It’s Friday. Not that anyone is counting anymore… but because it is Friday, I thought some light content was in order and that’s why, inspired by my couples who’ve been talking about it on Instagram lately, I decided to dedicate this post to the ‘Starling Squeeze’.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to shoot with me, this might sound a little off, but if you ARE one of my past couples, you’ll know exactly what a ‘Starling squeeze’ means, and if you hear it, you’ll probably go down memory lane to the days I taught you how to do it.

Note: The trick you are about to learn is NOT to be done in times of social distancing. I repeat, DON’T do it. 🙂

Every photographer has their special posing tricks

It could be either hardcore guidance and tell you how to pose, or making it the most natural looking possible. None of them are wrong. In fact, it all leads to the goal that is to provide you with amazing shots you’ll want to cherish for the rest of your life.

On a personal note, I go with what feels more comfortable for my client.

I’ve worked with couples who love to have me posing them to create a carefully thought shot and make something epic, and I’ve worked with couples who’ve never had photo shoots done and feel awkward posing and that is ok too.

Most of my clients, actually, have proven to like a more natural vibe and have never really had photos of them taken together.

That is music to my ears. I absolutely love working with photo shoot “virgins”.

Seeing them relax as the shoot goes on and the trust is built is a wonderful feeling, and honestly, that’s how I’ve come to make friends for life through my shoots.


Yeah, ok. But what is that Starling Squeeze?!

The Starling Squeeze is a way of getting the most out of a hug.

If you ask a couple to hug and stay that way for a couple of photos, what happens is that very quickly the hug becomes either awkward or lacking the honesty we all love seeing in heartfelt photos.

So as I find a nice background and position my couples in what I feel like it’s a lovely composition, I ask them to hug, and to hug even tighter on 3.

So they hug, I count ‘1, 2, 3’, and they have to really mean the hug (or squeeze).

As they do, I take various shots in about three seconds, which is the time a good squeeze lasts.

During that time, many things can happen:

  • A tight hug will carve fingers in the flesh,
  • it will get the couple to press against each other tighter and more meaningfully
  • and it will do something to their expressions. It can be funny, but it can also be just epic.

Later on, as they’ve learned to ‘squeeze’, we can add a bit of fun to the moment, and they not only have to squeeze on 3, but they also have to say it!

As they say ‘squeeeze’ for about three seconds and hold each other, different emotions can also come out:

  • They’ll be smiling more


  • They might even exaggerate it for the fun

These two ways generate amazing content for you to give them after, and that is why all of my couples come to love the ‘Starling Squeeze’.

But let me tell you a little secret:

As a photographer, you want to pay attention to what happens not only during a squeeze but also right after.

So you can still react with them to the moment (laugh with them, or say ‘wow, that was lovely!’), but I like to keep my camera ready for the seconds that follow, and OMG, that’s how I’ve captured the most loving photos I’ve ever done. Because as they think the shot is done after the squeeze and they relax, you finally get a glimpse of the real couple that’s in front of you, and no posing can ever EVER do that.

Other ways you can use the ‘Starling Squeeze’

So there you go. I have many other tricks up my sleeve, but this is definitely one of my very faves, and one which my couples often mention on instagram when they share their photos.

This is something you can even try at home with your partner as you set your camera for a great shot, or when you do a simple selfie!

This also works really well with family photos, or photos with friends.

Unfortunately, I do not recommend it in times where social distancing is advised, but you can dream and plan it for when we’re again allowed to SQUEEZE the ones we love. 

And don’t forget to use the little trick at the end. Just stay ready and wait to see what happens!


If you happen to have photos with a good squeeze on Instagram, add the hashtag #StarlingSqueeze so I can see them! I will share them too!


Have a lovely Friday.

Tomorrow is Netflix binge day and I have no shame to admit it.



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