How to Photograph a Tall/Short Couple

For almost a decade, I've been sharing photography tips and tricks on my blog, but I haven't addressed the topic of photographing a couple of different heights. I've been asked many times how I shoot a short/tall couple and for pose ideas people can use as starting points as they navigate shoots of their own. I've stayed away from this topic because I treat all my clients the same to ensure their experience is the same…the last thing I want is to make a bride feel like I'm altering my approach due to physical attributes.

However, I'll be teaching on creativeLIVE next month and one of the topics we'll be covering in depth is how to feel confident shooting clients of any height…this reminds me of 2009, when I shot an engagement session for a 7-feet tall basketball player and his 5-feet tall fiancé (the same approach I used then is still what I use now).

Today I'll be sharing a few tips and a sneak peek of what'll air on June 25, 2015. I was lucky enough to work with Brittany (5'2″) and Tony (6′) for this shoot, but before we get into the specifics, I need to start with the following: my goal isn't to make my clients the same height, or to make them appear any different than they do in real life. The focus should always be on their love and creating chemistry between them.

The session was on a cloudy day in Laguna Beach, but the gray clouds didn't deter their affection. With a solid 10-inch height differential, I asked Brittany to stand on her tip-toes, bring their torsos to connect, and for Tony to tilt his head toward hers. These three simple steps, lessened the height difference in a way that allows the viewer to focus on nothing but them…
50mm f/2.8 1/400 ISO 200

To show more of what I was referring to, the photo on the left is Brittany standing barefoot on the sand…and the photo on the right she's standing on her tip-toes… (these photos are simply for demonstration's sake)

I also asked Tony to lean again the rocks. A simple lean can shorten his stature naturally, as well as making him look comfortable…

…I then asked Brittany to lean in and kiss Tony… (this photo was the intended pose)
50mm f/2.8 1/400 ISO 200

The photo on the left shows their height difference (which I think is cute, particularly in this photo), but I was able to minimize it by having Tony lean down into Brittany with a kiss…
50mm f/4.0 1/250 ISO 200

Speaking of leaning, this is another word for cuddling…creating a natural lean by way of a hug is really effective…
50mm f/4.0 1/250 ISO 200

Before they walked from the tide pools, I scanned the area for rocks that stuck up higher from the ground. I pointed them out and asked Brittany to stand on those specific rocks as they exited this area, thus resulting in a few inches of natural height from an environmental element…
50mm f/4.0 1/250 ISO 200

Speaking of environmental elements, I'm always on the lookout for anything that will add height to a client…and if I'm lucky, me too. In this photo, Tony stood in the sand and I asked Brittany to stand on a large rock, which leveled their height dramatically. Then, I stood nearby on an even bigger rock to give me the opportunity to angle my camera down…something I love doing…
35mm f/1.4 1/800 ISO 200

Another way to minimize height differences, is adding distance between the two subjects. By coaching Brittany to remain a few steps in front of Tony, she looks taller simply by her proximity to my camera versus Tony's distance…
50mm f/2.8 1/250 ISO 250

Another quick tip is asking clients to sit (it can be in a chair or pew, but here they simply sat in the sand), as it really helps aligning their torsos. Here Brittany leaned into Tony and his gentle kiss reveal ease and comfortability.
35mm f/2.0 1/160 ISO 500

Just to reiterate, this post was solely addressing how to minimize height differences…when this shoot is broadcasted live, 45 minutes will be dedicated to completing an entire portfolio, with a wide range of poses (both minimizing height differences, and simply documenting the couple naturally and effortlessly), with in-depth explanations and a portfolio review.

If you'd like to see the 45-minute video demonstration from this shoot walking you through a step-by-step process of how each photo came to fruition, join me for a 30-day FREE broadcast of photography tutorials, starting next month! As part of the 30-day curriculum, I'll be showcasing behind-the-scenes of this photo shoot. Register for the course HERE and I look forward to seeing you online soon! (FYI, registration and the online viewing is free from May 18-June 26, 2015…if you miss a session or want to download the entire series, you can order it in advance for $199)