classic forehead kiss is perfect for any outdoor setting. There are many variations of this pose. Your models can hug, hold hands, or hold each other’s faces. If you want the forehead kiss to be the main part of your image, get closer to the couple.

When you take photos of people, it’s important to keep your distance. If you get too close, your images will look distorted and your models will feel uncomfortable. You can avoid this entirely by using a zoom lens. A zoom lens can help you take high-quality photos even when you’re standing a few feet away from your subject. If you don’t have a zoom lens, consider cropping your pictures instead.

2. Resting Head on Lap

girl kissing boyfriend's forehead
Converting your photos to black & white can make them look more romantic. If you want to give them a vintage photography feeling, add a pop of colour to your B&W results. This photo has muted yellow highlights, which makes it look nostalgic.

This is a cute and relaxed pose that’s perfect for summer photoshoots. One of the models has to lie on their back. Then, they should rest their head on their partner’s lap. You can do this on a picnic blanket in the park or on any other comfortable surface. The model that’s sitting straight can lean forward and kiss their partner’s forehead. Alternatively, they can look into each other’s eyes.

If there are too many distractions in the background (this is common in public places), you can convert your photos to black & white.

Poses like this can feel a little awkward at first. This is completely normal, especially if your clients aren’t professional models! You can quickly get rid of the awkwardness by asking the couple to talk about something. Ask them specific questions. For example:

  • How did you meet?
  • What is your favourite memory together?
  • What’s the sweetest thing you’ve done for each other?

Take as many photos as you can during this process.

3. Cuddling in Front of an Incredible View

couple poses enjoying a view together

This is a great pose to start with if your models are feeling shy. They won’t need to show their faces, but they’ll have some time to get used to the presence of a camera.

First, pick a beautiful view. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a famous tourist destination. It can be a place that your models love visiting. The more significant the location is to the couple, the more fun they’ll having during your photoshoot. This will help you take unforgettable portraits of them.

Next, ask them to turn their backs to the camera and enjoy the view. They can stand up and hold hands. They can also sit down and cuddle. The specificity of this pose depends on what the couple is comfortable with. If you’re not sure, ask them to try out a few poses. Make sure to ask for their opinion so that they feel appreciated.

Last but not least, shoot vertically so that the view and the models are clearly visible.

4. The Lift

man lifting woman
Take as many photos as possible when there’s movement involved. You might get a lot of shots where your models’ eyes are half open, and that’s okay! The more photos you take, the closer you’ll get to taking that perfect couple shot. If a photo is sharp but doesn’t stand out enough, don’t delete it. You might find beauty in your outtakes later.

This is one of the most popular couple poses in the world. Even though it’s very common, you can still make it look unique in your photoshoots. One of your models has to lift their partner in the air. They can kiss or look into each other’s eyes. These are all great variations for cute couple photos.

You can make this pose a bit more candid. One of the models should lift their partner and twirl them around. They can also throw them in the air. (Not too much, unless your subjects happen to be professional gymnasts!) These poses can all result in candid and funny pictures. They can also help your models loosen up a little.

5. Holding Hands in Front of a Textured Background

couple poses girl and boy holding hands and laughing
A textured background like this doesn’t take the spotlight away from the models. It complements their outfits and gives the entire photo a studio feel. Walls like this aren’t difficult to find, no matter where you live. Keep an eye out for brick walls and murals in your location.

This is the kind of pose that you often see in profile pictures on social media. It might be popular, but it’s very effective and easy to create! This is yet another pose that you can use at the beginning of your photoshoot. You’re guaranteed to get great results immediately. If your models see how good they are at posing right from the start, they’ll get a major boost of confidence!

Find a textured background that complements the couple’s outfits. A textured background will add interest to your pictures. Make sure the location is well-lit so that you don’t need to worry about unflattering shadows.

Once you find that perfect background, ask your models to stand in front of it and hold hands. They can smile, laugh, or just be silly in front of the camera. Make sure you capture a variety of expressions. You never know when you’ll get your next best shot.

6. The Nose Touch

couple touching noses
You can make your couple poses even cuter by picking the right locations for your photoshoot. Gardens, parks, and cafes are all ideal for romantic moments. Prioritise locations that aren’t crowded so that your models feel comfortable enough to experiment with different ideas.

This is a cute pose that’s suitable for close-ups. (Again, you can use a zoom lens to avoid taking over anyone’s personal space.)

Ask the models to touch noses and look into each other’s eyes. It sounds a bit uncomfortable, but that’s the point! The awkwardness of the situation is meant to encourage silliness. Your models will probably laugh, so you’ll have a lot of candid photo opportunities.

7. Making the Heart Sign With Your Hands

couple making a heart sign on the beach

Ask the couple to hug in front of a picturesque location. One of them should hold their hands around their partner’s back and create a heart shape with their hands. The other partner can make a few signs of their own, too.

Make sure you use an aperture that isn’t too large so that all of these details are in focus. This can be f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, and so on. The higher this number, the more details you’ll be able to capture.

8. Dancing

couple poses dancing outdoors
No matter how insignificant a detail might seem, it can have a great effect on your photography. Notice the rose petals scattered all over the floor. Check out the Polaroids neatly lying next to the couple. These details might not stand out at first, but they still add to the story. They show you that the couple has a whole world of their own, and that makes them more relatable.

This isn’t a specific pose, but it’s a general instruction that can give you a lot of photo opportunities. Find a location where the couple can comfortably dance. Make sure there aren’t too many people around. If possible, turn on some music and let them have fun. If they’re a married couple, you can use the song from their first dance. This will make the photoshoot even more special for them.

Ask the models to dance their hearts out. They don’t need to be professionals to look good on camera. Assure them that the first few photos might look awkward. If they know what to expect, they won’t feel intimidated by the presence of your camera.

You can shoot in Burst Mode to take lots of photos at once. Burst Mode lets you take multiple photos very quickly. All you need to do is press and hold the shutter. This is common in sports photography, but it’s very useful in other genres as well.

9. Piggyback Ride

man carrying girlfriend on his back

This is another cute pose that’s ideal for locations with lots of space. One of the models should give their partner a piggyback ride. They don’t need to stand still and look straight at the camera. They can interact with each other and walk around. The less aware they are of the camera, the better.

If you need more specific instructions, here’s what you can tell your models:

  • look at each other
  • tell me the worst joke you can think of
  • admire the view together

10. Create Shadows on a Cute Background

shadow of a couple on a heart sign

You don’t need to photograph your models directly all the time. If it’s nice and sunny outside, you can photograph their shadows. This is a chance for you to take unique photos and experiment with different ideas.

For this to work, you need to find a cute background. This can be a huge heart like the one pictured above. It can be a colourful wall. Look for elements of love so that you can take meaningful photos. Ask your models to face each other and hold hands. They can also hug. Make sure they side profiles are visible so that the shadows are clear.

11. Serenading on a Set of Stairs

couple poses man serenading girlfriend

Is one of your models musically inclined? If so, you can include musical instruments in your photoshoot.

Props can give you a whole new list of couple poses. They can help your models feel less awkward in front of the camera. When you have something to concentrate on, you tend to feel less self-conscious. Keep this in mind when you work with people who aren’t used to modelling.

One of the models can sing to their partner as you take pictures. They can also simply play a beautiful melody. Take as many photos as possible to capture these romantic moments.

12. Holding Sparklers

couple holding sparklers

This is another idea that you can add to your prop-related couple poses list. Sparklers are affordable and easy to use. Photographers often use them in weddings to add beautiful bursts of light to their pictures. You can generously use them in couple photography.

The couple should hold a bunch of sparklers. Make sure they hold them as far out as possible to stay safe. They can look at each other or kiss when they do this. If you want your shots to be extra creative, focus on the sparklers only. You can also use a large aperture and focus on the couple. This will blur out the sparklers and create golden bokeh.

13. Lying on a Picnic Blanket

couple poses lying on a picnic blanket
Give your models a simple task that can distract them. Once they lose themselves in the moment, you’ll have the chance to take amazing candid photos. This is very easy to achieve with multiple models! Portrait photographers who work with single models usually encouraged them to bring their friends or family so that they feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Familiarity goes a long way in various portrait photography genres.

This pose is ideal for sunny days. The couple should lie on a picnic blanket. They can smell flowers, look at the sky, or talk about the beauty of the location. Pick a shaded place so that you don’t need to worry about rough direct light.

Make sure to include the surrounding area in your shots. This will give your couple photos an atmospheric feeling. Also, you can take photos from a low angle to create depth. Don’t shoot too high or too low. If you do, your models’ faces might look unflattering.

14. Wrapped in String Lights in the Dark

wedding couple wrapped in string lights
Many weddings last all day, so string lights are a necessity. They tend to be visually aesthetic and bright enough to make your models’ faces stand out. If you’re taking wedding photos, make sure to use these handy props at least once during your photoshoot.

This is a pose you can use at the end of your photoshoot. When the available light isn’t enough, you can experiment with artificial lights. These can be as simple as bright string lights. String lights are very common in weddings and Christmas photography. However, you can use them in any genre to add vibrance to your pictures.

Ask the couple to hold each other. Wrap the string lights around them. You can experiment with different shapes. Make sure you spread the lights out evenly so that your photos look visually aesthetic.

Nighttime photography can be tricky because of all the ISO you need to use. Don’t be afraid of this new territory! High ISO numbers don’t have to ruin your images.

The right couple poses can immediately transform your photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment with all of these ideas throughout your photoshoot. Make adjustments when necessary.

If you’re not sure where to start, use this article as a reference for your models. Being able to see a visual list of couple poses can make it easier for your models to pose the way you want them to.

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Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.

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  1. Great to find such an informative article. This will help beginners to get a better idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

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