Skip to main content

Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 22 of 61

Keys to Couples Posing

Scott Robert Lim

Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Scott Robert Lim

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

22. Keys to Couples Posing


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:04:10
2 5 Shots That WOW Duration:14:08
10 Keys to Posing Duration:05:37
12 Shoot: Modern Female Pose Duration:09:04
13 Shoot: Rollover Female Pose Duration:08:10
16 Seven Posing Guidelines Duration:04:18
18 Shoot: Headshot for Male Model Duration:06:45
22 Keys to Couples Posing Duration:10:31
23 Shoot: Couples Posing Duration:06:17
25 Shoot: Transitional Posing Duration:15:25
26 Keys to Group Posing Duration:07:12
28 Shoot: Accordion Technique Duration:04:11
29 Shoot: Best Buds Pose Duration:04:54
33 Shoot: Pod Method Pose Duration:17:58
35 Introduction to Lighting Duration:05:38
36 Soft vs Hard Light Duration:17:10
37 Difficult Lighting Situations Duration:05:52
38 Bright Light Techniques Duration:18:16
39 Overcast Light Techniques Duration:10:34
40 Low Light Techniques Duration:10:27
41 Lighting Techniques Q&A Duration:14:58
42 Drama Queen Lighting Duration:06:26
43 Laundry Basket Lighting Duration:09:44
44 Make it Rain Lighting Duration:03:48
46 Mini LED Bokeh Lighting Duration:08:22
48 Hybrid Flash System Duration:06:42
49 Innovative Accessories Duration:05:35
50 Gear Overview Duration:06:19
51 Theatrical Post-Processing Duration:06:07
52 Ten Keys to Post-Processing Duration:08:37
54 Headshot Post-Processing Duration:24:53
55 Bright Light Post-Processing Duration:09:45
56 Flat Light Post-Processing Duration:14:46
57 Low Light Post-Processing Duration:08:24

Lesson Info

Keys to Couples Posing

So here's some keys to couple posing. If you can't pose one, you won't be able to pose two, okay? So that is why when I see couple posing, you know what I see the most and it feels like? "Oh, just go stand over there and kiss each other or look at each other, or say something nice to each other." Right, and so literally, most poses are to just standing looking over because nobody knows how to pose. And the reason is, is you gotta pose one correctly because if you don't have that one, then you're really just guessing on what's gonna happen. You have no control of the situation and you're not gonna get the consistent results. It's about consistency. So that's why you gotta practice every single week. Shooting and posing somebody, okay? And you get that down, so generally, when in doubt, when I don't know what to do, I pose one person and then I just throw the other person in there. Right, to complement the other person. But if you can't pose one, two is not gonna look good and you're gon...

na, what you're gonna have is mediocrity. You're gonna have, what you're gonna have everybody else has, so that's why you got to learn how to pose one person. And once you're doin' that, once you can pose one person, you can pose 100 and then especially when you get into group posing. And you in as a group, you individually pose them, It's gonna look fantastic. It's gonna set your work above everybody else's, right? And you know who does that the best? Have you ever heard of Annie Leibovitz? She does group posing awesome, why? Because she individually poses each person within the group and it looks amazing. So if we add that into our work, we're gonna be up at a different level. But it starts first with posing one person. Okay, when in doubt, light high and in the middle when you're posing a couple, right? Cause I always say, "Nose towards the light." But what happens if, right, their noses are pointing in different directions? "Ahhh, wait a second, Scott said nose to the." Usually, typically, I go with the woman and make her look the best and then the guy's there. But in general, right, if that doesn't look too good or maybe there's too much shadow on the guy and you don't know, just get the light high and in the middle. And the reason why I say high is because it's still gonna create great shadows on them. Right, it's gonna create shadows on their arm and you're gonna get highlight and shadow, highlight and shadow. That's what you're looking for with your lighting, is do I see a highlight and shadow somewhere? If you don't see highlight and shadow in your work, then it's gonna be very, it's not gonna feel dimensional and on top of that, I didn't mention that, is the post-processing is gonna sing when you have great lighting. That is the key to my signature post-processing is because I have good lighting. If I didn't have good lighting, I couldn't post-process in the way I can because it would look terrible. So, that's why, that's another key to have great lighting is because the post processing becomes a joy instead of trying to polish a turd and try to make it look better. Good lighting is a key. Okay, so, capture a variety of emotions. Now, I'm just doing, like one thing here. But I'm gonna show you in these next method of how I create emotions. I couldn't leave it up to the couple to give me what I wanted, right? Cause some couples are very, like, alive and animated and you know, whatever, right? And then there's other couples, it's even hard to get them to even smile or act natural or whatever. So, I had to create a method where I get what I need and I make everybody show a wide variety of emotions and I'll show you what I do, okay? Shoot it wide and shoot it tight, okay? Here I don't have another lens on, so I'm gonna mostly shoot it tight. But when it's posed correctly and you know good composition, you should take a tight shot, waist up and then you should take a wide one, also and have that variety. Once subject looks into the camera, the candid story is diminished. Now this is the one biggest flaw, well, I'm not gonna call it flaw. But one thing that I feel prevents you from earning that big bucks is when you have one or two of the people, the couple, look at the camera. Once you look at the camera, it is no longer a story. It's a portrait. But when you meet with clients, especially, you know, couples that are getting married, and you ask them what type of imagery they like, what do they all tell you? "Oh, I just love it where it looks like, so natural "and we're candidly posing and you know, "you just happen to capture that moment." That, 90% of the time that's what they say. So, why don't you just create that for them? Which means what? Not looking at the camera. So, if you look, a lot of my couple shots, I have few where they actually look at the camera because I am creating a story about them. I'm not creating a story about them and me, which is the photographer, right? I mean, you can add a few of those, that's great, but in general, don't have 'em look at the camera. Okay, so, here's my couple posing system. Every pose goes through a routine of expressions and micro adjustments, okay? So, let's talk about the first pose. So, I have somebody in an area. I have them posed and the one thing I do is I have them look at each other. That's the most common way, right? So, here's some shots where they're looking at each other, okay? So, I do that looking at each other. Sometimes it's a silhouette, sometimes it's not, whatever. Most of the time it's not a silhouette, but they're looking at each other. And then after that, I have one person looking away towards the light while the other person is looking at the couple still, right? And so usually have the bride cause I want to catch lights in her eyes. So, they're looking each other, now one is looking towards the light, okay? Then, close your eyes. That is essentially, my kiss. Closing their eyes and getting close. Now, you can't have 'em close their eyes while they're far apart from each other. But if you have an intimate scene and you just have 'em close their eyes, that's generally my kiss. I don't like kissing. I mean, in real life I do, but for posing I don't. But, because it distorts a person's face, okay? And so, when you're kissing and mmmm, it just doesn't look pretty, and so I'm ex-nay on that. And so I just get their faces closest together and a lot of times I'll have 'em close their eyes and smile, right, but okay? So, but anyways, here's the close their eyes, right? So, I'll go through this routine. Look at each other, one look at the light. Okay, close your eyes, right, and then both look towards the light. Okay? I will do this routine with, so their one pose there, I will do it. Look at each other, okay, one look towards that light. Okay, and then both look at the light. And I'll do it every single pose and then, right, looking at the light. And then I'll have 'em smile, right? And the smile can be used at anytime during any one of the poses, but I also have, because you could get, so this happens a lot, too. You could get so wrapped up in, "Uh oh, how am I gonna pose them? "Where am I goin' put the light?" And then you're doing all this and you forget to have them smile. That has happened to me so many times cause I'm so concentrated on trying to get the light right and the pose right, I forget about the emotion aspect. So if you have this routine, and smile is one of those in that routine, you'll make sure that you'll get it every single time. And so no matter what pose you do, you can make them smile. And then I do another one where as I just say, "Laugh hysterically." Right, cause I want a broad ranges of emotions between just, you know, closing your eyes and being intimate and romantic versus just having a great time. And I'll do this routine throughout the entire one posed area. All of that. I mean try to do all of it, I mean I don't methodically do seven things but I'll vary it up, but these are all the things that I do. Here's another one where you can look opposite directions, too, okay. Especially, depending on the light. So, if the light lends itself to it where it's more center light, you can also do that. And so now you have this broad range of things that you can do within one pose, okay? Let's say, I'm, okay, so let's look at all these things. This is what I call micro posing. So you get them in the pose, and then you do these micro poses. Look at each other, smile, look opposite directions, look towards the light, one look towards the light, close your eyes, smile, both look towards the light, smile, and I just keep repeating that, laugh hysterically. And then I'll shoot it wide and I'll shoot it tight. Sometimes, especially if you're a wedding photographer, you're only gonna get five minutes with the bride and the groom, okay? So, within those five minutes, you have to have a variety of poses to make the album look great. And so I've just learned to do a lot of things at once and it's very simple and fast to just have them smile or one look into the light, et cetera, et cetera.

Class Description

Want to be able to go into any situation with your camera and have the confidence to know you’ll get the shot? Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim goes in-depth on the four foundational elements you must conquer if you want to develop your creativity and style.

Scott will give you the guidelines you need to master:

  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Composition
  • Post-Processing

Once you master these fundamentals of portraits, you free up your mind to get creative and ultimately get the shot.


Vitor Rademaker

This course is amazing! Scott is extremely straightforward. He goes directly to practical problems, tips and etc. He explains every thing very clearly, and he is also very funny and charismatic, making you laugh as you learn. He shows that you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make very nice pictures. So I have saved some money as well, cause I was about to buy some gear that I wouldn't need right now. It is for sure one of the best photography courses I have ever attended to! I highly recommend! Thanks a lot Scott! You are the best!


I have purchased a number of classes, this being one of them. The quality of the information was good and the level at which Scott spoke was appropriate for me. Having a course sylibus would add greatly to the value, which usually is not part of the programs I've purchased including this one, unless I've missed it. I believe the speaker should be required to provide one. After watching the videos, much of material can be recaptured by seeing it in writing. I would like to hear back from Creativelive their thoughts. In sum, good topic, good speaker, good technical audio and video quality by Creativelive


Another fantastic class with Scott Robert Lim! The combination of his knowledge, willingness to share, passion & entertaining personality makes him a top choice for photography education. Learning not only the "what", but the "why" & "how" can transform one's entire approach towards MAKING pictures. A constant inspiration to get better & better through practice.