Couples portraits are some of my favorite photographs to shoot. A beautiful couple with an incredible scenery and creative composition can result in stunning images. In this video, I’ll be showing you my top 5 compositions for engagement and couples portraits and tips for adding them to your next photoshoot.

Video: My Top 5 Compositions for Beautiful Couples Portraits

After capturing countless engagement and couples portraits, I found myself always drawn to certain compositions. Not only do my clients love them, but these compositions have defined my style as a photographer. They capture the couples in an authentic moment and you can try them out in all kinds of stunning sceneries. Let’s jump right in.

#1: His/Her Perspective

couples portraits his her perspective
Notice how the eyelines and the hands guide the viewer through the image.

This style of couples portraits sees them from the perspective of one partner. I simply follow behind the partner in the back as the other leads. I used the “Open Pose” from our Foundation Posing and have the couple open to the ocean in front of them. Notice the couple’s eyelines as well as their hands guiding the viewer through the image.

For this variation, I’m shooting from off to the side. I had my couple open up to the mountains on frame left. These couples portraits work best with a wide angle lens such as a 35mm. A wide angle allows me to be in the action and capture the scene from up close.


#2: His/Her Profile

couples portraits his her profile
Let the brightest light fall on the subject in the back.

Next, let’s talk about the “His/Her Profile.” This composition has one partner behind the other and facing each other, showing their profiles. The key to lighting this style is to have the partner in front facing the shadow. Then, the partner in the back will be exposed to the light.

Set your f-stop to let your front subject fall slightly out of focus. This was at f/2.0.

This composition is best shot with either a 35mm or 50mm lens. I also like to use a wide aperture such as f/2 or f/2.8 in order to show depth and slightly blur out the person in front.

#3: Natural Framing

couples portraits natural framing
Shoot at a distance to show the detail in the foreground.

Nature can provide beautiful natural framing elements for your couples portraits. Simply step behind whatever element, be it a tree or rocks, and place your couple in the opening. This allows the viewer to be naturally drawn to the couple and the gorgeous scene they’re in.

Be careful not to completely blur out the foreground with a wide open aperture.

This is best shot between 24-35mm. I like to show the full environment so I’ll find a good distance where there is enough detail in the foreground as well. I also recommend against shooting wide open as this can cause the foreground to completely blur out and lose that beautiful detail.

#4: Environmental Natural

couples portraits environmental natural
A wide angle lens is perfect for environmental portraits.

I love this style as I can step back and capture the entire scene from a distance. The couple is immersed in the scenery and there’s no awareness of the camera. I also like to use the environment to naturally lead the viewer to the couple.

As you can see, I like to frame the scene to show more of the landscape rather than the sky. Although I prefer a wide angle lens for this composition, this example shows a more compressed shot at 85mm.


Environmental couples portraits are great as centerpieces of a collage. I’ll often place a grand epic scene such as this and surround it with the smaller and more intimate photographs as you can see here.

#5: Environmental Shutter Drag

couples portraits environmental shutter drag
1/2 seconds was perfect for capturing the busy LA intersection.

This composition is very similar to the environmental natural. However, here, I use a slower shutter speed to capture motion. Roughly 1/4 and 1/2 sec. I also use the motion to frame my couple. For this example, the color and framing of this bus holds us right in the center of the image.

You can see the same concept in this example. I captured the shot as the water came up to the camera and began receding back. The direction of the movement naturally draws us to our couple who is in the center of the frame. This variation of the environmental shutter drag is best done with a wide angle lens to exaggerate the motion.

Related Reading: How to Capture Environmental Shutter Drag Portraits


I hope you enjoyed this article/video. Give these tips for engagement and couples portraits a try on your next shoot! They’re incredibly easy to do and guaranteed to impress. This pairs perfectly with our Engagement Photography course on SLR Lounge Premium. You can learn how to photograph beautiful engagements using the gear you already have. You can also check out Visual Flow’s presets for all lighting conditions to get great results like the photographs above.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!