Are you looking to take better photos of a couple? Whether you're a professional photographer or an amateur, we have compiled a list of photo compositions, some notable photo composition rules, and some tips to help you take better portraits of the couple you photograph! Click on the link in our bio to dive into this essential guide. With this knowledge, you'll be able to take the most stunning photos of couples in no time!
Photographers are constantly in search of inspiration and new techniques. What we’ve figured is that photographers don’t only need new ideas to update their knowledge but also need to go over some basics, which may be lost in time. So, if you’re looking to snazz up a couple of portraits for your upcoming photo assignments, then you’ll definitely enjoy this blog.
Photo Composition Ideas for Stunning Couple Portraits
Before we get into how you can improve your couple’s portraits, here are some of our favorite photo compositions to capture the love between a newly married couple or engaged couple.
1. The Perspective of the Couple
One of the most romantic photo compositions for a couple’s portrait is to take photos from the perspective of the subjects. For example, if you have a bride and groom, you can compose photos from the perspective of the groom, the bride, or even both. Ideas like holding hands from the subjects’ point of view, holding a face in their hands, or the other partner walking in front while holding hands will work for you. You can start here, and try to switch up the poses as you go through your photo shoot session.
2. The Profile
A great way to add depth to your photo session on the day of the wedding or engagement photo session is to take photos highlighting the subject or subjects. You can also take profile photos of the subjects in black and white. You can capture both of the subjects as they face each other or away from each other. Additionally, you can also compose a photo with only the faces of the subjects instead of taking a full profile.
3. Nature Light Streaks
If you’re composing a photo in summer or during the day, you can easily use it to your advantage. As it is with silhouette photography, afternoon sunshine is perfect to get some romantic photos. You can use the sun to add streaks of light to your photo composition. The golden hour will give you more opportunities to play with more light and interesting photo ideas.
4. Creating Elements with the Surrounding Nature
Humans are accustomed to looking for groups, symmetry, and lines, which is why the rule of odds, finding symmetry in your surroundings, and using some interesting elements in your photos will help you. You can use the horizon, and the different elements of the surroundings to create lines in the photos.
The thing to note here is that these lines need not be obvious. For example, these lines can be simply around. To make better use of lines in the surroundings, use the rule of thirds. The grid lines will help you compose the lines. All you need to look for is the lines edging towards the horizon, wherever that may be, in the photo. These leading lines can be horizontal or vertical. The leading lines technique helps you take balanced photos.
That said, there are other couple photo composition techniques and ideas that work amazingly well for any couple. The next two sections will talk about photo composition techniques, rules, and some tips to help you compose better photos. If you’re looking for more composition ideas for couple’s portraits, then here are some more ideas to try:
1. Think of photographing the couple holding their hands and showing off their rings in front of the altar or the ceremony arbor.
2. Try capturing the couple in their element, laughing and joking with each other.
3. You can capture some silhouette portraits. Solo silhouettes in general add a lot of charm to the photo, you can try using the technique to take a couple of photos as well.
4. You can compose motion photos, which is to say if the couple is in motion, walking, or running.
Before we talk about tips to help you improve your photo composition ideas, let’s talk about some crucial photo composition rules. The reason why we’re discussing rules before we talk about photo composition tips is to help you understand the basics first so that the tips are easier to follow. Additionally, another reason to do this is to help you understand the rules so that the tips we list out towards the end, help you merge the rules and the tips to find your signature photography style.
1. Rule of Thirds
Rules of thirds are one of the most known rules for photo compositions. The rule of thirds is all about using the frame in three sections. The three sections can be horizontal or vertical, depending on the photos you want to take. A great way to use this photo composition technique is to use the grids in your camera. The grids will act as a stencil and improve your composition. The rule of thirds will help you highlight the “center” of the scene in front of you.
Some examples of the rule of thirds for your photo composition for engagement or wedding photo assignment are – taking a photo of the bride or the couple on the extreme right or left, with the other parts of the frame capturing the backdrop. Another example to help you understand the rule is to consider taking a photo of the bride and groom in the middle, closer to the middle, with the backdrop filling in the frame.
2. Balancing the Photo Composition
Another rule of photo composition that runs in the same vein as the rule of thirds is balancing the subjects and the photo frame. As one of the basic rules of photo composition, this photo composition rule is all about balancing the photo you’re taking. In a nutshell, this rule simply means the elements in your photo should not be distracting. A great example of this rule is to follow the rule of thirds and use the grid lines as guidelines for your photo. For example, if you’re capturing a first-look photo at a wedding photo assignment, you can compose the photo in the following three steps:
1. Placing the bride on the extreme right, along the grid line,
2. Placing the groom on the opposite end, on the left side along the grid line, and
3. Capturing the backdrop and space in the middle.
Another example of this rule of photo composition is to ensure that your subject fills the frame. For example, if you’re thinking of capturing a subject, the best way to do this is to lower your point of view. Crouching down, closer to the ground, and aim your camera lenses to capture the subject in the center of the photo frame.
Although the example helps you understand how to take a balanced photo, there’s a little more to the idea and rule. There are many ways of capturing your subject in a photo, balancing the frame helps you improve the impact of the photo. As the examples above show you a clear narrative of the scene you’re witnessing, what you may have missed in the photo composition examples is that the subject or subjects are filling the frame.
Balancing a photo is all about making sure that the external factors, from the environment or the setting, do not create distortion, or noise, in the photo frame. Also, if you try to level your stance as per the subject or subjects and still can’t find a way to make them fill the photo frame, zoom in. Always ensure that what or whoever you’re taking the photo is filling the frame. Along with this, apply the rule of thirds technique of photo composition as well.
Note: A great way to balance the photos you take, is to always remember the “subject” for the photo. The subject can be an object, a stairway, people, rings, or a part of the landscape. Before you take the photo, mentally make a note of the subject for the photo you’re taking.
3. The Rule of Symmetry
Another killer tip to improve your photo compositions is to work with symmetry. This rule ties in with the rule we discussed in the previous section. Symmetry is a great way to add much-needed balance to photos. A great way to understand this rule is to understand that a photo captures a scene where two halves of the scene mirror each other. A great example of this rule would be reflection photography, especially with a mirror. The result is always clean and clear. When two halves of your photo composition are similar, it makes the photo look balanced naturally.
There are multiple ways to add symmetry to your photo compositions. You can use horizontal symmetry by dividing the scene into equal halves, which is perfect for capturing the landscape surrounding your subject or subjects in the background. The technique of capturing vertical symmetry is best suited for patterns, this is perfect for capturing the scene from top to bottom. Radial symmetry is yet another way to add some more interesting touches to your photos and is perfect for capturing surrounding details with a center in the middle. This can be perfect for capturing details of the wedding or engagement venue, floral details, or other details. However, for radial symmetry to work perfectly well for you, the surrounding elements should be identical.
4. Rule of Odds
The rule of odds in photography helps you take arresting photos, and rightfully so. Using this rule in your photo sessions will help you add more details and elements. The reason why this rule makes for an interesting rule to follow to compose your photos is that it forces the brain to focus on the subject or area you want them to focus on. As humans, we’re accustomed to grouping things and finding ways to group objects and people, and this will bleed into your photos.
However, there’s a way to change this mindset, and the way to do it is to use the rule of odds. An extremely simple way of describing the idea is to give you an example. Now consider you’re taking a photo of a few pebbles. Now, in general, you’d want to take two, four, or six pebbles. However, that would conform to the idea of “looking for groups.” Instead, try adding something more by taking photos in odd groups. Think of adding pebbles in multiples of three. This will help you draw the viewer’s attention to the primary “focus” point of the photo composition.
Apart from this, you can also consider looking into using colors to implement the rule of thirds. For example, if you spot flowers, and you find a yellow flower in the middle of two red flowers, that’ll work as well. And the yellow flower will become your photo composition focal point. You can use this photo composition rule to add details to your photos and draw the viewer’s eyes to the area you want them to focus on.
Although the rule of odds is easy to understand and implement, you’ll need to be mindful of the compositions. Primarily, the rule of odds is all about introducing an element or an object, or even numbers, to create shock value. However, you will still need to create photo compositions by thinking of natural “pairs.” For example, you cannot add a shoe along with two cupcakes. The example will still qualify as “implementing the rule of odds” but the composition will not make sense. Be careful of the elements you include in your photo compositions and the relationship between the elements when you apply the rule of thirds.
For a couple on their wedding day or during their engagement photo session, this rule will help you add interesting elements. Whether you use props or the details in the couple’s background, the rule of odds will help you draw attention to the couple, instead of the surroundings.
Although there are many rules to follow, the ones we’ve discussed above help you take arresting photos. Use the information above to increase your knowledge of the rules. Once you understand the basics of these photo composition rules, you’ll be able to bend them and add creative flair to them.
More Tips to Help You Compose your Photos Better
Now that we’ve gone over the photo composition basics and rules, let’s talk about some interesting tips to help you take better photos during your couple of photo sessions! The tips below will, at times, tie up with the rules we’ve gone over in the above section, and other times, these will just be pointers to help compose a photo effortlessly.
1. Always Start with a Vision
We can’t emphasize enough visualizing your photo composition before you start taking photos. Once you reach the location or a spot, and you’re thinking about the different poses you can have your clients be in, take note of the surroundings. Create a vision in your mind, and work on how to turn your vision into a reality.
No matter what kind of photography you pursue or what kind of photo you take, be it landscape photography, animal photography, or even a couple of portraits, visualizing a photo before you start taking photos will help you take great photos.
2. Define the Couple in your Photos
A great tip for composing photos of a couple is to define the couple and reveal the relationship between the two. As they say, a photo is worth a thousand words, you can use your photos to capture the essence of the couple’s relationship.
Going by the rule of filling the photo frame with your subject, you can try doing so when you have the couple in front of you. Additionally, you can try using different shots, such as close-up shots, or full-length shots, or you can take neck-down shots.
However, remember that every couple is different. So, when you visualize the photos for the day, gauge the couple’s personality. Look at what makes them smile, consider how they react to certain things, and how they react to each other. If you understand the couple and their personalities, you’ll find it easier to take couple portraits. Additionally, for candid photography, understanding the couple makes a lot of difference.
3. Frame the Subjects
One of the best pieces of photography advice is to frame the subject. Now, that’s true even for a couple you’re taking photos of. When we frame your couple, what we mean is to use structures and elements of your environment that can work as a frame for the couple you’re photographing.
One of the best examples of this is to use large door frames. Most of your engagement portrait photo sessions, and wedding photo assignments will be in venues, you’ll find large entrances, ornate structures around, gazebos, or arches. All of these areas double down as frames. All you have to do is have the couple pose in front of the frame (you’ve chosen as the backdrop).
4. Horizon Placement Comes First
Another piece of advice for composing better photos is to consider where and how you choose to showcase the horizon. A couple of portraits with a beach in the background are the best, horizons can be just about anything. All you need to do is keep your mind open.
When you reach the venue, take a quick sweep of the area and visualize. As for horizons, remember to position the horizon a little above the middle section of the couple. If you place the horizon around the shoulders or neck of the couple, it will give you a “cut-off” effect, which is displeasing.
5. Leave Negative Space
Wedding and engagement portraits are the perfect opportunities to utilize negative space in photo composition. Negative space, or a space, around your subject or subjects, helps you create a clean photo composition. Zooming in on the couple, and capturing the two will give you a crisp and minimalistic photo. As we had discussed earlier, leaving negative space around the couple will help you to showcase the relationship between the two.
Gentle Reminder: When you’re utilizing negative space around the couple for the portrait photo session, do not cut off the limbs. You may feel tempted to do so but remember not to cut off limbs as it throws off the composition.
6. Eliminate the Background Distractions
Portrait photography is all about creating the perfect scenario and narration. With the rules we’ve discussed earlier, it is easy to forget to keep the background in mind. When you’re posing or asking your clients to pose, remember to compose the photo in an area where there is no background noise. Furthermore, try to eliminate any distraction or element that does not work with the composition of your image. Try tweaking the camera angle or changing positions to have a clear background.
7. Change your Perspective
When it comes to finding the right “position” for your photos, a great composition rule to follow is to change your perspective. We know it is easier said than done, but if you get in the habit of switching up your perspective, you’ll see how the results begin changing.
When we say, “change your perspective,” what we mean is – to try to take unconventional photos. Think about different angles, and try a variety of things to take photos. That said, let’s use an example, think about taking photos of the bride and groom in their wedding outfits holding hands without including their heads. Or you can take a photo of a couple playfully playing around with each other during their engagement session.
8. Learn the Rules So That You Can Break Them!
The last piece of advice on our list of top photo compositions is to remember that once you understand the ins and outs of photography basics and rules, you’ll be able to add some elements that you like. Above all, you will be able to break the rules to add creative touches to your photos.
One of the most important rules of photography, which we haven’t touched upon, is simply to keep your mind open to new experiences. For, when you’re open to new experiences, you will definitely come up with better ways of doing things and adding creative flair to your photos. Apart from that, we hope that the above information helps you prepare for your upcoming engagement or wedding photo session easily!
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