Monday, 21 October 2013

How to choose the correct ISO camera setting

ISO is one of the easiest camera settings to learn. The main reason for changing the ISO setting is to enable photographers to shoot images quicker. The faster your camera ISO, the faster your shutter speed and the sharper your images will be. There is less chance of unwanted blur due to camera shake, and more chance of freezing your subject in an instant. Therefore choosing the correct ISO setting will help you to shoot sharper images.
So what is a fast ISO camera speed? The higher the ISO number the faster the speed. For example ISO 800 is faster than ISO 100. The ISO setting determines how sensitive the camera sensor is to light. The higher the ISO setting the more sensitive it is to light, the faster it takes the shot.
You would think that if a high ISO number equates to a faster shutter speed, then you should use a higher ISO for every shot? Wrong!
High ISO camera settings is one of the main reasons for grainy images (also referred to as being noisy). It may not be obvious when looking through your cameras rear LCD screen, however you will understand what I'm talking about when viewing your photo in its full resolution on your computer monitor.
Therefore a high ISO should always be the last resort. Instead try lowering your aperture f-number, then if you find your camera still isn't shooting fast enough, increase the ISO number.
The correct camera ISO you need to set should be a mix between speed and photo quality. You need to be able to weigh up the available light, then set the lowest possible ISO that allows you to shoot quick enough so not to blur the subject.
Over on our facebook page this week we had quite a few questions regarding ISO.
Agnel asked these questions:
What is ISO? How does it affect photos? In which situations should we use different ISO settings?
While Arefin asked:
What ISO is best for daytime verses night time?

These questions are best answered by studying the example images below.

Examples photos of numerous ISO settings

Shown below are several photos for you to visually learn from. For each photo I've also listed what ISO setting I chose to use and why.

  1. Lake reflections photographed with ISO 100 taken during the day time in perfect lighting conditions.

    example photo of camera iso setting 100

    During the day time in perfect sunny conditions always set your ISO to 100. This setting is fast in these situations, even for hand held shots, which will result in the best image quality possible.

  2. A bird photograhed in shady conditions with an ISO setting of 500.

    example of iso 500

    During the daytime in sunny conditions when photographing a subject covered by the shade of a tree, I always set my ISO to 400 for starters. Once I've set my camera ISO, I place my eye to the rear vision and go to take a shot. When I do this, I look along the sides of the screen for the shutter speed. The purpose of this is to make sure the shutter speed is faster than the mm length of the lens.

    For example, if you are using a 100mm lens length, your shutter speed needs to be at least 1/100th of a second. If the focal length of the lens is zoomed out to 400mm, your shutter speed needs to be at least 1/400th of a second and so forth. This how you determine if you are choosing the correct ISO setting for that particular scene. If it is slower than the length of your lens then increase the ISO higher by 100 and try again.

    This method also works for zoo animals or people standing in shade on a sunny day.

  3. Treat rainy days the same as subjects in the shade. If it is a rainy day, overcast day, early morning or just before dusk, then set your ISO to 400 for starters. If you find it's not fast enough to capture your subject without blur, then increase it by 100 until you find the perfect balance.

    Note when recommending these ISO settings for shady conditions or rainy days, I'm also presuming your Aperture f-stop is set to around f/4 or there abouts. The reason why I can't give you an exact ISO setting is because no two light situations are exactly the same.

    iso for rainy day

    This image above was taken on a rainy day with an ISO set to 100. I was able to set it to 100 only because I had a fast lens that was set to Aperture f/1.8. If you don't have a lens that goes down that far in Aperture, then start at ISO 400 for these types of lighting conditions.

  4. NIght time walking around the streets taking snapshots without a tripod, I always set my camera ISO to 800 for starters. It is the only way to get a sharp night photo while hand holding the camera. This also presumes there is plenty of street lighting available and your Aperture f-number is the lowest possible.

    I also start with ISO 800 generally when photographing indoors without your flash. When photographing people indoors, it's important to give yourself the best possible chance of getting a sharp shot, by placing your subject against some sort of available light.

    For example, if indoors during day time hours, place the person near a window or in an area where there is natural light falling on them. If it's night time in a restaurant or in your home, place the person so you, as the photographer, are shooting into an overhead light. If you do this and keep your Aperture f-number low at the same time then you may be able to shoot lower that ISO 800. As we discussed earlier, it's a fine balance between sufficient camera ISO speed and image quality.

    night time ISO camera setting

  5. Whenever image quality is of the utmost importance, always shoot with an ISO 100 setting. Now remember in low light situations, this will mean your camera will also shoot much slower than if you used a faster ISO 800 for example. Therefore you will need a tripod if using ISO 100 in low light.

    I always use ISO 100 when photographing landscapes that I intend to print out as fine art. Unless it is a sunny day, the shutter speed will be slower, however the image quality will be perfect. There are many reasons why photographers intentionally set a slower ISO speed in low light. For example, you can slow down flowing water, or show motion in a moving object. For times like these you would choose the lowest ISO number possible.

    slow motion water

  6. Set a high ISO number as the last resort if you want to capture people or kids on the move. If you have already set the lowest Aperture f-number your lens will allow and you are still seeing blurry images, then start increasing your cameras ISO setting to compensate for fast movement. Again, remember the higher you set your ISO the faster your camera will take the shot. However the disadvantage is you also lessen the image quality. As the photographer you need to choose what's more important, speed or quality.

    Generally speaking, the majority of new cameras coming out today can easily shoot at ISO 400 and not have any visible image quality issues. This is why I always set my ISO to 400 for aerial and underwater photography. I know my camera will shoot fast and the image quality will still be great!

    aerial photo example

If I think of anything else to add to this page over time I'll update it. Until then, you may also be interested in reading our free PDF ebook called Understanding ISO. Click the cover below to download it. It may take a couple of minutes to open depending on your Internet speed.

Understanding ISO

How to use aperture priority, AV (for Canon) or A (for Nikon) mode on your digital SLR camera

For photographers who use SLR cameras, AV or A mode determines whether all the photograph is in focus or part of. For example photographers can choose to have a sharp foreground and background, or they can blur the background. If you're after more technical details, Wikipedia already has a great article on how aperture works in photography.

On digital SLR cameras, aperture is indicated by a f-number value.

example of aperture F stopThe higher the F number, the more of the photo that will be in focus. For instance if you're taking a photograph of a landscape, chances are you will want all of the foreground and background to be sharp and in focus. For this to happen you will need to set your digital camera f value or aperture as its known, to a large number, for example F/11.
On the other hand if you're taking a photograph of a bird and you want the animal in focus but not the background, then you would choose a small F number like F/4.
You can see what aperture your digital SLR camera is set at by looking at the back LCD screen for a F number. As you can see by the image above right, the aperture in that example is set at F4.0. The display shown on your LCD may look different to this example, depending on the make and model of your camera.

How to set your camera to aperture priority?

AV setting on DSLR cameraThe letters AV (for Canon camera's) or A (for Nikon camera's) on your mode dial sets your digital SLR camera to aperture priority. Your camera then changes all other settings such as shutter speed automatically to suit.
Once you have AV mode turned on, you can change the f-number by rotating the main dial above the shutter button. Note: this is for Canon digital cameras. You may need to refer to your manual to find out how to change the F stop for your specific brand of camera.
When the f number is small, the lens diaphragm is actually wide open. So if someone says to you that you need to open your lens more, they mean to lower the aperture or F number. Alternatively, if the aperture is a large number, say F22 then the lens diaphragm is smaller or more closed. This often causes much confusion with beginners.
  • Opening your lens more refers to lowering the f number.
  • Closing your lens more refers to a higher f number.
The best way to understand how aperture works is to take numerous photographs with different f-number values and see what the difference is.
Take images at both ends of the scale. One with as low a F number as possible and one with as high a F number as possible. More importantly, when you view them on your computer take notice of how much of the photo is in focus.
Shown below is a couple of examples I've done myself to help explain aperture.
In the first photograph shown below, the aperture (f number) was set at f/11 so all the image is in focus.
F/11 on DSLR camera

Now for the second photo, the aperture was set at a smaller number f/5.6 so only the rocks and sand at the foreground are in sharp focus while the background elements are blurred.
F/5.6 on DSLR camera

And here is an example of a close object photographed with an aperture value of f/5.6. As you can see the foreground object is in sharp focus and the background is blurry.
example of blurred background on photograph
It's also important to note that results from aperture settings can change from one lens to another. For example just because an aperture value of f/5.6 for your macro lens results in a blurred background, it doesn't mean you should also set your telephoto or wide angle lens to the same f stop. Therefore its important to experiment with all your camera lenses so you know your equipment better.
All photographs shown on this page are taken with a Canon 400D (Rebel XTi) Digital SLR Camera.

Photography Assignment - Grab your DSLR camera and give this a try

Understanding how each mode works separately, is vitally important before trying M (manual mode). Learn how to use aperture priority and how different F numbers effect the overall image. Then and only then, will you fully understand how to use it when shooting in manual (M) mode.

Assignment: Lesson in aperture priority mode

  1. Set your digital SLR camera to aperture priority mode. For Canon users, this means turning your mode dial to AV. Nikon users need to change the dial to the letter A. If you don't see the letters AV or A, then refer to your camera manual.

  2. Change your camera's aperture F stop to the lowest number possible for your lens. It's important to note that each lens will be able to shoot at different apertures. Expensive lenses can go as low as F1, where most on average will be able to shoot at around F4.

  3. Go outside and photograph a close object where the background elements are far away in distance. This is extreme to ensure you easily see the visual differences as you change the F number. On a low F number, you should notice the background is very blurred, when compared to the main object that is in focus.

  4. Now change the aperture number to around F7.1 and take the shot again.

  5. Take two more photographs, firstly with an aperture of F11, and then F22.

  6. Download and open all 4 photographs on your computer and see the difference that can be seen in the background. Notice the lower the F number, the more blurred the background. The higher the F number, the more of the background that is seen in focus.

Digital SLR photography guide - tips for beginners and amateurs

Listed below are a few useful tips for those photographers progressing from a point and click camera to a digital SLR (also known as DSLR) camera. Note, these are basic DSLR photography tips for beginners that I wish I had read when first starting out.

Before you go away however, read these 12 important DSLR tips for beginners. They will help get you off to a great start!

DSLR For Beginners

  1. Number one DSLR photography tip for beginners - Don't throw your camera manual away.

    It will become your new best friend. Read it as often as possible, especially in the first couple of months after purchasing your DSLR camera. Always store it somewhere handy. For example in your camera bag.

  2. Buy a UV filter for each lens you own. It's easier to replace a scratched lens filter than it is to replace your actual lens.
    UV lens filter

  3. Learn to use all your SLR camera settings. Even those you don't think you'd ever use. Practise changing settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed, so you know them like the back of your hand. A moving animal won't sit and pose until you work out your settings.

  4. In addition to UV filters, other important pieces of equipment should include a sturdy tripod and a remote release. They both come in handy for taking photographs that require long shutter speeds. For example night photography or slow motion water.

  5. You can never have enough SLR / DSLR photography magazines and books to learn from. The best ones will explain what camera settings were used, along with each photograph displayed.

  6. Don't touch or blow on the mirror inside your camera body when you have the lens off. If you damage the sensor, you may as well buy another camera body, because that's how much it will cost to fix. If you notice spots appearing in your photos, buy a cleaning kit or dust blower from your local camera store. Many now have an inhouse cleaning service which is always a good alternative.

    sensor mirror

  7. Don't change your lens outside if it's windy. Put the main lens on your camera before you leave the house. If you need to change the lens outside, face the camera body downwards. Dust can't fall upward onto the camera's sensor.

  8. If at first you find your getting a lot of blurred photo's, change to a fast shutter speed. The faster the photograph is taken, the less chance there is of it being effected by camera shake. Holding the camera closer to your body or resting it on a nearby object is also a good tip. If you're taking nature shots, steady yourself by leaning against a tree.

  9. When you buy a digital camera bag, think about the future. Many photographers on average own at least 3 lenses. Personally I own 2 camera bags. One holds a camera with a single lens. This is useful for times when I know I'll only be needing one lens. For example, if I'm going out to photograph landscapes I don't need to lug myself down with all 3 lenses. Or if I'm going out to photograph macro's, then I don't need to also carry my landscape lens. My second bag carries my camera and all three lenses. This one is useful for travelling purposes.

  10. Learn what RAW file format is. Setting your digital camera to shoot in RAW is particularly useful for beginners to SLR photography. If you have your camera's white balance or picture style set wrong when you take a photograph, you can change this later on with a RAW editor on your computer. There will also be many times when you only get one chance to take the photograph. For example, a bird won't fly past time and time again until you have the cameras white balance set correctly for that specific scene.

  11. The best way to learn what your SLR camera can do, is through experimentation. If your taking a photograph of running water, try both fast and slow shutter speeds to see for yourself what the difference is. Or if your photographing a beautiful landscape, try different aperture settings. You'll be surprised at how many photo's you can get from shooting the same scenery with different settings.

  12. Always press the shutter button half way down to prefocus before going all the way and taking the photograph. This is one of the most useful DSLR photography tips I share with all beginners, as it will usually result in clearer photo's every time. It is also especially useful when you can anticipate where a subject is going to be positioned before it gets there. You can prefocus on that spot by pressing and holding the shutter button half way, then as it comes into view, press the rest of the way down.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Wedding Photography 101

“Help me – I’m photographing my first Wedding!… Help me with some Wedding Photography Tips Please!”

It’s a question that’s been asked a few times in our forums over the last few months so while I’m not a Pro Wedding Photographer I thought it was time to share a few tips on the topic of Wedding Photography.

I’ll leave the technical tips of photographing a wedding to the pros – but as someone who has been asked to photograph numerous friends and family weddings – here are a few suggestions.
Wedding Photography Tips

1. Create a ‘Shot List’

One of the most helpful tips I’ve been given about Wedding Photography is to get the couple to think ahead about the shots that they’d like you to capture on the day and compile a list so that you can check them off. This is particularly helpful in the family shots. There’s nothing worse than getting the photos back and realizing you didn’t photograph the happy couple with grandma!

2. Wedding Photography Family Photo Coordinator
I find the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play and people are in a ‘festive spirit’ (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point where it can be quite chaotic. Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the ‘director’ of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.

3. Scout the Location
Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).

4. In Wedding Photography Preparation is Key
So much can go wrong on the day – so you need to be well prepared. Have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), have batteries charged, memory cards blank, think about routes and time to get to places and get an itinerary of the full day so you know what’s happening next. If you can, attend the rehearsal of the ceremony where you’ll gather a lot of great information about possible positions to shoot from, the lighting, the order of the ceremony etc

5. Set expectations with the Couple
Show them your work/style. Find out what they are wanting to achieve, how many shots they want, what key things they want to be recorded, how the shots will be used (print etc). If you’re charging them for the event, make sure you have the agreement of price in place up front.

6. Turn off the sound on your Camera
Beeps during speeches, the kiss and vows don’t add to the event. Switch off sound before hand and keep it off.

7. Shoot the small details

Photograph rings, backs of dresses, shoes, flowers, table settings, menus etc – these help give the end album an extra dimension. Flick through a wedding magazine in a news stand for a little inspiration.

8. Use Two Cameras
Beg, borrow, hire or steal an extra camera for the day – set it up with a different lens. I try to shoot with one wide angle lens (great for candid shots and in tight spaces (particularly before the ceremony in the preparation stage of the day) and one longer lens (it can be handy to have something as large as 200mm if you can get your hands on one – I use a 70-200mm).

9. Consider a Second Wedding Photographer
Having a second backup photographer can be a great strategy. It means less moving around during ceremony and speeches, allows for one to capture the formal shots and the other to get candid shots. It also takes a little pressure off you being ‘the one’ to have to get every shot!

10. Be Bold but Not Obtrusive

Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.

11. Learn how to Use Diffused Light
The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find that in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it) think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember if you bounce off a colored surface it will add a colored cast to the picture) or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you can’t use a flash you’ll need to either use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilization might also help.

12. Shoot in RAW
I know that many readers feel that they don’t have the time for shooting in RAW (due to extra processing) but a wedding is one time that it can be particularly useful as it gives so much more flexibility to manipulate shots after taking them. Weddings can present photographers with tricky lighting which result in the need to manipulate exposure and white balance after the fact – RAW will help with this considerably.

13. Display Your Shots at the Reception
One of the great things about digital photography is the immediacy of it as a medium. One of the fun things I’ve seen more and more photographers doing recently is taking a computer to the reception, uploading shots taken earlier in the day and letting them rotate as a slideshow during the evening. This adds a fun element to the night.

14. Consider Your Backgrounds
One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere – including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time looking for good backgrounds. Ideally you’ll be wanting uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a wandering great aunt wander into the back of the shot.

15. Don’t Discard Your ‘Mistakes’
The temptation with digital is to check images as you go and to delete those that don’t work immediately. The problem with this is that you might just be getting rid of some of the more interesting and useable images. Keep in mind that images can be cropped or manipulated later to give you some more arty/abstract looking shots that can add real interest to the end album.

16. Change Your Perspective
Get a little creative with your shots. While the majority of the images in the end album will probably be fairly ‘normal’ or formal poses – make sure you mix things up a little by taking shots from down low, up high, at wide angles etc.

17. Wedding Group Shots
One thing that I’ve done at every wedding that I’ve photographed is attempt to photograph everyone who is in attendance in the one shot. The way I’ve done this is to arrange for a place that I can get up high above everyone straight after the ceremony. This might mean getting tall ladder, using a balcony or even climbing on a roof. The beauty of getting up high is that you get everyone’s face in it and can fit a lot of people in the one shot. The key is to be able to get everyone to the place you want them to stand quickly and to be ready to get the shot without having everyone stand around for too long. I found the best way to get everyone to the spot is to get the bride and groom there and to have a couple of helpers to herd everyone in that direction. 

18. Fill Flash
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must.

19. Continuous Shooting Mode
Having the ability to shoot a lot of images fast is very handy on a wedding day so switch your camera to continuous shooting mode and use it. Sometimes it’s the shot you take a second after the formal or posed shot when everyone is relaxing that really captures the moment!

20. Expect the Unexpected
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….

These moments can feel a little panicky at the time – but it’s these moments that can actually make a day and give the bride and groom memories. Attempt to capture them and you could end up with some fun images that sum up the day really well.

I still remember the first wedding I photographed where the bride and grooms car crashed into a Tram on the way to the park where we were going to take photos. The bride was in tears, the groom stressed out – but after we’d all calmed down people began to see some of the funny side of the moment and we even took a couple of shots before driving on to the park. They were among everyone’s favorites.

21. Have Fun
Weddings are about celebrating – they should be fun. The more fun you have as the photographer the more relaxed those you are photographing will be. Perhaps the best way to loosen people up is to smile as the photographer (warning: I always come home from photographing weddings with sore jaws and cheeks because of of my smiling strategy).

Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Weddings

I would like to state from the very beginning, that weddings in general are a major commercial industry to many professional photographers. Shooting wedding photography professionally is a much, much bigger topic than just 21 sample poses. The aim of this article is only to provide you with some initial guidance and ideas to take some nice bride and groom pictures.

1. The wedding veil is a superb accessory for a bride’s close-up portrait. You may want to use manual zoom to focus on the eyes, otherwise the auto mode will focus on the veil’s texture.

2. A very good opportunity for a great picture is photographing the bride or both newlyweds in the wedding car.

3. The romantic and passionate kiss is another must-have shot from the event. Definitely try to capture both faces including the eyes. Without that you will probably produce a dull shot.

4. Very easy and kind pose. The newlyweds simply and naturally embrace while bringing their cheeks together. Take care that the bridal bouquet is nicely placed and turned towards the camera.

5. Another beautiful pose with the groom embracing the bride from the back. The newlyweds may look romantically at each other or straight to the camera. Or they might kiss for an even more affectionate pose.

6. Just a slight variation of the previous ones, keep the newlyweds close together, but find a way to get a shot from an elevated angle.

7. In weddings you can’t really go wrong by asking the newly weds to kiss for a shot whenever there is an appropriate moment. They won’t complain anyway!

8. If possible, arrange an outdoor shot, take some pictures of the couple from a distance and use some open space in a background.

9. Absolutely easy and a bit more formal pose, creates a calm and intimate mood.

10. The groom holding the bride in arms, easy to pose, however be careful choosing the right shooting angle – both faces should be visible.

11. A pose with the groom holding the bride works not only from a distance, but makes a very nice pose for a close-up as well.

12. Certainly a staged pose – the bride falling into the groom’s hands. But if the newly weds are responsive, poses like that could work out extremely well.

13. Weddings don’t need to be and sometimes really aren’t at all that serious. Don’t be afraid to make some fun, ask the newly weds to loose their shoes and just run around a bit and snap some frames.

14. Never forget that there often are good opportunities shooting from the back.

15. A fun pose with the newlyweds kissing passionately. Pay attention to the wedding dress: It shall look free-falling and natural, as opposed to stuck and creased under the groom’s leg.

16. A gorgeous pose for a bride’s portrait. The bride should sit on the ground (or a very low stool) with the wedding dress nicely arranged around her. Shoot from above with the bride looking slightly upwards.

17. Fun and simple pose, the newlyweds clinking champagne glasses. For a more creative shot you could get real close and focus on the glasses, leaving the portraits blurred.

18. Another creative way to play with a shallow depth of field. Use the widest possible aperture and keep the groom in a distance from the bride. Focus on the bride, leaving him slightly out of focus.

19. The newlyweds dancing is just another must-have shot. Take pictures with the bride and groom facing towards the camera, making both faces clearly visible. They may look to the camera or at each other.

20. For some creative results, don’t concentrate only on bride and groom. There are many interesting corresponding objects to shoot, and these photos especially will make the event’s photo album far more engaging. Thus, take separate shots with single objects. Examples are the wedding bouquet, jewelery, clothing details, champagne glasses, wedding rings, wedding car elements etc.

21. The final point isn’t about posing proper, rather just an idea for a post production. Most probably you will have a bunch of photos from the event, so use them to make a small collage (or several ones). Pick only some objects or crops from other pictures and combine them into a balanced composition. Use some unified filter effects or simply convert them to black-and-white in order to achieve outstanding results. Such collages indeed are pure pleasure to an eye!

Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Couples

Generally a couple should be easy to engage in a photo shoot. If they are initially a bit shy or feeling uncomfortable, just ask them to show you how they felt and looked when they met for the first time. You will invoke them on an emotional level, providing you with natural and loving expressions in their portraits
1. Easy starting pose standing face to face (but looking to the camera) and her holding an arm on his chest. Take both close-up as well as vertical shots.

2. Ask the couple to stand very close to each other to catch intimate close-up portraits. Don’t be afraid to zoom in and crop real tight!

3. Very easy and cordial pose with him holding her from behind. The couple may look straight into the camera or at each other. They might even kiss for a more emotive shot.

4. Fun and loving pose with her holding onto his back and shoulders. Pay attention to hand positioning: It should be simple and natural.

5. Just a variant with her holding him from behind. Remember that the couple doesn’t necessarily have to look in the camera. For better results, make them interact with each other by talking, flirtatious looks, laughing etc.

6. Creates a very romantic mood. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. Shoot only slightly from a back. Remember that you have to be far enough to the couples side to be able to capture each person’s closest eye, otherwise you will create an impersonal, “empty” shot.

7. Find some elevation and shoot your subjects from above. A common pose shot from an unusual angle is always creative and will often reward you with surprisingly good results.

8. Another romantic pose. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. Works also very well as a silhouette against a bright background, in front of a sunset, for example.

9. Easy to realize pose for a full height shot. Creates a calm and affectionate mood.

10. A fun pose. Don’t presume this to be appropriate only with younger people. If an older couple feels fine with it, this pose will work absolutely superb with them as well. Try different framings, take full height shots, half height ones and close-ups.

11. Very nice way to show the affection when meeting each other. Works very well in crowded places, such as a famous meeting point in a city, trains or metro stations etc.

12. A pose with a little bit of fun. The crucial part is her leg positioning, each leg should be bent in different angles. While he is still lifting her, take a close-up portrait shot as well.

13. Take shots of the couple walking hand in hand approaching from a distance. Shoot in burst mode only! However, the majority of your shots will look awkward because of the leg movement. Therefore, the second part of your job is to select the photos with the best leg movement and positioning afterwards.

14. Another variant with a walking couple. This time couple walks close together and holds onto each other. Again, take several shots and choose those with the most elegant leg positioning.

15. Never forget that there often are good opportunities simply shooting from the back.

16. A couple lying close together on the ground. Make them lift their upper bodies a bit by using their arms as supports. He might embrace her gently. Shoot from a very low angle.

17. Another variant with a couple lying on the ground. This time with a little interspace.

18. A good example to show that two persons can very well be positioned asymmetrically.

19. Informal and fun way to pose for a couple lying on their backs.

20. A cordial pose, ask the couple to sit comfortably on their favorite sofa.

21. Sometimes shooting a couple may mean maternity photography. Some poses from this couples series work also pretty well for such an occasion. Simply adjust a posing accordingly to show the couple’s feelings about and interactions with the unborn new life.

Allow me to repeat the previously stated – look at these sample poses as a starting point only. That’s the reason why they are rough sketches instead of real photos. You can’t and should not repeat the pose exactly, instead adjust the pose creatively according to your shooting environment and scenario.