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Mastering the Lift Pose in Wedding Photography

3/31/2024 Matt 0 Comments

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 Photo by JCM Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Parker Mill in Whittier NC
The lift pose is more than just a photo opportunity; it's a celebration of joy, unity, and the beginning of a lifelong journey together. This iconic moment, often captured in wedding and engagement photography, showcases the love and excitement between the couple, symbolizing their support and commitment to each other. Understanding how to capture this moment can add a dynamic and emotionally rich layer to your wedding portfolio. In this article, we'll explore the lift pose and provide you with tips and examples to inspire your next couples shoot. 

Types of Lifts and Carries

Here are the most common types of lift pose variations that you'll see at a wedding. While there are common lifts and carries, feel free to mix it up and put your own twist on it. Sometimes the most spontaneous posing cues yield the most authentic results!

The Hug Lift

A hug lift is a lift that starts from a hugging position. One person then lifts the other person, adding a dynamic feel to the image. Here is an example:

Photo by Courtland Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Ocean Beach in San Francisco CA

The Spin or Twirl Lift

Usually done as part of a dance, the spin or twirl lift is when one person spins the other while lifting him or her up in the air. The momentum creates motion that adds to the dynamic feel of the photo.

Photo by Roc Focus (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Rochester

The Piggyback Ride

The piggyback is a fun and casual lift that brings out the couple's playful side. Mix it up and have fun with this pose.

Photo by Luzye Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Mile Square Golf Course in Fountain Valley California

Tips for the Perfect Lift Shot

Ensure Client Safety and Comfort

Before attempting any lift, discuss it with the couple to ensure their comfort and safety. Choose a soft landing spot in case of slips. Avoid ledges and dangerous locations and gauge the strength of the person doing the lifting prior to suggesting this pose.

Photo by Laura Skebba Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Thunderhead Pines in Smithville OH

Communicating with the Couple

Set clear expectations about the pose and ensure both partners are comfortable and prepared for the lift. This pre-planning can make the moment feel more natural and enjoyable.

Photo by Gretchen Troop (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Boulder Theater in Boulder Colorado

Scouting the Location

Select a background that complements the moment. Open spaces with soft lighting work best to highlight the couple against a serene backdrop.

Photo by In Love and Adventure (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Hidden Valley Trail Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Timing and Anticipation

Photo by Mattie Wezah (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at William and Mary College Alumni House in Williamsburg VA

 The lift happens in a flash, especially during the wedding couple's first dance or ceremony recessional. Anticipate the movement and be ready to capture the peak moment with precision.

Focus and Exposure Tips

Photo by Sofia Camplioni (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at in Θεσσαλονίκη 

Use a fast shutter speed of around 1/200th and above to freeze the action. Adjust your aperture and ISO to ensure the couple is the focal point, with a well-lit and sharp image.

Encouraging Spontaneity

Photo by We The Light (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Lake Dillon in Dillon CO

Guide the couple to forget the camera and immerse themselves in the joy of the moment. Spontaneous expressions create the most memorable images.

Capturing Lifts and Carries Organically 

Incorporate lifts and carries that happen naturally, especially during wedding dances, to capture genuine moments of joy and celebration.

Lifts during the first dance

Dance floor lifts offer a dynamic twist to the traditional lift pose, filled with movement and excitement. This presents unique challenges such as low lighting and fast action. This section provides practical advice on capturing these vibrant moments without compromising on image quality, ensuring photographers can freeze the joy of dance in perfect clarity.

Photo by The Macmeekens (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Mason in Dallas Texas

Lifts during the grand exit

Photo by Jessie and Dallin (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Ledges in St. George UT

Composition Techniques

The composition of the lift pose can transform a simple photo into a captivating story. Employing techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and incorporating striking backgrounds can enhance the visual appeal of the lift pose. This section explores how to frame these moments for maximum impact, ensuring each photo is a work of art.

Photo by Jindrich Nejedly (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Na Palirne in South Moravia

 Frame your shot to emphasize the couple, using symmetry and negative space to enhance the visual appeal of the lift pose.

More Lift Inspiration

Photo by Hayden and Harlo (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Sheraton Universal in Hollywood California Photo by Irina Duane (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Waterford Castle in Waterford Photo by Frank Balzan (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Maria Rosa Wine estate in Attard


Mastering the lift pose in wedding photography not only adds a visually stunning element to your portfolio but also captures the essence of the couple's love and unity. By experimenting with different types of lifts and honing your technique, you can document these fleeting moments of joy, creating memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Embrace the challenge, and let your creativity shine as you capture the beauty of love in its most uplifting form.

All of the images below are provided by the Wedding Photographers at Wedding Maps and used with their permission.