Simple Couples Prompts Instead of Poses for Natural Photos

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Simple Couples Prompts Instead of Poses for Natural Photos

Couples Prompts are game-changers for your next romantic shoot!  When I first meet with a client to discuss a shoot, I often hear them express worry about posing for pictures.  They are worried about feeling awkward in front of the camera or not knowing how to stand or place their hands.  The more I can set the client at ease before we even arrive for the shoot, the better the entire experience will be for everyone.  In the end, our goal is natural, relaxed-looking photos!

I'm the Most Awkward Person there!

First, I assure them that I will be the most awkward person there and that they can’t do anything wrong.  I am here to do the work; they are here to have some fun!  I may give them some basic instructions, but I have found that getting natural expressions is more relaxed if I can get them interacting with one another and just having a good time.

Promptography, or prompting instead of posing, is what we call this kind of coaching.  Here is a list of 10 of the top prompts that I use during a photoshoot with couples.  Give them a try, and you might be surprised at how natural the whole process feels.

Couples Prompt #1

Sexy Cereal

I like to have my clients snuggle close, hip to hip, and have him lean into her ear and whisper the name of his favorite breakfast cereal in his sexiest voice.  The trick with any of these prompts is to be ready with your camera as soon as you speak. You will get an array of expressions, from horror to humor, and all of them are natural and not forced.  

Prompted Maternity Photo used in Promptography Blog Post

Couples Prompt #2

Blow Raspberries

This couples prompt is guaranteed to get a hearty laugh, and the men love it!  Have him lean in and give her a big ole raspberry on her neck just beneath her ear.  In case you don’t know what a raspberry is, it’s what you do to a baby’s belly when you blow air to make a tooting sound on them (or as my 10-year-old son says, “It’s not tooting, mom, it’s FARTING!”).  Either way, the sound and sensation usually leads to giggles, both with babies and with couples.

Couples Prompt #3

Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific

Here is a great couples prompt that usually results in some strange looks, followed by a few snickers and some sweet smiles.  The idea is to get them cozied up together and then have him lean in and sniff her hair.  Some dudes will take this quite literally and suck up a strand or two, but then others will give a tiny, delicate little sniff.  Either way – it usually leads to a great, relaxed, and fun photo. 

A prompted maternity photo

Couples Prompt #4

Surprise Attack

Time for some fun!  This time you’ll want to have your lady take the lead.  Have her grab him from behind and blow gently in his ear. A whisper or a kiss to the ear also works.  It is especially fun if she can jump on his back piggyback style.  Darling!  This leads me to the next prompt.

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Couples Prompt #5

The Carousel

If your couple is already piggybacked, then this is the perfect time to do a carousel shot.  Have the woman put her legs straight out and lean back, holding his shoulders, while he spins around in a circle.  Safety first – be sure they are on even ground and ask if they are comfortable doing this.  Since this prompt is a bit more physical, it may not work for every couple.  As in all sessions, you will want to be sure you’ve had your clients sign your contract, including your safety waiver.

Couples Prompt #6

Dance, Dip, and Twirl

Prompt photo of a maternity pregnant couple in Promtography Blog Post

Just in case your clients aren’t ideally suited to piggyback rides, here’s an alternate prompt.  Or double up and add this one to your piggyback pose!  Have your couple act out their first dance at their wedding.  As they snuggle in for a cozy couples dance, ask him to give her a twirl or a dip.  Super romantic and super fun!

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Couples Prompt #7

The Soul Stare

Now that you’ve got your couple feeling all romantic, you can quickly move into the Soul Stare couples prompt.  Ask your pair to stop dancing and stare deeply into each other’s eyes as if they are staring into each other’s souls.  Another take on this is to ask them to stare deeply into each other’s eyes as if they need to memorize their partner’s eyes as if it is the last time they’ll be able to do it.  You might get some deep emotion here.  Or more giggles.  Either way – run with it!

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Couples Prompt #8

Kiss with Your Teeth

If your couple is feeling romantic, now is a great time to ask for a kiss.  You can lighten the mood back up with this next request.  Ask them to kiss each other with their teeth.  I know – it sounds strange, actually, downright odd, but you will get some exciting expressions, I promise!

Couples Prompt #9

Nose to Cheek

Have one partner draw a shape with his nose on the other’s cheek.  This works great for either guy or girl.  The nose knows no limits here (ya see what I did there?)  You can also have them spell something…  be creative, and make these prompts work for YOU.  There is no science in prompting – it’s all about having a good time.

Photo of a couple posing with a prompt

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Couples Prompt #10

Walk This Way

Finally – when we get to the end of the shoot, I love to ask my couple to walk about 20 yards away from me while holding hands. I give them something to talk about, like a particular food they cannot live without or the next movie they want to see or even sing the ABC song.  

Maternity photo of a couple for a promptograpy blog post

For more incredible prompt ideas, check out 10 Photography Prompts For Natural Family Sessions from Simply Snapping Mom!

Whatever gets them interacting with one another.  As your couple walks away, you can get a few snapshots of them from behind.  When they get far enough away, and you’re ready, ask them to turn around and walk back to you, but to keep holding hands.  Snap away gloriously – these shots are golden.  You can zoom in close or pan out wide (What does THAT mean!?  Read Ten Need-to-Know Photography Terms for the Beginner to get a variety of shots.  You can even ask them to lean in for a kiss partway back to you.

Couples Prompt Results

The Most Natural Photo Shoot EVER!

By this time, you’ve likely gotten enough shots to call it a day.  If not, keep going.  Be creative and come up with some new ideas for prompting interaction.  Remember, when your clients are having fun, it will show on their faces and in their body language.  When your couple sees their portraits, they will have great memories of the day they spent together and their time with you.  Be sure and hand them a few business cards before you part ways for the day.  They’ll be so happy with their results they’ll want to send all their friends your way!

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