Photographers often hear their clients say, “We’re awkward, but we want to be natural, fun & romantic.” This common challenge underscores the importance of mastering posing, a skill that blends technical knowledge with creative communication. The art of posing is more than just positioning subjects; it’s about crafting authentic, emotive stories through images.  This guide offers insights into transforming ordinary shots into memorable experiences by utilizing effective cues and directions.

The journey through professional photography is a continuous learning curve, evolving from technical mastery to advanced skills in communication, business, and marketing. However, one aspect remains a constant source of fascination and growth: the art of posing and client communication. This collection of tips and insights from seasoned professionals is invaluable for photographers at any career stage. It offers a unique glimpse into how experts guide their clients to achieve natural, engaging poses, making it an essential resource for honing the subtle yet powerful art of posing.

Note, this article focuses on couples posing cues.  You might also be interesting in posing cues for bridesmaids and posing cues for groomsmen.

Amii and Andy – Sunshine & Reign Photography
“Andy and I like to chase unique perspectives. And although we favor a “documentary-style,” we’re not afraid to direct a pose. In this case, as the bride and groom stopped for a kiss before getting in their ride (from the church to the reception), we told them to get in close and almost kiss. Foreheads together. Lips almost touching. We find the “almost kiss” to be hotter than the actual kiss.”

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Christina Blanarovich
“Walk towards me like you’re drunk, laughing and holding each other up. Bonus points for knocking into each other!”

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James day – James Day Weddings
“I’ll have the groom stand behind the bride and I encourage him to squeeze her until she pops.”

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Shannon Cronin Photography
“You’re at the airport picking him up after a month apart. You arrived early, parked, and you’re excitedly waiting at baggage claim. Then you see him walk out and everything else fades away as you run up and give him a month’s worth of hugs at once.”

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Brett Benham
“I had them finish this sentence: “I fell in love with you because…”They take turns and keep going. Always produces a range of emotions.”


Jihan Cerda
“While walking, face the opposite direction of one another, ] and when I count to three, turn and face each other with your ugliest mug face!”

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Timothy Eyrich
“To her: when he puts his arms around you try and move away.
To him: Put your arms around her and pull her into you while trying to kiss her cheek.”

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Christine Yodsukar
“I like to start sessions with vague instructions to see what they naturally do. I’ll start with “Stand together”,and not “stand side-by-side” or “stand facing one another” so that they really have freedom. Then I might move a hand to a face or say “do you want to hold his hand?” I’m inviting rather than instructing. Then to get the emotion that is natural for them, I say, “tell each other your favorite thing about one another.” Their personality as a couple really comes out, and the moment after they’ve told one another is usually the best!”

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Rich Lander – Chard Photo
“Forehead to forehead can be hard to get an expression out of couples because they feel out of place so I tell them “Give each other eskimo kisses with your noses…yeah now you feel really dorky huh?!” and they smile or giggle EVERY time! Probably just because you’re calling out how they really feel…I’m ok with that!”

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Kate Noelle Photography
“I tell the groom, “as delicately as you can, use your fingers to bring her lips in for a slow-mo kiss you’d see in a movie…. the slower the better”. Usually, if they’re going slow enough, smiles and laughter happens on the way to the kiss.”

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Megan Allen – studio 22 photography
“I tell the groom: “in your sexiest voice, whisper your favorite vegetable in her ear.” Sounds ridiculous, but the laughter that ensues is absolutely priceless, and the photos always end up being some of the couples’ favorites!”

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Melissa Kilner of Melissa Kilner Photography

“Instead of having clients walk towards you side by side. Have one person walk slightly in front of the other and drag the other along. They can take turns looking at each other and looking at the camera. It’s a small change from a well-used pose, but it keeps it fresh and fun, and a lot of times they naturally laugh in the process. This works great while they are walking toward you, or if you have them walk perpendicular to where you are standing.” – Melissa Kilner

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Kara Miller of Kara Miller Photography
“I tell the guy to nuzzle her cheek… Like a cat. The cat part usually makes them laugh!” – Kara Miller

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Jerrit Pruyn

“I make sure to sound as manly as possible when I say this. ‘Give him a kiss and pop up your heel like a Disney princess.'” – Jerrit Pruyn

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Shannon Cronin of Shannon Cronin Photography

“I ask the couple to dance and usually specifically ask them to practice their first dance. Most couples will do the clutch and sway kind of dance but I’ll photograph it from far away so they can really get into it. It will either produce a really sweet moment or they’ll burst out laughing – either way, it’s a great shot.” – Shannon Cronin

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Christina Zen

“I always tell my couples to snuggle up close but give them different instructions in secret. I tell the bride to grab her man and try to make him give her a long, slow kiss. But I tell the groom to kiss her anywhere BUT her lips. To tease her a bit with an “almost kiss”. It can get very romantic, but usually ends in a perfect laughing moment.” – Christina Zen

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Chad Diblasio of Diblasio Photo + Design

“So, this is one of my favs to get great reactions and also closeness. I have her hug him around the neck and then tell her to “zerbert” the side of his neck. It’s always a super sweet reaction and, depending on where you place yourself, you can see both them in genuine reactions :) I use it with families and kids a lot too. Always good for a real laugh!” – Chad Diblasio

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Crystal Stokes of Crystal Stokes Photography

“My couples know that I’m not afraid to get SUPER up close and personal with them. In this instance, I stepped in VERY close and asked them to move into each others personal space, the closer, the better. I directed them to touch foreheads together, gently.

This isn’t always enough, it is important that there is something more than touching skin so I asked them to breathe each other in… created this beautiful feeling of connectedness that I live for when I photograph people.” – Crystal Stokes
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Pye Jirsa of Lin and Jirsa Photography

I always feel like it’s weird to write an article, and put myself into the list of 12 incredible photographers. So I am excluding myself from that list, and will go as lucky number 13 with a final posing tip/cue. I love getting goofy with clients in setting up a super romantic mood or vibe, then just totally throwing it to the wind like a big joke. Always can get some very good romantic shots, then great reaction shots right after. Here’s an example with my “Deep Impact” cue:

“You know that scene in Deep Impact where the couple is on the beach holding each other waiting for the gigantic thousand foot tidal wave to take them? I want you to hug her like you are in that last moment.” I’ll pop a few shots as they are all somber, romantic and serious (which are great by themselves), then I say. “No no really? Your supposed to go AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, You’re about to die standing in front of a tidal wave, what the hell is wrong with you guys?”

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In conclusion, this serves as an essential guide for photographers seeking to enhance their craft in client interaction and posing. This comprehensive collection of cues and tips, distilled from the experience of seasoned professionals, provides a roadmap for creating authentic, engaging, and emotive photographs. Whether you are at the beginning of your photography journey or well-versed in the field, this guide empowers you to elevate your work from simple snapshots to storytelling masterpieces. It underscores the pivotal role of communication and direction in photography, transforming the way we capture moments into an art form that resonates with both the photographer and the client. Embrace these insights and let them guide you in capturing the natural beauty and unique essence of each subject, ensuring that your photography not only captures moments but also tells unforgettable stories.