6 Ways to Capture Intimacy in Photos

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, check out these tips for creating a genuine sense of closeness in your images.

We all know what intimate moments feel like, but capturing them in photos presents a challenge, in part because cameras don’t belong in these moments—they threaten to disrupt or dismantle the delicate and nuanced exchange altogether.

And yet, when intimate exchanges are captured successfully, there’s an undeniable emotional pull to them. So, how can you get the shot you’re after?

Here are some tips.

1. Shoot in Familiar Spaces 

Your subjects are more likely to drop their inhibitions, feel their most relaxed, and show signs of intimacy if they’re somewhere familiar or inviting.

Think about setting your shoot in a place that offers them comfort—whether that’s their home, the beach, or an outdoor cafe.

Consider shooting in environments that put your subject at ease. Images via Olena Yakobchuk, anon_tae, Olena Yakobchuk, and GaudiLab.

2. Engage Your Subjects in Meaningful Conversation 

By asking your subjects about, say, their wedding day or the arrival of their first grandchild, you may inspire natural displays of affection and emotion. You’ll also distract them from the lens and prevent them from consciously or unconsciously posing for the camera.

The less staged an image, the more intimate it feels.

A cheerful senior couple embrace at a game arcade
Encourage your subjects to reminisce about a meaningful event to capture genuine emotions behind the lens. Image via Rawpixel.com.

3. Zoom in on Details 

Intimate photos don’t have to involve touching, or even more than one person.

A shot of a hand or foot, or smaller details such as tears and sweat, offers a unique perspective—a detailed look at a subject that’s typically reserved for a loved one—and creates a sense of closeness and trust.

Intimacy doesn’t always have to involve touching. Images via oluuuka, Master1305, Z2Marketing, Zolotarevs, bezikus, and Jayakumar.

4. Consider a First-Person POV

Taking photos from the first-person perspective is a captivating approach that can make the viewer feel like they’re interacting with the subject. The implied connection drives a greater sense of intimacy as the viewer feels they’re experiencing the scene.

Images via oneinchpunch and Sergii Sobolevskyi.

5. Focus on the Eyes 

Shooting at eye level with the subject allows viewers to feel more connected to the person they’re looking at, especially if that person is staring directly into the camera.

6. Anticipate Intimate Moments 

Capturing genuine moments of intimacy means being on the lookout for emotional and unguarded moments as they arise. That could mean capturing tearful reunions at the airport arrivals gate or a couple enjoying a beautiful sunset at a popular lookout spot.

So, remain alert—and have your camera settings ready to go!

Images via Olga Vladimirova, Dragon Images, Fergus Coyle, and Rawpixel.com.

Image via DisobeyArt.

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