9 Creative Tips For Photographing Couples

Destin Wedding PhotographyDestin Beach Wedding Photography

Authentic, raw emotions are the primary ingredients when capturing couples.  This beach portrait was captured in Destin, FL.

When you think of couples photography, what do you think of?

Do you think of couples posing and smiling at the camera?

Or, do you think of natural, emotional moments where the couples don’t even seem to realize they are being photographed?

If you are curious about how to capture a session like the latter, these 9 creative tips will improve your basic knowledge of couples photography and set you up for success.

Since I am a beach photographer in Destin FL, most of the images will be catered to couples photography on the beach.

1. Decide on a Location

The more you communicate with the couple prior to the session, the better it will go.  This includes choosing a location.

Ask the couple if there is someplace that is special to them – could be where they got engaged or where they first met.  This works even better if the location has excellent views and background material.  We are trying to showcase the couple’s relationship and a romantic setting will help us achieve that.

Also, consider what time of day you will be capturing photos.  The best light will be closest to sunrise and sunset.  If you aren’t familiar with the area the couple wants to capture their session at, head over there and get a lay of the land.  See what angles are best for different shots depending on available lighting at that time of day.

If you are going to be taking photos of the couple on the beach, having the couple coordinate colors and outfits will work wonders.  Attire is important depending on the location and the background colors there.

Try to find a location that is not congested.  If you are a photographer in Destin, FL, then you understand how hard this is to do during the summer!  It is hard to convey romance when taking pictures at a bustling, busy location.  We want the focus to be on the couple and not other distractors.

If you are in or traveling to Destin, FL, these 5 amazing locations will provide ample opportunities for capturing romantic couples photography.

Couple embracing on the beach in Destin FL

With beach sessions, lighter colors do best to complement the environment.  


2. Couples Need to Be Relaxed

Most couples don’t have much experience with professional photo shoots and tend to be stressed or anxious prior to the session.  In order to combat this, there are some things we can do to help them feel more at ease.

  • Give them direction.  Communicate before and during the session what you want them to do.  They will feel much more comfortable if they realize you are in charge and know what you are doing
  • Talk with them!  Before the session, get to know them on a personal level – things they like to do, things they like to do together, etc.  The more they trust you, the better change they will open up and allow you to capture their intimate moments.  Think about it from their perspective, would it feel slightly awkward having a complete stranger take pictures of you in intimate, emotional situations?  The less the couple thinks of you as a stranger, the better!
  • Take some practice shots with them.  This way, they feel as though there is less pressure and they might open up more.  This is a great time to get hair and attire fixed up and ready for the primary shooting.
  • Avoid posing the couple immediately.  Get them in the groove with some relaxed shots to release the tension.  Once they get warmed up, they should be ready for more fixed poses.
  • Don’t let them feel self-conscious!  Constantly reassure the couple that they are doing FANTASTIC.  If they think that it is going well, it most definitely is!
  • Do you want the couple to take fun, excited shots?  Get hyped yourself!  If they see you having a good time, they more than likely will, too.
  • Did you take an AWESOME photo of them?  Give them a sneak peak.  Including the couple as much as possible with you in the session will strengthen your bond with them and relax them further.

couple at eden state gardens
Lifestyle engagement photos

Let them have fun!  This couple at Eden State Gardens in Santa Rosa Beach, FL let loose and made it easy to capture their relationship.

3. Get Them to Walk Around

We want to convey as much natural emotion as possible.  Having the couple walk around is a great way to do that.  Encourage them to talk to each other while they walk and try to pretend that they are alone. 

Get some shots from far away.  

Then, get some closer up.

If they are constantly-in-motion, they will be so much more comfortable than with a static, stiff pose.  Take advantage of this to collect some intimate moments.

Couple Walking at Wedding

I wanted the couple to have a conversation and go for a stroll so I could capture them without the pressure of posing.

4. Avoid Generic Posing

Too much posing can feel artificial or forced.  

Stick with poses that are comfortable and more conducive to invoke emotion.  Looking at the camera is fine for a few shots, but don’t rely on that tactic for the whole shoot.

Switch it up!

Kissing on the BeachDestin Florida engagement Beach Portraits

Have them kiss.  

Couples Photography Tips
Couple posing on the beach in Destin FL

Have them embrace each other.

Engagement Love

Go piggyback!

There are a plethora of ways to pose that are more authentic and generate more intimate moments.

5. Allow Them More Control

Some couples have ideas that they may want to bring up with you before and during a session.

This is good!

They are more likely to exhibit emotion if they have more control over what takes place.  Don’t allow them complete control but let them know in the beginning that their ideas are important to you.  

Come clients will have a location, attire, and poses ready to go before I have even spoken to them!  This takes considerable work off your plate when you have an idea of what your clients are into.  

couple kissing
Destin Family Beach PortraitsDestin Family Beach Portraits

6. What Should They Wear?

Attire is one of the most important aspects of couples photography.  It showcases the couple’s personality and can make or break a session.

Here are a few things to consider when figuring out what to wear:

  • Coordinating colors looks great.  It show that the couple is in sync with each other.  The colors don’t have to match exactly, but need to be similar shades, like green and light green.
  • Style is important.  If one individual is wearing a vest and slacks, and the other is wearing jeans and a T-shirt, it’s going to seem off.  A dress would be an acceptable substitution for the T-shirt and jeans in this situation.
  • Location can really impact attire.  A beach session will do best with light pastel colors while an outdoor/forested area would do better with darker colors.  Plaid looks much better in a forest than on a beach!
  • Loose clothing doesn’t look appealing.  Fitted clothes have a much more clean look.

A few things to avoid:

  • Matching outfits are generally bad.  It’s hard to capture individuality this way.  Sticking to coordinated, similar outfits always wins.
  • Skimpy clothing is for boudoir photography.  We are trying to keep it PG 13, hah!
  • Avoid heavily branded attire.  Huge logos take away from the subject.
  • Jewelry and accessories are OK, but too much will distract from the couple.

In love

Color coordinated, but not identical attire works best.

7. Tell a Story

One of the best ways to capture a couple’s relationship is to tell a story.

Perhaps the couple met and got engaged within a moderate vicinity.  You could capture them together where they originally met, then shift over to where they got engaged.  

If you talked to the couple and inquired about their interests, you could incorporate some of those interests into the photos.  It’s personal and tells the viewer something about them.

Make the story crystal clear.  The audience needs to see the photo and understand what the focus is.  If the photo is too busy, the story isn’t being told properly.


Lastly, do they like sports or another activity?  Have them do it together!  If you are trying to capture shots of the couple having fun, this is one of the best ways to do it.

8. Give Them Clear Instructions

Even the most experienced couples need instructions.  You want the couple to understand exactly what you are telling them, with no confusion.  

For example, you say, “Look over there!”

That isn’t very specific!  Instead, try telling them to “Look over the cliff” or “Look across the ocean.”  These commands are much more specific and avoid confusion from the couple.

A “warm-up session” is a great way to establish a good communication link between you and the couple.  That way, they know what to expect when it’s time to get down to business.

Wife receiving a kiss on a beach in Destin FL

9. Capture Details Up Close

Thus far, we have focused on capturing the couple from a portraiture perspective.  

What about a focus besides their faces?

We can capture detail such as their hands, an object personal to them (like a wedding ring), or even matching tatoos.  This is another great way to showcase the couple’s relationship.


Don’t Forget…

In couples photography, the photographer tells the couple’s love story through photos.  When strong emotion and a tight bond between the couple are exhibited, the photographs stand out much more and have that much more impact. 

I hope that these tips help you improve your ability to capture every intimate detail of your next couples photography session.  If you have any other tips you would like to share, please comment below and let me know!  

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