We have improved the two-wave coupling amplification and the signal-to-noise ratio of an amplified signal with photorefractive cerium-doped potassium sodium strontium barium niobate (Ce:KNSBN) by employing optimum polarization orientation of the pump beam while the signal beam retains extraordinary polarization. The optimum polarization angle of the pump beam was found experimentally to be 30° with respect to the extraordinary polarization direction in a symmetrically incident system. Nearly 1.9-times enhancement of the gain and nearly 3-times enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio were achieved at a signal-to-pump beam intensity ratio of 1:40. At a beam intensity ratio of 1:2000, a two-wave coupling gain of nearly 500 was obtained, which is much higher than the gain previously reported. Modified coupled-wave equations that involve beam fanning with certain assumptions concerning the fanning parameters were used. The numerical solution is in good agreement with the experimental data. The results are compared with those obtained with a 45°-cut BaTiO3 crystal.