Posing Couples | What I learned from the great Gabe Mcclintock (and how I am now helping my clients create their dream wedding portraits).







My time in Banff (Alberta, Canada) was incredibly influential to how I am moving forward in helping couples move away form stuffy wedding photos, moving towards EPIC and cinematic images.

What was the highlight & takeaways? My workshop mentor, Gabe Mcclintock shared (World renowned wedding photographer) these tips to help couples master their session and creating:

  1. No kissing
  2. No talking
  3. Keep moving
  4. Connection through touch
  5. Look at each other, or at the ground (within a 2ft circumference)
  6. “Laser Eyes”
  7. Fingers pointing up

Now – let’s break down Gabe’s 7 rules for his photography sessions (and points I am incorporating into my sessions):

  1. No Kissing

Why no kissing you ask? Gabe’s reasoning behind this – Kissing is a release of tension. Couples will do this (and photographers will prompt it) when everyone is nervous and need a release from the stress or awkward feelings. It’s not that I’m opposed to intimate images – but we want to build tension and emotion over our time together. Tension makes epic photos come to life, because we need to explore other ways of creating intimacy.

How to create intimacy without kissing:

2. No Talking

What? NO talking? Insanity (coming from an extrovert with ADHD). Gabe made a point (self proclaimed introvert). When my couple’s are talking, mouths are open and can create odd photos. I am going to break the rule (sort of) by saying whispering into your person’s ear or nuzzling into their neck or chest is a total vibe and I am fine with short whisper nothings…

3. Keep moving

We aren’t talking wind sprints here. When Gabe mentioned keeping couples moving during their session, it ranges from small swaying motions (holding each other and almost like a slow dance) to walking and slowly engaging with each other (looking back at each other as you scale a rock or hill). Moving is important to keep things not totally posed and keep energy in the photo. Keep it slow, but consistent.

4. Connection through touch

With the “no kissing” rule – touching each other is going to be very important. My personal rule of thumb I tell clients? If you are two inches apart, it looks like a mile in photos. The more mushed together your bodies are, the more intimacy you create.

*Touch – tickle, hug, hold hands, embrace, look at each other.

  • Legs – bending knees into your partner’s knees (Leave no room for Jesus)
  • Chest – being chest to chest is really amazing – think also about shoulders (rounding towards your partner will make a world of difference).

*Make sure to touch specific points on the body of your partner: Kneck, Hair, shoulder, Chest, lips, hands, cheeks, back, etc.

5. Look at each other

I love a good epic shot of a couple staring off into the distance – but at the same time, is there connection between each other if they are looking in different directions or off in space? Great for showcasing landscape, but… we can do better.

Gabe’s rule: Looking at each other, or within a 2 ft circle around yourselves, look at the ground. This keeps the focus and intimacy in a bubble. We want the intimacy, Not boredom. Looking off in the distance sometimes errors on disconnection.

6. “Laser Eyes”

Gabe described the following – Pretend your eyeballs have laser beams coming out of them (open or closed eyes). The couple should have their laser beams always crossing. The reason is the same and helps us move away from looking disconnected/ bored and not looking at each other. It’s promoting intimacy.

7. Fingers pointing up

Have you ever shook someone’s hand and they have a “dead fish” handshake? EWWWWW

Hands are incredibly intimate and tell a story just by themselves. Strong embracing comes from a strong position from your hands. Pointing fingers up, is posing with intention. We want conviction in our poses, and every part of your body matters. “Grabbing” your partner creates even more tension- this looks like fabric wrinkling between fingers or a muscles flexing in your hands and arms.

I hope these points resonate with you and help during your photography sessions. If working with me, we will go over them again and again – slowly creating some seriously epic photos together.

Here is the video link of the great Gabe Mcclintock talking about these posing tips:

Here is a gallery from my time in Banff – it was truly an epic place to photograph beautiful couples.


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Deco Reverie Studios

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