How to Capture Kissing Photos Without Awkwardness

Kissing images are fun in many types of photography. Kissing photos make for great emotional photographs in newborn photography, children’s portraiture, senior photography, family portraits, sibling photos, engagements and wedding photographs, and of course pet photography. Get inspired by these kissing photos.

Tomorrow, I will share my twins’ favorite kissing shots sent in from Facebook’s photo share last week.  If yours was not picked (we have gotten over 300 entries) or if you have one to share, come back tomorrow and you can share your “kisses” in the comment section..

XOXO: Capture Kissing photos ~ Make it fun getting the best kiss shots!

by Julie Cruz

photo of adults kissing with baby in hands
Who says you need to be an engagement or wedding photographer in order to snap kissing shots? As a photographer who mainly shoots kids and families, I do kissing shots all the time! Why? Well of course they are cute, but the main reason is to break people out of their shell a bit, bring back the romance (for adults obviously), capture the sweetness…and most importantly…to have FUN! Next time you try a kissing shot, I can guarantee that you’ll see smiles immediately after the kissing.

Tips on getting great kissing shots:

1) For adults – I tell them to kiss like i’m not there,  like they mean it, eyes closed, hands on…basically to “make out” 😉 I also tell them that if they feel weird and awkward, they are going to LOOK awkward in the photos….so it’s best to act like they would if no one was around….and it WILL look awesome……..

adults kissing while holding kids handcouple-kissing-by-a-car

If it’s starting to look awkward or a little TOO frisky, i’ll say something like “Ohhhh yeahhhh!” which always causes laughs and smiles. Like this…….
engagement photography kissing by car

2) For kids – I’ll simply ask them to give whomever (mom, dad, sister, brother) a kiss. As soon as they do, i’ll let out a big “Awwwww, you’re SO sweet!”….which in turn makes them proud and want to do it again and again (which is great in case you happened to miss the shot the first time) 😉

photo of sisters kissing
image of siblings kissing

3) When parents are kissing and kids are watching – I usually just tell the parents to kiss and then wait and see what the natural reaction is from the kids. I love the natural expressions!  If the kids aren’t paying attention at all (trust me, at on-location shoots, it’s hard to keep the attention of little ones because they are at a new place and just want to explore), i’ll say something like “Oh my goodness! What are mommy and daddy doing!!??” and catch the look on their faces.

Some look at their parents and smile and giggle, some run off (which is still a fun moment to capture), some are still hamming it up for the camera….  Some decide to copy what mom and dad are doing by grabbing their little sister and trying to plant one on her….

whole family kissing photo

Some are just plain grossed out (always the teens and older kids)..and it’s hilarious!……..

image of adults kissing and teens grossed out

4) Parents kissing kiddos – Honestly, you don’t really need any special tips or tricks here, most kids love being kissed, cuddled and tickled by mom and dad. The key is to try and get some unique kissing shots vs. the standard kiss shots……

carnival image kissingfather-kissing-daughterfamily all kissingkissing in the air

5) Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to kiss. After all, they are paying YOU to take their photos for a reason.  One of my favorite lines that I hear from my clients is “We trust you”. My clients trust me to capture moments that normally wouldn’t be caught in photos (we ALL kiss and cuddle our kids at home….but honestly…do we snap pics of those moments? Most likely not). They trust me to make sure that those moments are real and not overly staged or cheesy. Sure, I usually ask the adults to kiss, but majority of the parent kissing kids shots are just moments that happen and i’m lucky enough not to miss.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start smoochfest 2010! 😉

Julie Cruz, of Lot116 Photography is a photographer in San Diego, CA (but available for travel) specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, toddler, child and family photography.

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 2


    Really great article! I have a maternity shoot coming up and I’d really love to get some kissing shots in!
    Keep up the good work! :)

  2. 4


    Julie-one of my most favorite posts to read in a long time—-you have me smiling from ear to ear……..Now I gotta go find me a pair of lips!!!

  3. 6

    Tina says

    Love your blog and tips…Thanks for this one…Even though it is rather obvious stuff it is sometimes things we don’t think of…Thanks again!!

  4. 7


    What a clever, and enjoyable post! Thanks so much, you’ve made my day. I was using the “pause just before” method, to avoid squashed faces…Ive changed my mind….great advice!


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