Flattering Poses and Tricks to Help You Rock All Your Photos

Here’s how to look flawless when the camera gets up close and personal.
by Cassie Kreitner

Unless you’re a professional model (or a social media star), being followed around by a camera is probably a new experience. So while it’s totally normal to feel a little nervous and uncomfortable during your engagement shoot—and then again on your wedding day—the last thing you want to do is look that way. To learn the secrets of taking great photos, we talked to photographer Liesl Henrichsen, cofounder of Photo Pink, a Brooklyn, New York–based collective that specializes in documentary- and editorial-style wedding photography. Here, she shares tips on how to move past those inevitable awkward first photos and take flattering shots that you’ll immediately want to post and frame.

  1. 1. Find your comfort zone.

    engagement photoshoot soho
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    To capture an intimate moment like this, a couple needs to stay still for several seconds, so it’s a good idea to keep the pose simple and something you feel comfortable doing. “When there isn’t time for multiple takes, I ask couples to hold each other close and look into each others’ faces. I asked these two to kiss because it was something they felt relaxed [about] and looked beautiful doing,” Henrichsen says.

  2. 2. Let's face it: Not every photo needs yours.

    writer couple engagement photoshoot
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    Although you definitely want a selection of portraits and full-length shots, pose for a few that show who you are as a couple. These two are writers and wanted photos that expressed their life together. Many people instinctively hold their bodies tightly, with arms close to the sides and legs crossed, but Henrichsen says a looser pose is key. “Separation provides definition; I directed her to bring her feet toward the camera and keep them slightly apart. It's more flattering to leave a little room between your body, arms and legs.”

  3. 3. Be a couch potato.

    wedding photoshoot couple couch
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    As a couple you spend so much time just hanging out, so it’s nice to take a shot or two on the sofa. But posing in your gown is different than posing in your college sweats, so you’ll likely need some positioning for the best results. “When I put a couple on a couch I try to get them to lie like they would if they were home together,” Henrichsen says. “I make sure the bride’s feet are separated and visible so you can see her shoes, and suggest placing one arm on the armrest to keep it away from the dress.” Keeping knees bent rather than straight-legged can also help to show off your dress. “I arrange the train in front but not in an overly organized way—if everything is perfect the photo looks too staged,” she says. As far as a groom’s couch pose goes, “a crossed leg with an arm on the armrest works nearly every time,” she says.

  4. 4. Do the walk and talk.

    engagement photoshoot park
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    The way to make a hand-in-hand walking photo look genuine? Have a real conversation with one another and forget that the camera is there, Henrichsen says. “Just walk around like you would if a photographer wasn't there with you. He or she can capture the right candid moment.”

  5. 5. Go the distance.

    engagement photoshoot central park
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    Sometimes a faraway shot can be more powerful and convey more emotion than a close-up. “You don't need to look into a couple's faces to see how much they love one another,” Henrichsen says. “The moment before a kiss is often more romantic than the kiss itself, and leaning toward each other without touching lips allows you to still see the full outline of both faces.” You’ll likely want a mix of both kissing and non-kissing photos, so Henrichsen suggests keeping lips slightly parted when kissing to avoid looking like your faces are smooshed together.

  6. 6. Have each other’s back.

    wedding photoshoot car
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    A pose like this can be tricky to pull off because it’s not a way most couples naturally stand together. Too stiff and it will look like a prom photo—too loose and it looks like you’re mid trust fall. “To make a shot like this work, it’s important you give the person in front a place to rest their body, like the bride here is doing with her arm on the groom’s leg,” Henrichsen says.

  7. 7. Lose your grip.

    engagement photoshoot park
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    Bad hand placement or a too-tight, clawlike grip can easily take a shot from romantic to awkward. “This photo works because of how gently they're touching each other and the way their arms are bent,” Henrichsen says. “To get your hands to fall in a more natural way, stretch out your fingers and then just let your hand relax.”

  8. 8. Hitch up your dress.

    wedding photoshoot brooklyn rooftop
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    Not sure what to do with your hands? A good way to prevent them from distracting in a face-to-face photo is to keep them at the waistline. “By holding the front of a dress the bride doesn’t have to worry about what her hands are doing, and it adds a sweetness to the photo,” Henrichsen says. “It’s also a great way to show off her shoes, without them becoming the main focus.”

  9. 9. Vary it.

    engagement photoshoot times square
    photo by Liesl Henrichsen for Photo Pink

    Nose-to-nose pictures can tend to look stiff, rather than intimate. To keep it loose, Henrichsen recommends avoiding staying in a pose for too long, and stealing a kiss or two between shots. “Don't focus so much on looking a certain way—real interaction between a couple creates a moment that's not just a pose,” she says. “The best pictures show how happy you are to be with the person you love most.”

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