wedding photography, romantic portraits – more than just a kiss

wedding photography – the romantic portraits – more than just, “and now, kiss”

More frequently than not, when looking at the work of other photographers, I see that the romantic portraits of the couple are just of them kissing. Having worked with a number of photographers over the years, I’ve also seen how the instruction “and now, kiss”, becomes reflexive. Pose the couple; have them look at each other … *snap* … and now kiss … *snap*. And then the photographer takes no other photos of the couple at that specific place. Yet, there are more (and perhaps even better) ways to show intimacy in the romantic portraits than just having the couple kiss …

Have the couple snuggle in,
have them whisper to each other,
have them lean in closer until their noses just barely touch … or not.

Have them nuzzle each other on the side of the other’s face,
cheek to cheek,
or corner of the mouth to the other’s cheek.

Just gentle teasing caresses and whispers and laughter.

Shoot from different angles,
shooting over each one’s shoulder, catching the other’s expression.

Your position as a photographer should not be static. Move around.
With a longer lens, a slight change in your position will change the background.

Move around and find different angles, while the couple interact with each other and spend a minute or two with each other. A longer lens will help with giving them a bit more space to be with each other.

In all this, you’ll be able to get more spontaneity and expression than the mere instruction, “and now, kiss” will engender. And you’ll be able to show the couple really interact with one another.


camera settings & photo gear used (or equivalents)


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11 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says

    Really well written Neil. Thank’s as always for going to so much trouble to help people like me. I’m shooting my sisters wedding, in two weeks time and have today just ordered 85mm 1.2 for Canon.Both of your books and your tangents blog are my source of inspiration.Thank you..

  2. 3Karen says

    Beautiful Neil. Your explanations are perfect and I thoroughly enjoy reading your tips and tricks. I always look forward to your newsletters and facebook posts. AND I love both of your books. Thanks from the “sandbar”

  3. 5 says

    Nice article Neil and some cool tips in there – I never really know where I stand on such things in terms of directing.

    If the couples are relaxed and you just let them do their thing, then you can really capture some lovely intimate moments, but if you direct too much, then it can often come out forced. But I think sometimes you need to weigh up what the couple is like, some will need a little directing and some are just natural and have that instant vibe as soon as they come together and making them feel relaxed is the most important part and more to do with your rapport with them than anything.

    I was particularly pleased with one of the weddings I did last weekend, where the couple were just amazing and showed so much passion and intensity with one another and as a result, the shots didn’t come out forced ( see last image: )

  4. 6Edy says

    Hello Neil,
    fantastic as always.
    I advertised on your site and your person here in my city …. all are very happy to meet you and appreciate your work ..
    I’ve personally bought both your books ……. For the second (Flash Off Camera) I had to let me send from my aunt who lives in New Jersey.
    The question I pose is this my friends ….
    It would be possible to have the books with translations in Italian??
    I am convinced it would sell so many in Italy ….
    Let me know
    Thank you for everything ..
    Edy Trigona Genoa Italy

  5. 8 says

    I always have to force myself to move, move move! Its so easy to find yourself just standing in the same spot not getting any unique angles. Great post Neil!

  6. 10 says

    The first photo is a stellar example of using available light — or should I say using it well. Amazing. Such a gorgeous exposure. I’d love to know how you ‘see’ this light and see that it’s ideal. Second one beautiful too but I really love the first.

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