30 Natural Couples’ Poses for Pictures That Don't Scream *Prom*

fresh, fun, natural

couples poses: hugging, laying down, dancing
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It is a universally acknowledged truth that everyone wants to look better in pictures. But what about couples’ poses? You know how to pose yourself, but what happens when you’ve got a sidekick? Well, as a portrait photographer, I’ve photographed plenty of couples over the years and can share a thing or two about how to nail a photoshoot that doesn’t scream prom. Yeah, no cheesy arms-around-the-waist-from-behind shenanigans. Here, I’ll break down six base poses with five iterations each, for a total of 30 couples’ poses you can bring to your next photo sesh to keep things fun, fresh and natural.

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1. Face to Face

  • Get into base pose: Face your partner and pull them close so that your belly buttons (or the general area) touches.
couples poses: two women hold hands like they are social dancing
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1. Friendly Hand Hold

From “base pose,” clasp hands with your partner, letting your arms rest at your sides. Remember, don’t interlace your fingers—this creates the dreaded “slug” effect. Instead, opt for “Lego” hand holding, as illustrated above. Once you’re in this pose, there are tons of iterations: touch foreheads and smile, kiss (!), go cheek-to-cheek and smile at the camera or share a laugh.

couples poses: a man and a woman hug, standing near their patio door at sunset
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2. Show the Ring

Building on the previous pose, you can do what I call “show the ring.” As shown above, you give your partner a strategic hug so your hand can show off the jewelry. (It also works as an iteration of pose number one; just bring your hands up to about shoulder height.) This makes for a great “detail shot” if your photographer gets an up-close photo of your hand.

couples poses big hug
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3. The Big Hug

Self-explanatory, right? Just hug each other. It’s guaranteed to bring a fit of giggles that will showcase a natural joy in front of the camera.

couples poses the notebook kiss
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4. The Notebook

OK, you know the scene I’m talking about: Noah and Allie in the rain sharing a passionate kiss. If PDA isn’t your thing, don’t worry. You can still take a page from the lovebirds. Just bring your hand up to your partner’s jawline and eskimo kiss.

couples poses: african american man lifts up african american woman and swings her around in their living room
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5. The Fairytale

Whether it’s a princess movie or a rom-com, I’ve sure you’ve seen it somewhere. (Oftentimes) it’s the girl running to the guy, and he sweeps her into his arms and spins her around. As illustrated above, you can do this from the “face to face” base pose. My tip: When lifting your partner, scoop them up from under their bottom. It’ll be more comfortable for them than if you grab the middle of their spine, and easier for you to hold them up. Don’t be afraid to do a couple practice runs before the shutter fires.

2. Friendly Bisection

  • Get into base pose: Have your partner face the camera straight on. Stand next to them so that your belly button meets their hip bone (or that general area). Your chest should be angled towards them.
couples poses hanging on
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1. Just Hangin’ On

Once in the “base pose,” this variation can go two ways. First, one partner can lean on the other and drape their arms over them. Or one partner can stand facing the camera with their hands in their pockets, while the other partner holds onto their arm.

couples poses tent flap
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2. The Tent Flap

If one partner is taller than the other, you can try the “tent flap.” The taller of the two will simply drape their arm over the shorter partner.

couples poses chest sandwich
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3. The Chest Sandwich

Most people have probably done this at least once, and if you haven’t, you’ve seen other people do it. From the base pose, one partner puts their hand on the other’s chest. Variation comes with the heads: Look at each other, look at the camera or one partner can put their head on the other’s shoulder.

couples poses: guy and gal embrace on the beach
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4. The Side Hug

From the base pose, the partner who is standing slightly behind the other can lean over to give them a hug.

couples poses kiss
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5. The Kiss

Who kisses who is up to you. Share it or one can give the other a sweet little peck on the cheek.

3. The Backwards V

  • Get into base pose: Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your partner facing away from the camera. Then, turn your feet slightly away from each other, so that each pair forms one of the arms of the “V.”
couples poses temple to temple
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1. Temple to Temple

Once you’re in the base pose, turn in towards each other and the camera, so that your temples are touching.

couples poses backwards hug
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2. The Backwards Hug

Just as it sounds. Put your arms around each other and turn in towards each other, looking over your shoulder towards the camera. You can also play around with more candid gestures, as shown above.

couples poses nose to temple
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3. Nose to Temple

Also pretty self-explanatory. This pose works well if the taller partner puts their nose to the shorter partner’s temple, while the latter looks at the camera.

couples poses peck on the cheek
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4. Peck on the Cheek

This pose is a natural segue from the previous one. Go ahead and give them a little smack on the cheek.

couples poses backwards v kiss
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5. The Kiss

...And let pose number four evolve into this.

4. The Bear Hug

  • Get into base pose: Stand facing the camera with your partner behind you. (This pose works best if there is some height difference.) Have your partner hug you over the shoulders and lean you both forwards towards the camera, *almost* as if you were about to bend down to give them a piggy-back ride.
couples poses: lesbian couple hugs and one woman gives the other a kiss on the cheek
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1. Look into Their Eyes

The partner in front who is getting bear hugged just turns their neck to look at their partner.

couples poses eskimos
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2. Eskimos

And once you’re in that position, touch noses.

couples poses mug for the camera
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3. Mug for the Camera

Alternately, you can both just smile at the camera. This comes off most natural if the person doing the hugging “surprises” their partner, so the photographer can capture a candid reaction.

couples poses nose to temple 8219aa
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4. Nose to Temple

Either partner can do this while the other looks at the camera. Other places to direct your gaze: the sky, the ground or over your shoulder.

couples poses: a groom gives his bride a ppiggy back ride
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5. The Sneak Attack

Similar to pose number three, the sneak attack involves one partner coming up and hugging the other from behind without warning. This will usually produce natural smiles, laughs and gestures that look fun.

5. Sit Down

  • Get into base pose: It doesn’t get simpler than this. Just sit! If your torsos are similar heights, then have one partner sit either higher or lower to create visual interest.
couples poses 5050
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1. The 50/50

Ever wondered why every Vanity Fair group photo looks legendary? It’s because the photographers use levels, or the strategy of having their subjects do a combination of sitting, standing and leaning. The goal is to have people at different heights create shapes in the overall photo that direct the eye towards through the image. In your next photo, try having your partner sit while you stand (or vice versa). If you both prefer to sit, use props to stagger your levels. For example. if you’re sitting on stairs, sit on different ones.

couples poses cleopatra
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2. The Cleopatra

I call this the Cleopatra because I just imagine the queen reclining on a lounge chair while someone fans her with a palm leaf. Essentially, one partner sits while the other reclines diagonally.

couples poses: asian couple eating breakfast. the woman is leaning her head on the man's shoulder
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3. Lean on Me

If you sit side-by-side, one of you can lean on the other person’s shoulder. This should produce some candid interaction and smiles, while also incorporating levels.

couples poses friendly bisection sitting
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4. Friendly Bisection: Sitting Edition

Similar to the other base pose, one partner can tuck themselves slightly behind the other while you’re both sitting down.

couples poses laying down
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5. Lay Down

Or skip sitting upright altogether. You can lay down side-by-side and touch noses. Or, each person can lay on the ground on their back in opposite directions. From there, rest your head on the other person’s shoulder (as shown above).

6. Get Moving

  • Get into base pose: The base pose will depend on the motion you’re doing. Keep in mind that many of the arm/hand/leg/etc. placements previously discussed can be employed here.
couples poses walking
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1. Take a Walk

My pro tip for great walking photos that don’t make your feet look awkward is to pretend that you’re walking on a tightrope and do it slowly. Trust me, your legs will look great and elegant.

couples poses: older couple dancing in the streets of a european city
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2. Dance

Natural, fun, relaxing and sure to produce genuine smiles.

couples poses swim
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3. Swim

At the pool or the beach? Get wet. Go swimming, splash, throw someone into the pool, ride your floaties together. Make use of the endless props.

couples poses play
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4. Play

Bring out your inner child. Bounce on a trampoline. Go roller skating. Just have fun while your photographer uses burst mode on your phone camera.

couples poses cook
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5. Cook

OK, if you’re not much of a chef, the real theme of this posing strategy is to find an activity to do together that occupies your hands and allows you to interact naturally. Sip your milkshakes in unison. Read your books side-by-side. Play chess.

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