Mastering the 3/4 Couples Pose

Photographing couples is an art form that should not be underestimated. Finding the right way to get two people, no matter how wellthey know each other, to pose and stay in a position worth shooting can be extremely difficult. Success requires the right combination of clear communication and dexterous shooting ability. That’s why it is so crucial for portrait and wedding photographers to follow a clear system in order to have time to both shoot classically-posed shots and fun, candid photos.


Shutterbug recently spoke with Clay Blackmore, an award-winning photographer who has posed a number of America’s most famous couples, about his tips for setting up the perfect formal 3/4 couples shot.

1) Begin With Separate Subjects
It sounds odd, considering the goal is to capture a great shot of the couple together, but Clay advises photographers to keep them separated. “You don’t want them to start making their own poses, and keeping them separated to start helps control that,” he explains. To keep the couple comfortable while apart before posing, Clay likes to use posing stools.

2) Lean In
When posing couples, it’s never about pushing them together all at once. Lean your subjects in slowly. “Lean them together so that their bodies don't get in the way, letting their heads touch before the bodies interfere,” Clay says. “Given that most men are taller than women, her head should be straight up while his should have a slight tilt.”

All photos copyright Clay Blackmore

3) Take Control
Some photographers don’t feel very comfortable using physical touch to pose clients, but it’s necessary if you want to perfect a pose, Clay says. “Go in and arrange the pose. In a typically engagement shot, for example, his arm will go around her, but keep her inside hand on his left hand and her shoulder slightly under his arm. This is all very important, because it keeps her body at the perfect angle towards the camera.”



4) First Classic, Then Creative
At this point, you are set for the classic shot. “Shoot heavy and get the one you want. At thatpoint, get creative. Let their personalities really flow and take fun shotsthat will really add to the package.”





Clay Blackmore is an award-winning photographer who, over his 25 plus years in the field, has built up an impressive clientele that includes celebrities the likes of Larry King, Forest Whitaker, Jenna Elfman, and Maria Sharapova. His photographs are routinely featured in Washington Life Magazine.



If you want to learn more from Clay check out his course on creativeLIVE titled Pose it, Light it, Love it.

Rainer's picture

It certainly is not an easy task to photograph People in Portrait shots e.t.c
I have not done that many of them but intend to eventually do more.
As in any photography one needs to apply a mental pre vision on what outcome one wants to achieve. Applying certain techniques as provided here are all very helpful in applying your own style.
It becomes easier for the ones who do Portraits on a regular basis but not so for the ones who do it every now and then hence me taking note of many techniques that can be applied.