These 19 engagement poses are fun and easy to recreate with any couple. Use the prompts to inspire your clients and keep your creativity flowing!
19 Engagement Photo Poses & Prompts
Couples come in all makes and models. They’re tall and short and thick and thin. Some are shy, while some love the spotlight. And some fall naturally into photo-worthy poses, while others need a bit more guidance. One thing is true, though: no matter who the lovebirds are, they expect you to capture that connection on camera.
Following are 19 inspiring concepts, plus tips for creating engagement portraits that work with any clients. Add your own creative spin, and don’t forget to have fun! Your clients will thank you for making them look amazing.
Before the Posing: Start with Connection
The engagement shoot is often the first time a couple has been professionally photographed. You have the wonderful opportunity to show your clients what their love looks like from the outside: the way they laugh together, hold one another, and interact with each other.
The best thing you can do at the outset of your session is help your clients relax. Explain that their only job is to be as absorbed in one another as possible. You’ll guide them as needed to make sure their portraits are fantastic.
#1: Bring a Blanket
Throw down a picnic blanket and invite your clients to snuggle close on the ground. This is a simple solution when there isn’t any proper seating available, such as during an outdoor engagement session. You can keep a neutral colored blanket in the back of your car for use with any clients, but it’s even better to ask your them to bring their own blanket. Their blanket from home holds its own memories for the pair – and they can color-coordinate it to their outfits!
#2: Embrace Like You Mean It
A hug is a hug is a hug. Or is it?
Every couple has their own way of embracing. Draw out their most natural hugs by telling them to:
- “Leap into each other’s arms”
- “Give each other a bear hug”
- “Snuggle close, close, CLOSER!”
#3: Hold Hands
Holding hands is a perfect starter pose for clients who are a bit nervous in front of the camera. The pair can stroll along with their hands clasped, adopt a standstill pose with their fingers intertwined, or evolve their handhold into a fun little twirl!
Use this opportunity to get a few close-up images of your clients’ hands – especially if they’re wearing engagement rings!
#4: Carry & Cuddle & Twirl
The quickest way to help your clients loosen up is to get them moving. Go for a piggy-back ride, or ask one partner to pick up the other and spin them around.
#5: Rings & Reminders
Most engaged partners have at least one engagement ring between them. Sometimes you’ll find a ring on each partner’s hand, or a personal token like an engagement necklace or bracelet. Find out what symbols of love your clients are wearing, and document those treasures with the same care you’ll use to document their love.
#6: Don’t Overlook the Details
Darling details like lightly-held fingers or intertwined legs offer the opportunity for beautiful detail shots. We love the way the Scobeys capture their clients blurred by bokeh behind their hand-to-hand connection, and the way Dani Marie’s photo emphasizes the sandy bottoms of her clients’ feet.
#7: Nose-to-Nose & Forehead-to-Forehead
Get your clients close and connected by instructing them to stand nose-to-nose or forehead-to-forehead. They’ll respond with every emotion from quiet romance to big belly laughs, giving you the chance to make pictures that are sure to be some of their favorites!
#8: Themes & Stories
While it’s great to take inspiration from other images, you don’t want to get so obsessed with duplicating a specific pose that you overlook the natural connection happening right in front of you. Follow the light and your clients’ lead, and you’ll make images that tell their unique story – not someone else’s.
Find Out What Makes Your Clients Unique
If you’re on the shy side (or your clients are), get them to open up by asking them to share their story with you: how they met, fell in love, and decided to get married. If you can do this before their engagement shoot, you can plan ahead for a themed session that will highlight what truly makes them unique.
Dani Marie’s clients brought their retrofitted van to the beach for a series of breezy engagement images, while J.J. Au’Clair’s clients took a more formal approach to their afternoon in a light-filled atrium. Sometimes all you need is a colorful background, like the carnival in Heather Frank’s photographs!
#9: Lazy Day Lounging
We love our partners for all the things we have in common, from the activities that keep us busy to the ways we choose to spend our laziest days. Find out how your clients like to lounge, and make a few images of them connecting in a quiet space
Engagement sessions shot in your clents’ house are a sweet way to commemorate their first home together. But if shooting in their residence isn’t an option, look for other spaces that offer a homey vibe.
Kiyah Crittendon’s Airbnb sessions recreate a home-like ambiance without the need for her clients to deep-clean their house before their session. Other ideas include:
- bring a cozy chair outside that’s big enough for two to lounge in
- hang a hammock and invite your clients to snuggle close
- get permission to shoot in a shop or restaurant with a warm vibe
#10: Back to Front
This engagement pose is the simplest way to keep your clients close while still seeing both of their faces.
Ask the shorter partner to stand or sit with their back to their sweetheart’s chest. If both partners are approximately the same height, use a staircase to create height variation with the back partner sitting one step higher.
Guide the partner in the back to wrap their arms around their fiancée. You can make a wide variety of photographs using this pose simply by changing lenses, adjusting your angle, and slightly tweaking the way your clients are positioned.
#11: Kiss Lightly
If your couple is going to kiss, remind them to “kiss lightly” so you don’t wind up with a series of NSFW shots. And if your clients still doesn’t get the hint, tell them to “kiss like your grandmother is watching!” That should tame their passions enough for a few loving images that are safe for sharing.
If the kisses are still too intimate, encourage kisses on the forehead, cheek, nose, or hand instead. And don’t forget: keep shooting, even after the kiss ends. The “not-quite-kissing” moments are some of the sweetest!
#12: Fresh Perspective
Think BIG when planning your next engagement session. Do you have a ladder that would allow you to shoot down on your subjects? What happens if you lie on the ground and angle your camera up?
Wide Open Spaces
When you shoot from a dramatic perspective, you can highlight vast architectural details, like in the photo from the Scobeys, above. Or, as in the above two engagement pictures from Jules Photography, you can get creative with big chalk drawings or prism-enhanced images.
#13: Cheery Chow Down
Food is a global connector. We all love to cook a new dish in the kitchen or snack on yummy treats! Use this universal passion to inspire a food-themed photo shoot your clients will LOVE.
Food-Themed Engagement Photo Ideas
- go out for ice cream or milkshakes and take a stroll through town
- pop a bag of popcorn and snack on the sofa
- whip up something delicious in the kitchen and take it on a picnic
- meet together at a cafe for coffee and croissants in a cozy booth
- connect over beers or glasses of wine at a moody dining establishment
#14: Rainy Day Portraits
You can plan and communicate until you’re breathless, but you can’t control the weather. Bummer, right? Avoid last-minute panic by preparing engagement shoot locations that include covered options.
Indoor Photo Ideas
- the home can be a super-cozy spot for indoor images
- get permission to shoot in a store or restaurant, like LaJoy Cox did for her IKEA engagement shoot
- parking garages, subway shelters, and train stations offer awesome light and beautiful lines
Railroad Tracks: Yes or No?
While train stations can look amazing in engagement pictures, shooting on the train tracks themselves is almost NEVER a good idea. You can get permission to shoot in the station (or look up your local ordinances), but photographing on railroad tracks is both illegal and highly dangerous. The only time your clients should step foot on the tracks is when they’re walking on a legally designated pedestrian path, as in Alyssa Joyce’s image above.
#15: Stunning Scenery
Did your clients choose a special location for their session? Commemorate the experience with simple engagement photo poses that allow plenty of room for the scenery. Soften the “snapshot” feel with a wide aperture and some sweet bokeh, and you’ll have a postcard-perfect picture.
If the beautiful background includes meaningful signage or other details, shoot with a smaller aperture (a large f-number) so those background elements will be in focus. If your aperture is too large (a small f-number), bokeh may blur the backdrop into an unrecognizable mish-mosh of shapes.
#16: Don’t Forget Fido
Couples with a fur-baby LOVE to include their animal in a few portraits! Every pet, from dogs to cats to lizards, adds one-of-a-kind cuteness to any photo.
How to Prepare for Pets
If your next engagement shoot will include pets, come prepared with an assistant to help wrangle the animal for a few fur-free portraits. These guidelines will help you and your clients involve their animals without any added stress!
#17: Perfect Props
“Props are cheesy.” “No one uses props anymore.” “I don’t own any props.”
If those phrases mirror your own thoughts, think again! ANYTHING you add to a photo is a prop – and there are some cool ones out there! Find out what props might have meaning for your clients, then coordinate with them to have the right props on-hand.
Awesome Props for Any Engagement Shoot
- smoke bombs (check your local laws!) or balloons
- bikes, motorcycles, and cars
- hand-made signs, like in the Scobey’s photo above (#1)
- printed pictures of the pair when they were younger, or portraits of their parents or grandparents, as seen in Shelby Laine’s pictures (#2 and 3)
#18: Home is Where the Heart Is
Photographs inside the home are wonderful, but what about pictures that show off the house’s exterior? Whether your engaged couple lives in a compact apartment or a sprawling mansion, a few shots that show off the outside of their first home will be treasured as they move into the future together.
#19: Get One for Grandma
Creatives angles and emotional motives are must-have in any collection of images. But with every new pose you should also ask your clients to turn and smile at the camera for at least one shot. These more traditional portraits are perfect for newspaper engagement announcements, and will look gorgeous framed on Grandma’s mantle.
For many couples, their engagement feels the most “real” when they finally see their photos! Make sure their photo-viewing experience is top-notch with a gorgeous ShootProof gallery, a custom Gallery Intro Message (or video!), and an array of printed products they can’t resist.
We want to see your best engagement photos!
Show off your favorites with a link in the comments below!
Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by ALYSSA JOYCE PHOTOGRAPHY | DANI MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY | HEATHER FRANK PHOTOGRAPHY | J.J. AU’CLAIR FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY | JULES PHOTOGRAPHY | NICOLE NERO STUDIO | THE SCOBEYS | SHELBY LAINE PHOTOGRAPHY