Engagement Photo Poses: A Guide for the Traditional + the Non-Traditional

April 26, 2021

If you’re planning your engagement photoshoot and are looking for ideas, this engagement photo posing guide will help you feel comfortable AND have fun!

For those who like posed photos AND those who hate staring at a camera and want a more organic, candid engagement photo experience, this photo list of engagement photo poses is sure to spark ideas for couples and photographers alike.

Engagement Photos Poses | Photo Ideas for Engagement Shoots | Engagement Poses for Couples

Queenstown hiking view New Zealand engagement photo locations

Engagement Photos: Should You Do Them?

Engagement photos are great for several reasons. It’s a way to practice being in front of the camera before the big day, to see how you and your photographer work together, to get engagement photos done in a place completely different from where your wedding will be, or to have printed photos for save-the-dates, guestbooks, and more.

Plus, engagement photos are actually fun! I’m a creative wedding photographer, so I always shoot a mix of traditional, nontraditional, and more creative/adventurous engagement photos rather than just standard engagement photo poses. Plus, my photos tend to be very candid and enjoyable–not stiff and formal. So do you really need them? Couples don’t have to have them, no. But are they a good idea for all the reasons listed above? Absolutely.

→ DISCLAIMER: I hate the word “pose,” so instead of thinking about “DO THIS HERE. PUT YOUR HAND THERE,” think of it more as simple directions as you and your partner talk, and I’m just throwing out hints. In fact, many of us photographers like to use the word “prompts” versus “pose.” This way, instead of a command that sounds stationary, a prompt can be more of a suggestion.

I’ve listed example engagement photo poses below in 3 categories:

  • Traditional Engagement Photo Poses – These are the types of photos you’ll often see posted online or on save-the-dates
  • Nontraditional Engagement Photo Poses – For those who don’t want the usual romantic, typical shots, these less-common poses (and candid engagement photos) are a great option to throw into the mix
  • Creative Engagement Photo Poses – If you don’t want formal, predictable shots and prefer incorporating your hobbies, pets, or outdoor activities in, I highly recommend creative and/or adventurous engagement photos! I now offer adventure engagement photo sessions which are getting popular: hiking, waterfall swimming, snowboarding, and more!

Ready? Let’s go.

Traditional Engagement Photo Poses

Engagement photo poses at banyan tree in Miami Florida wedding photographer outdoors

The Head-to-Head

This can be done close up or in a beautiful environment (like these banyan trees in Florida). Great for engagement photos and weddings alike, getting you physically AND mentally close.

Gay wedding ideas - flower beards by NY wedding photographer www.KathrynCooperWeddings.com

The Reminiscent Prom Pose

Remember that awkward prom pose everyone dose? It’s actually a great starting pose for engagement photos, especially when the couple is chatting, laughing, and just going with the flow.

And no, you don’t have to have a flower beard and flower crown like these two, but if you do, I won’t complain!

Fun engagement photographer above Lake George California

The Stare-in-My-Eyes

A little hand under the chin (and a few other prompts from your photographer), and this cute pose looks, well, freakin’ cute. A beautiful view doesn’t hurt either!

Lesbian engagement photos kiss Sayen Gardens NJ photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

The Almost-Kiss

The taunting task of telling two people to get close enough to almost kiss–but not–is really fun to document.

And no, I didn’t coach her on the little toe-knee bend there, but it sure is a cute addition to the photo.

Engagement photo poses guide

The Nose-to-Nose

Similar to the almost-kiss, the nose-to-nose is perfect for beaches, calm settings, windy weather, or anything. It’s just a cute pose for a more intimate photo–and that engagement ring, too. We did these on the beaches of Punta Cana, DR.

engagement photo pose

The Tip-Toe Kiss

This wasn’t planned, but after some clowning around and spinning around, this cute moment was definitely a perfect one to capture.

Creative wedding photographer unique engagement photos Salvation Mountain

The Walk

This is as simple as it gets as far as looks go, but getting the perfect shot means one person ahead of the other, the right hand being held, and no running for that imaginary bus (as in, don’t rush!).

Waterfall engagement photos under a waterfall PA couple green forest

The Shoulder-to-Shoulder

Look at your photographer OR at the camera. Whatever you do, do it in a beautiful place like this in the Poconos!

The “Your Hair Smells Amaaaaazing”

This is a great pose for save-the-dates, and is perfect for couples who feel less comfortable in front of the camera. No one has to look at me!

Instead, there’s a special cue I give my couples to look really comfy in each other’s arms. A joke works well here, too.

The Dance Move

Dance the day away, and don’t worry if you’re coordinated or not. These shots are fun and very you. Plus, if you mess up, I’m literally the only person watching!

The Toe Kick

Definitely a fun pose, the toe kick is easy, cute, and perfect whether on the ground or being lifted up.

Engagement photo poses running in Yosemite

The Run

Running is always funny because of the expressions, and beautiful because of the landscape and flowy outfits. Hey, think it’s easy? YOU try running in a dress!

Non-Traditional Engagement Photo Poses

Couple walks on Malibu beach during orange sunset

The Silhouette

If you’re doing photos at sunrise or sunset (which I ABSOLUTELY recommend for your engagement AND wedding), getting colorful sunrise or sunset silhouettes is fun and beautiful, with an air of mystery.

Unique SoCal wedding photographer Southern California engagement photos on a plane

The “We’re-Too-Cool” Stance

All you have to do is have access to a plane. No, I kid. This is a great pose for posh couples in botanical gardens, sculpture parks, museums, and more. So cool. Too cool?

dog engagement photos central park

Bring the Dog

“Can I bring my dog to my engagement session with you, Kathryn?” I get asked this a lot, and of course you can! I even have doggie bowties if you’re really nice to me.

Bring the Cat

There’s no hiding that I love cats. And flower crowns on cats? Yes, please! In addition to engagement photos with you dog, I’ll photograph your cat engagement photos, horse engagement photos, and nearly anything else with your pet.

Adventure session Kathryn Cooper Weddings - Bali Indonesia wedding photographer

The Smokin’ Reflection

For when you have a private villa in Asia and already look like models, you just strike a pose over your private pool. Easy enough, right? (But seriously, water reflection shots are fun.)

The Hold-Still-for-the-Waterfall

To get these luscious waterfall streaks, the couple has to choose a position and not move a wink. Uncomplicated poses work best for this!

Fun engagement photo ideas - bride and groom jump into lake with wedding clothes on - trash the dress photoshoot

The Run-n-Jump

At the end of your engagement session, why not do something extra fun? Jump in a lake, pool, or ocean. I LOVE these photos from the back or front, as well as the after photos.

Creative Engagement Photos
(Engagement Photo Poses + Candid Engagement Photos That Just Don’t Fit in a Box)

How to elope in the Redwoods - Santa Cruz elopement photos

The Look Up!

This shot is super fun for when you’re in a tall or unique landscape, but getting the right angle isn’t as easy as it looks. A few adjustments to how the couple is standing from me and this type of shot comes out awesome! Plus, redwoods!

Couple wears masks during engagement photo shoot in NorCal

The Mask – Special Covid-19 Edition

What better way to commemorate love during a global pandemic? These Mammoth Lakes engagement photos were beautiful.

couple in water on beach dominican republic

The “Life’s a Beach”

When on vacation or living near a beach, don’t be afraid to get wet and let the waves flow around you. I did a long exposure to get this engagement shot on the beach!

Creative wedding photos Kathryn Cooper Weddings Mexico

The Collage

I made this photo from 9 different photos I took of my fun couple while in Mexico. The different colored walls were the perfect canvas on which to do this experiment…though stitching them together realistically was no easy task!

Yas Queen couple gay wedding


If you have fun accessories, be they hula hoops, light-up signs, or fans, bring them along! I can’t get over these two.

Mauna Kea wedding elopement photos under milky way with kissing couple in Hawaii

Kissing Under the Milky Way

Want to stand out? Here’s a unique idea that you likely won’t have time for on your wedding night–unless you do an adventure session! Milky Way photos. Your photographer should be able to tell you if the skies are right for the night you want to go out, and all you have to do is hold still for what is called star shots/couples’ astrophotography.

Engagement photos long exposure under the Brooklyn Bridge Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Lighting Up the Night Sky

If your photographer has a creative vision and a tripod or steady hand, you can get some pretty great night shots with no one around.

Spyscape engagement photos haunted mask kiss

Masked and Mysterious

Want something less conventional: Love offbeat, horror, witchy, or spooky vibes? Go to a different kind of museum or attraction, don a mask, and do your thang.

Get in the Water!

Couples do trash the dress sessions all the time, but why not get in the water in your engagement photos as well? And would I encourage splashing each other?! Ummm…of course not??

The Make-People-Look-Twice

I won’t give away exactly how this was done, but I will say that museums are unique places for getting very creative engagement photos! It’s less about the pose and more about the place.

Having Fun with Your Engagement Photographer

I hope this ever-growing list of engagement photo poses is helpful whether you’re a couple looking to do engagement photos, or a photographer looking for more inspiration. There are so many ideas that I could go on and on about, but in the end, it really depends on my couples and where we are. I go for a very organic approach that’s fun and easy for those who have never been in front of a camera before.

Want to have me document your engagement? Just click here to contact me, or email me at info@KathrynCooperWeddings.com.

To me, the most important part is having your engagement photos be very YOU. Love books? Have some of your photos centered around them. Love hiking? Go for a hike for your shots! Into candy? Do some shots in a candy store. Make them fun, and make them all about your relationship. Have a blast, and let me know what your favorite engagement photo poses are when you do your shots!

Kathryn Cooper Weddings: New York Engagement Photographer | San Francisco Engagement Photographer | Engagement Photo Posing | Engagement Photos for Couples

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Ah these ideas are all so fun! I love the variety you provided!

Oh my goodness I love all of these so much! You have such a creative eye for adding your own twist and style! The Milky Way shot is a DREAM of mine!! Amazing!!

This is the cutest engagement guide I’ve ever seen, I love that you include the example photos!

Love all these poses and images! You can’t go wrong with having an engagement session!

Great post! Love the different type of poses, super helpful for those of us who never really know what to do 😉

What a fun guide you put together! I love that there’s a pose for everybody in here, so inspiring 🙂

Love these! The “Smokin Reflection” is my favorite 😍


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