Posing
Apr 2021

Sweet & Simple Posing Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples

13 min read

Every couple deserves beautiful photos that celebrate their love. These LGBTQ posing ideas will help you deliver images that shine!


Natural looking poses require clear guidance and a light touch. Don’t over-pose your clients, or they’ll look stiff and uncomfortable. But if you don’t give them any direction at all, they may just stand there with awkward smiles and absolutely no indication that they’re 100% in love.

That’s why it’s so important for you—their photographer—to know exactly how to help your clients relax, connect, and reveal their authentic selves to the camera.

These shooting and posing tips will help you create simple, romantic photos for queer couples

Let’s get started…

A queer couples stands forehead to forehead as the sun sets behind them

Nicole Nero Studio

#1: Shoot in a safe, supportive location

Some parts of the world are less friendly than others to LGBTQIA folks—and that’s putting it mildly.

Whether you’re freshly focused on LGBT wedding photography or simply expanding your couple photography portfolio, you’ll want to know that the shoot location is a safe and supportive one. Collaborate with your clients to thoughtfully choose a photography venue that’s welcoming to queer and same-sex weddings, engagement photos, and families.

When a couple feels relaxed, they’ll more easily embrace the poses you suggest.

Two men pose for engagement photos in a grassy field

AK Photography

#2: Get out of your own head

If you’re accustomed to photographing cisgender, heterosexual couples, you may worry that you’ll pose lgbtq couples the “wrong way.” Before the shoot, spend some time reframing your gender roles-based expectations of how a couple “should” look in photos, and instead focus on the fact that every couple is unique, regardless of size, shape, color, or ability.

Your job isn’t to make every couple look the same. Your job, as the professional photographer, is to find each couple’s unique spark of connection and photograph that. 

Posing LGBTQIA couples isn’t any different than posing cis/hetero couples. After all, love is love and people are people and a smile is a smile—so don’t overthink it!

Two brides hold eachother close as the setting sun bathes their skin in warm light.

Zephyr et Luna

#3: Let the couple set the tone

Spend the first few minutes of your session getting to know your clients and their relational style. Some couples are super touchy-feely, while others may be less publicly passionate.

To get the ball rolling, instruct them to move close together—”Close… close… closer!” They’ll hug or kiss or laugh or cuddle… This is where you’ll start to see how they interact naturally. Use those comfy connections as a jumping-off point for your first few portrait or wedding poses.

#4: Belly to back

This belly-to-back pose is an easy pose for every couple.

Seated

If one partner is significantly taller than the other, have the tall partner sit, then guide the other partner to wrap their arms around their significant other. This is also a fantastic pose if one partner uses a wheelchair!

#ShootProofPRO Tip: Are you ready to make a difference?

The wedding industry is notoriously uninterested in differently-abled people, so: Hey, wedding photographers! Let’s start a new trend that shows BIG love to happy couples of every kind!

One man sits as his husband wraps his arms around his shoulders from behind

AK Photography

A woman in a blue shirt smiles at the camera over the shoulder of her wife, who sits in front wearing a peach shirt and holding two kittens

Allison Williams Photography

Standing

If your couple is standing, you can still use the belly-to-back approach by asking one partner to wrap their arm around their SO from behind. Encourage your couple to adapt this pose to their comfort level, swap kisses on the cheek, and lean their faces toward one another.

If it’s your couple’s wedding day, this could be a sweet idea for a first look!

A groom in a colorful jacket wraps his arms around the shoulders of his husband who wears a bold orange suit

LaJoy Photography

A person with long blonde curls wraps their arms around their partner as the partner smiles and the sun spills around their shoulders

Nicole Nero Studio

A groom in a charcoal suit stands behind his husband and kisses his cheek for an outdoor wedding day portrait

Nelly Saraiva

#5: Almost kissing

Kissing is fun for the kissers, but the most beautiful photos are made during the “almost kiss”—you know, that moment before anyone’s lips actually meet.

To capture this moment, ask your couple to slowly and gently rub noses. Tell them to get close enough to kiss, but to hold back from actually kissing. Sparks will fly, and you’ll see sweet, sappy love in action!

Two engaged men move in two kiss while being photographed through beautiful spring foliage

AK Photography

Two women move in to kiss in this close-up photograph from their engagement session

Allison Williams Photography

#ShootProofPRO Tip: Find something to shoot through

Invite the environment into your photos by photographing through an element around you, like Nicole Nero did in the fire pit photo below!

An LGBTQ couples move in close to kiss as they're photographed across the flames of a twilight fire pit

Nicole Nero Studio

#6: Holding hands

Hand-holding is a beautiful, low-pressure way to show connection between two lovers. In fact, your couple’s first physical touch was probably to hold hands! Reimagine that first touch with simple hand-holding poses like these…

Showcase the environment

A wide shot with your couple standing side-by-side can highlight beautiful architecture or a stunning landscape. Ask your couple to space themselves apart so you can clearly see their clasped hands.

Two grooms dressed in gray suits hold hands in front of a tall white chapel

Madeline Serio Photography

Atlanta grooms stand side-by-side in LaJoy Photography's daylight studio and pose for wedding portraits

LaJoy Photography

Holding hands and walking

Once your couple is holding hands, instruct them to stroll together toward the camera while looking only at each other (not directly into the camera.) Your final images will feel candid and intimate.

You can also photograph your clients walking away from you. Invite them to look back over their shoulders and at the camera for a series of parent-approved portraits.

A queer couple holds hands as they stroll through their yard at dusk

Nicole Nero Studio

Two grooms stroll across a broad lawn, smiling as they look back over their shoulders

Nelly Saraiva

Spotlight engagement and wedding rings

When their hands are clasped, look for ways to highlight the couple’s wedding and engagement rings. Remember: not all ring photos have to be macro shots. You can make a meaningful ring photograph that tells a story by including hands and faces in the frame—like you’ll see in the following two photographs by AK Photography and Zephyr et Luna.

Two men hold hands in the park as they stop and pose for engagement photos

AK Photography

Two women hug each other close during their first look before they become wives

Zephyr et Luna

#7: Forehead to forehead

Whether they’re standing, sitting, or walking, your couple can make any moment more magical by simply leaning their foreheads together. Ask them to “move in closer, forehead-to-forehead,” and you’ll have an instantly intimate connection.

If your couple is still feeling stiff, encourage them to:

  • wrap your arms around each other
  • lightly place your hand on his/her/their cheek
  • take a slow, deep breath, then sloooooowly exhale along with your partner
Two men stand forehead to forehead with their arms wrapped around each other

Nelly Saraiva

Two grooms lean forehead-to-forehead while holding hands

LaJoy Photography

Two brides lean toward each other until their foreheads are touching

Zephyr et Luna

Two grooms wearing gray suits stand with their foreheads together

Madeline Serio Photography

#8: The “Grandma photo”

Sometimes called the “newspaper portrait” this is a picture with both partners smiling at the camera—you know, a photo that Grandma would frame for her mantle. If you clearly tell your clients that this is the kind of photo you’re taking, they’ll understand that it’s time to snuggle up and “smile cute.”

Two engaged men smile for the camera while snuggled close in a lush park

AK Photography

Two vibrantly dressed Atlanta grooms wear bold oranges and blues to celebrate their marriage

LaJoy Photography

#9: Pets and other animals

Nervous couples feel more relaxed when they can include their animal friends in their portrait or engagement session. Be sure to make a few pet portraits in between sweet moments of the couple. Since we almost always outlive our animals, it’s a beautiful gift to receive quality photos of them. Give that gift to your clients, and they’ll be forever grateful!

Two brides pose in a forest with an Arabian horse wearing a wreath of flowers

Zephyr Et Luna

A queer couple sits on the grass in the background as the camera focuses on their spaniel puppy who sits in the foreground

Nicole Nero Studio

Two kittens roam around the feet of a lesbian couple in a cat cafe

Allison Williams Photography

#10: Kiss lightly

This is the simplest way to get romantic kissing portraits that don’t have to be censored: ask your couple to “kiss lightly.” On the lips, the forehead, the cheek, the shoulder… doesn’t matter as long as it’s a “light kiss.” Light kisses are family friendly, social media safe, and perfect for framing.

One bride kisses her new wife on the forehead as golden sunlight spills across them

Zephyr Et Luna

Three photos show two grooms kissing lighting during their wedding portraits

Madeline Serio Photography

One partner kisses the other on the cheek in this twilight LGBTQ engagement shoot

Nicole Nero Studio

Two grooms kiss outside on their wedding day

Nelly Saraiva

Two women kiss while smiling and holding cuddly kittens during their engagement photos

Allison Williams Photography

#11: Make posing easier with the right wardrobe

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” said Rachel Zoe—and the style of any photo is largely defined by your client’s wardrobe.

Help your clients bring their own personal A-game to their shoot by guiding them to select clothing that makes them look and feel great. When a client looks good and feels confident, their photos show it!

#ShootProofPRO Tip: Send your new clients a Style Gallery

Review your previous client sessions and set aside photos where your clients were especially well-dressed. Upload these inspirational images into a ShootProof gallery (no need to add a price sheet), and share this “Style Gallery” with new clients who need outfit ideas!

Two grooms hold their suit jackets over their shoulders and pose for a wedding portrait

Madeline Serio Photography

Get great outfit images

If your clients are wearing something especially terrific, be sure to move in for a series of detail shots. You can also emphasize great wardrobe pieces by using them as props:

  • a jacket clung over the shoulder
  • twirling the luxurious skirt of a wedding dress
  • creative close-ups of designer details
This detail shot of two women embracing belly-to-belly shows off the gorgeous details of their wedding dresses

Zephyr et Luna

This detail shot highlights the clasped hands of two engaged men

LaJoy Photography

 

#12: Get silly!

If your clients exhibit even a spark of silliness, encourage more of THAT. Here’s how:

Bring your Bluetooth speaker

Turn on your clients favorite tunes and start an impromptu dance party! It doesn’t matter where you are: at the park, in the studio, or on a city sidewalk. If the right song is playing, you can get just about anyone to bust a move.

Two Black Atlanta grooms elope in an bright daylight studio owned by LaJoy Cox, a celebrity photographer

LaJoy Photography

Ask silly questions

Use a series of posing prompts or come up with your own. Questions like these can help a couple loosen up and laugh:

  • When was the first time your partner made you laugh until you cried?
  • What’s the most ridiculous experience you two ever shared together?
  • How would you describe your partner’s sense of humor?
A queer couples sits in the grass as the sun sets, their foreheads nearly touching

Nicole Nero Studio

Be ready for the moment

The silliest situations are often unprompted and unexpected. Once your session begins, don’t spend too much time “chimping” at the back of your camera. Stay focused on your clients so you don’t miss a single smile!

Two engaged women sit in a cat cafe and laugh as tiny kittens swarm them

Allison Williams Photography

People matter more than poses

If you’re ever stuck and aren’t sure how to “pose” your couple, remember: great photos aren’t about achieving the perfect poses. Heirloom images reveal the beauty of the real people in front of your lens.

Focus on the magic of each fresh moment, and your clients won’t care about a stray hair or fleck of sun flare. Instead, they’ll be basking in the glow of their love—and the way you brought it to life.


Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by AK PHOTOGRAPHY | ALLISON WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHY | LAJOY PHOTOGRAPHY | MADELINE SERIO PHOTOGRAPHY | NELLY SARAIVA | NICOLE NERO STUDIO | ZEPHYR ET LUNA

Client Experience
Apr 2021

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