1 camera. 1 lens. 6 Poses. 1 golden hour. Those are the only ingredients I use to cook up an awesome engagement session. The first time I did an engagement shoot, I didn’t have these 6 key poses in my back pocket, and even though we got some great shots, we spent too much time in 1 location, and ended up rushing at the end. We’ve also been a part of (too many) poorly planned out family photo sessions, where the photographer not only doesn’t have a game plan, and the subjects of the photo end up taking full artistic control. That’s not how it should ever be, so eventually, I had to come up with a plan for how each session would play out in order to ensure that we used our time efficiently, and that the person behind the camera was the one giving directions. Now, whenever we meet a couple, we run through each pose with them as a baseline and show them ways that they can switch it up by placing their hands differently or looking in a certain direction. Then when it’s finally time to start shooting, everyone knows what to do and it all goes smoothly!
So what are the 6 key poses that I use?
Another name for it would be “Spoon.” One person faces toward the other, and the other faces away.
Both people face toward the camera. They can be close to each other, holding hands, or standing farther apart.
Both people face towards each other, touching.
Similar to the “Open” pose, but at a 2/3 turn with their hips touching. They can either face away, or face toward the camera.
The Walk or the Carry
An action shot with the couple either walking slowly or one carrying the other.
Focus is placed more on one person than the other, or one person is positioned closer to the camera. This is a great pose for telling a story.
We found that the easiest way to teach a couple these poses was to actually show them. I hand the camera off to the couple so they can see what i’m working with, and then Scott and I run through all 6 poses for them. It’s fun, and it breaks the ice too. Remember, this collection of poses is designed to be a baseline so that everyone involved feels comfortable and doesn’t feel lost at any time during the session.
We also found that most couples have a few “favorite” poses. After the first time running through each pose, there’s usually 1 or 2 poses that they feel more comfortable with. That’s totally ok! I don’t feel the need to focus our time on a pose that they aren’t really into. If they love posing stacked, I take more photos of them stacked, but have them switch it up by looking towards the camera or at each other, or moving their hands.
So there it is. My big secret for a killer engagement session. If you’re a photographer, how do you make your sessions run smoothly?
For some more pose ideas, details on these poses, and examples of these poses used in wedding photography, check out this post on SLR Lounge.