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photography posing guide
important days
wedding photography
bride and groom
chiropractor
nerves
honeymoon
anxiety
Wedding Photography Posing Guide
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Part 1 - The Bride and Groom

Wedding photography posing can be intimidating. Not only do you have the technical aspects of photography running through your head but you have to know how to pose your subjects. You have two people dressed up in their finest on one of the most important days of their life. For the bridal couple, the day can be very surreal - full of nerves and anxiety. Then the bride turns to you and says, "What do you want us to do?" You have to be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently - and do so over and over again in a way that puts the couple at ease.

First, my mini disclaimer: I have photographed over 400 weddings in the past 15 years and while this gives me more experience than some, this article is still just my opinion. Take it for what it is and not the gospel. I encourage you to experiment, to play, and to find what works for YOU. That being said, here are my suggestions.

The best wedding photography posing is natural looking. You want the couple to be, and to look like, themselves. In order to achieve that natural look, YOU need to be prepared. I've photographed enough weddings to be able to 'see' the album in my head and I'm constantly looking for the holes - the shots I'm missing. But in the early years, when the bride would turn to me and say, "What do you want us to do?" and I would momentarily blank. What next? How else can I pose them? I encourage you to have a shot or posing list. These can be found in detail on-line. Review and try to memorize this shot list but also have a hard copy with you, in your camera bag to refer to.

It only takes a slight move of the couple or a shift in angle from you, to create a different looking and new pose. Personally, I'm not a fan of the big dramatic pose...where the bride is bent over backward and the groom leans in to kiss her neck. Yeah, I can see them doing THAT all the time. I try to stay away from any pose that may cause my couple to visit a chiropractor on their honeymoon!

Instead, keep it simple. I love shots of the groom hugging the bride. All you see of the bride is her back but the groom, you see his face...have him give her a kiss on the temple and then close his eyes and lay his head against hers. Then come in for a close up of the groom's hand on the back of her dress. Then have him pull back slightly to look at the bride. Chances are he'll be smiling and it makes a great shot! Have them stay there while you go around to the other side to catch a glimpse of the bride looking at the groom or a close up of her ring hand on his neck. All very simple and quick - six great shots with one pose and all the couple had to do was hug! Love it! Were they at ease? You bet! How can you not be when you're hugging your honey?

Some of the best ideas I get for posing the couple are when I'm switching lenses. I happen to glance up at the couple, who are at the moment relaxed - they are being themselves. Touching, talking, laughing in a way they normally do. I'll catch them doing something great and I'll say, "Do that again!" He's kissed her nose or whispered something in her ear and it makes for a great, natural shot.

Don't get me wrong, I will do the posed shot of the couple standing side by side, looking at the camera - maybe a couple of varieties of this. But try this at your next wedding: put them in that standard pose - they will likely be a little stiff - and then tell them to snuggle in. No 'snuggle' is not a technical photographic term but it will give you a night and day difference in the appearance of the photo. From stiff and posed to, I'm so into her!

Also, keep in mind, not every pose works for every couple. You'll have different heights and weights to work with - different body types. Practice, practice, practice. Borrow your friends to pose for you and run them through a typical session as your mock bride and groom. Wedding photography posing should be a natural process for you and your couple on the wedding day!


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