Stress-Free Posing: Standing Edition


Posing can be a stressful task. You have a million things going through your mind during a photoshoot: light, camera settings, interacting with the client. Then you have to come up with interesting and flattering poses for each and every shot! Yikes!

Or, posing can be easy. True story! You don’t have to stress. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to memorize a million poses. You don’t even have to change things up that much to get variety!

The key to stress free posing is to make small adjustments in order to get a LOT of variety from one simple setup. Yep, it’s that easy. Tweak things a little, engage the couple, get them to interact, and get some great expressions. Then tweak again, and repeat. You’ll get a ton of variety, without having to worry about thinking up a completely different pose for each shot.

Today we’re going to look how to use this idea with standing poses and a couple. Standing works in pretty much every situation, is comfortable, and has roughly a billion different setups possible, so it’s a great place to start!

Eventually you’ll put together different simple setups like standing, sitting, and lying down. Then you’ll get mega variety!

First, the most basic setup: standing side by side, holding hands, facing their bodies to the camera, looking at the camera.

From there, we just make small adjustments to get variety! Like, create more distance between them.

Or, change up where they’re looking. So she could look at the camera, and he could look at her. He could look at the camera, and she could look at him. Or, bonus! They could look at each other! These are quick and easy adjustments that can give a totally different feel to the image.


Also note the variety you can get when you change up how they hold onto each other. There are tons of options when it comes to hands! Hold hands, her hands around his arm, his arms around her, her arms around him, etc.

You can also change up the way their bodies are facing, which really changes the look of the pose. So, they can also face their bodies towards each other, and then look at the camera. This one is awesome because it’s very slimming!

And they can look at each other.

Within that pose you can change up how their hands are placed.

And where they look. Here they’re both looking off-camera, in the direction of each other, giving a really comfortable, content feel to the image. Bonus points if you can throw a rainbow in there.

You can also add in some smooching. He can give her a kiss on the cheek (and vice versa)

Then go in for the full smooch.

He can stand behind her, both looking at the camera.

Or not looking at the camera!

You may have noticed there that by simply changing your distance to the subject, and the angle that you’re shooting at, you increase the variety of images without even changing the pose!

So you could have them look at each other again, but this time get in nice and tight, focusing just on their faces.

Then have her stand behind him, just to change it up y’know.

And hey, while she’s there, why not go for the always adorable piggy back ride.


With standing you can also add in movement! Fun! He can lift her up and go for a smooch (or not)

And we’ll wrap it up with one of my favs, holding hands and spinning around!

Whew! See, in practically no time at all, you have a bunch of different poses, and all you’ve done is have your couple stand up! And there are many more poses you could come up with that are variations on these ones here. Simply change up how they face each other, where they look, how they hold onto each other, and how they stand together, and the possibilities are incredible.

Best of all, it takes very little mental energy to just make slight adjustments. By the end you’ll have variety, but you didn’t have to work too hard to get there! That let’s you focus on chatting with them, making them feel comfortable, and encouraging them to engage with each other. The goal is that while they’re in these poses, they’ll have great, natural expressions!


  • Change where they look
  • Change how they stand (beside, facing, one behind the other)
  • Change how they hold on to each other
  • Change your distance and angle
  • Add in action and movement
  • Add in smooches

Do you have any more tips for standing poses? Share them in the comments below!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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51 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Fan-tastic as always….I am looking forward to the next posing series. Also, I would love to know how you select your locations. Inquiring minds want to know!
    Thanks again! I always find your posts helpful, I have used many of your suggestions and have taken much better photos. :)

  2. Tons of great info, as usual!! Thanks so much and have a happy Friday!

  3. As always you break it down so well!!! Love it!

  4. Thanks for the wonderful comments you guys!!

    Janna, we're definitely planning on writing about location scouting, so stay tuned! :)

  5. this is absolutely fantastic. so simple! Thanks for these awesome tips!!

  6. Thank you so much!! Awesome posing info!!

  7. Von DeVore says

    I have so much enjoyed all of your blog posts! This one in particular is really, really helpful. I find myself exhausted mentally with trying to come up with fun poses all the time. Thanks for the great info!

  8. Great job guys! This information is super useful, and I cant wait to experiment with it :)
    You are truly inspiring in many different ways, keep up the GREAT work!

  9. AWESOME!!! guys, we want more of this please! love it.

  10. You make it so simple & easy. I will remember this! Thanks.

  11. You guys are too awesome! Thanks for all the kind words. We're so glad you enjoyed this post. We'll definitely keep 'em coming!

  12. You really did just take all the stress out of posing. Rad! Looking forward to the next edition.

  13. 4.5+ for the rainbow. And spinning around is my favorite too

  14. hurray, thank you for this! thank you for breaking it down into these easy steps–it really does take some worry out of it.

    to add: i've seen a bunch of couple shots where one of them steps close to you and the other is out of focus behind them, then you have them switch.

    most fun–have them jump!!

    can't wait to see more of these from sitting/laying/leaning!

  15. Great post! Thanks guys!

  16. Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Julie, those are fantastic suggestions! More easy ways to get even more variety! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  17. manuela Busack says

    Great post! Thanks

  18. this is SUPER helpful, natural-posing such an oxymoron for me, thanks for making it simple!

  19. Thanks for the comments Manuela and April! Really glad you found this useful!!

  20. Thank you SOOO much for this type of information. It really is invaluable to me. I love the Shy Photographers guide and am having trouble with the posing/coaching part of photography in growing my skills! Love it. Thanks again.

  21. Thanks for the super sweet comment Arlene! You are most welcome!!

  22. Super post! I enjoyed the visuals along with the text—helps a ton!

  23. Thanks Kristen! Glad it was helpful for you! :)

  24. Great info and lovely photos to inspire! Thanks for sharing your expertise. You make it seem so logical, and I have this horrible tendency to forget how to direct sometimes.

  25. Thanks for commenting Jen! Happy to share :)

  26. I'm SO glad that I read this article last week! I shot a wedding this weekend and the bride literally could NOT sit down–her dress was too tight. If I had not already had an arsenal of standing options at the top of my mind, I would have been freaking out! Thank you for such an informative article! Keep 'em comin!

  27. Great post. Thanks!

  28. dr. naren amin says

    wow…………..I have just started searching different poses – one of the best up till now I found………….thanks for so wonderful guide…

  29. Brilliant! Simple, to-the-point, useful!! Lauren, keep doing what you're doing!! These lessons are bang-on.

  30. Great! Can't wait to try these tips out!

  31. Guido Rodas says

    I really enjoy editing with PP 10 . The changes in the image are outstanding, my subjects always are very pleased. Than ksfor your job.

  32. Really, really great!!!

  33. This is a great easy guide to posing and they are too cute too! Someone above said where do you find your locations. I LOVE to take different streets around my town and always scout time of day light on someones barn a field behind your home ect., and google where all the local parks are and trails in your town. and take notes on where you were, so you can find your way back ;)

  34. Michael Stephens says

    Awesome! This helps alot! I have been trying to figure out a better workflow for more natural posing. Thanks!

  35. this is amazing! thanks for writing all this out – you guys are stellar!

  36. Jenn Fraser says

    I love all your articles – so fantastic! Thank you! One question I have for you is what lens do you typically shoot with? Do you change it up? I ask, because you often mention changing the distance between you and the subject, so I am trying to imagine – are you moving in and out or are you just using the zoom? When I use my 18-250mm lens (on friends – I am not a pro), people get really intimidated by this BIG lens….so I think it might be better to have a smaller zoom/lens and just move in and out….what are your thoughts?

  37. Fantastic post! Organising poses is something I’m terrible at. It’s almost like I have a complete mental blank when I get a couple in front of me so I just end up letting them do their own thing! But you’ve broken it down beautifully here and made it so simple. I can’t wait to do my next shoot, now, and try these adjustments out!

  38. Hi!!

    I love your post! It’s very helpful.


    1. I tell them to look away at something pretty.And when I count to three turn around as if something interesting just walked by. It’s hilarious to see how much a person imagines. Also, you’ll get various looks from a couple. They will most likely look at each other :)

    2. Have them in whatever position they are in and freeze! Then begin to tilt the camera and to both sides. you’ll get them in the center, at the sides, angled, so much variety!

  39. Thank you very much for the posing tips.

  40. This is awesome – thank you! I’ve always wondered how some photographers make everything seem so effortless and natural. You have a wonderful eye for composition.

  41. Adorable care free poses. Lovely article. They look so relaxed throughout the session.

  42. Hi, This was so helpful. I stress way too much about posing and have brain freeze ! Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  43. Verry nice stuff! I’m lovi’n it!

  44. I think I’ve probably said this before, but you guys really need to get those “Pin It” button on like every post! :)

  45. Thanks for the so simple but so useful tips! Last Christmas I did a shoot of one of my sons and his girlfriend. We were in a big park and to end it, I had them skipping away from the camera and clicking their heels. We finally got one in unison! It was great fun!

  46. This is such an awesome post! And one that I keep coming back too when I’m in need of a little inspiration! Thank you!

  47. Thank you for all of this advice. You’ve made it really clear, logical and easy to understand. :)

    I love the last photo of them frolicking in the grass.

    Also I noticed you’re in Calgary from the skyline in the other post and the familiar terrain. Yay!

  48. Great info on posting a standing COUPLE, but the title was Standing Poses so I was hoping for more–like how to pose a group of 3 generations of family, groups of friends, etc. Maybe you’ll add that soon?

  49. Super helpful post! Posing is definitely something I find stressful, particularly if I feel I’m “unprepared” at these early stages I’m also conscious of what I take on and the differences between shoots i.e. couple to senior (totally different set of poses). I like to feel that I have poses to start us off then naturally as the shoot goes I find that I begin to ‘see’ poses.

    I feel like I don’t want to take on too many different shoots in and around the same time because I want to do a good job and it stresses me out. (I also work FT and volunteer so have an already crazy schedule!)

  50. lovely clear, succinct guide to posing. Do a prepared list involving lots of small changes. This gives you confidence you will take great pics. If you exude this confidence the couple will feel at ease. The best poses often come later when they are so at ease they will do their own thing!

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