Here’s Why Hand Placement Matters When Posing Couples

We’ve all heard, “If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.” Most of the time, we didn’t know why – until now.
Natural pointers are limbs that can draw attention in a negative way, meaning they draw the viewer out of the image. While this can happen candidly, we want to make every part of an image purposeful by keeping natural pointers in check. Here are 5 examples to why hand placement matters:

Couples posing tip #1 | Avoid a Stray Pointer

Hand Placement in Wedding Portraits
Hand placement can be distracting, in the photo above we see how our gaze fixates on her hand. This doesn’t inherently “break” the image, but a better pose would have been a relaxed or soft, open hand. Remember to watch out for flexed hands/fingers!


COUPLES POSING TIP #2 | Ditch the Prom Pose

In this playful yet intimate pose, we can see how our models’ arms meet at the belly – naturally, our eye is led there too. Understanding how much visual weight our pointers have is vital to using natural pointers purposefully.

A perfect example of using hands across a belly is a maternity shoot where it is something we want to accentuate. For a client who may have an insecurity, we need to be aware of how a simple hand placement may have a massive impact on how they perceive the image.


COUPLES POSING TIP #3 | create intimacy

To create intimacy in a portrait, we kept the pointers (eyes, arms) in a continual loop. With her hands relaxed around his neck and his eyes facing her, our focus remains on their faces and the intimacy of the moment isn’t lost.

We have increased the number of touchpoints by placing her hands on his neck and chest rather than keeping them invisible and out of frame. See four creative ways on how to photograph the couple with a wedding veil incorporated in the photo!

COUPLES POSING TIP #4 | use the Open Pose

In an open pose we have our couple face their feet and chest towards the camera and make micro-adjustments to their hands and facial direction.

Keep stray natural pointers at bay with minor directing. In the photo above we directed him to place his hand in his pocket and asked her to relax her bouquet. These subtle changes keep our eyes are kept in a continual loop between our models.

COUPLES POSING TIP #5 | avoid Distracting Hand Placement

We will say it again, natural pointers can either compete with or complement our vision. In this case, his hand distracts our eye from their kiss and we see how much impact a simple gesture can have.

Regardless of your pose style, natural pointers can either work for you or against you. Keep these posing tips in mind to transform your images from ordinary to extraordinary. Upgrade to SLR Premium to stream Photographing the Couple Workshop and get unlimited access to our photography education!