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How to Pose Couples for Attractive Portraits

Jerry Ghionis shares his secrets for posing two people together
Photo of a couple

We’ve shared techniques on how to pose women for portraits and tips for posing men, now here’s a great video on how to pose couples to create appealing portraits. Once again, we turn to portrait pro Jerry Ghionis who shows you the best ways to pose two people together in the nearly 30-minute, free tutorial below.

“So, you have a couple in front of you, what do you do?” Ghionis asks. “They’re standing like this; they’re waiting for a photograph. Now, cute couple but we have to bring out a little bit of finesse.”

Here are some of the highlights on how to finesse a couple’s portrait from Ghionis’ free-flowing seminar, which you can view in full at the bottom of this post. If you want more great portrait tips from Ghionis check out this helpful piece he wrote for our sister website Digital Photo.

Start with Safe Shots

“Usually when I’m photographing a couple, I start with what I call the ‘safe shots,'” Ghionis says. “It’s like you do what you have to do to get the shot, a clean shot looking in the camera smiling, no problem and then you can keep on going from there. First of all, if you are photographing a couple and you’re suggesting a relationship or intimacy in some kind of way, it’s important they turn their bodies actually towards each other.”

Female Hand Placement

“It’s really important that the web of the hands, meet and marry up to the thinnest part of her waist. If you had a plus size girl or someone a little bit more curvy and you wanted to soften those curves a little bit, you might deliberately put that hand over where it looks a little bit thicker.”

Man Hands (& Knees)

“The problem is she’s looking great but he’s just doing nothing. Let’s put his hand in his pocket but then he still looks a little bit stoic. There’s no energy shifting to the girl. So, he’s just going to lean a bit forward and lean into [the female model] then automatically you see what he did, he actually bent that front knee, which is fantastic. Putting all his weight on his back leg and then bending that front knee is really good.”

Changing the Angle & Mirroring

“Posing for the camera is one thing but changing the angle will change the whole perspective of what’s going on. Whenever you are photographing someone, if you get them to mirror you, it’s the easiest way for them to actually understand what you want from them.”

Turntable Posing

“Let’s say we’ve got that pose. Sometimes what I do is when I’m photographing couples, I’ll say to them, guys, pretend you’re on a turntable and then I don’t change a single thing and now I’m just turning that turntable that way. There are going to be some poses that look really good simply from a different angle and it’s up to you to work out whether it looks good or not.”

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

“Quite simply I look at every guy and say, if I was him right now would I be happy with this photograph? Do I look good? Do I look handsome? What’s happening? And the same goes for her and for the couple. Put yourself in their shoes when you think about the pose.”

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