When I think of "poses," I used to think of awkward school photos. I actually remember my university graduation photos and the photographer made me put my arm up on a table in front of me, but also twist in the opposite direction? It didn't make sense, and definitely did not feel flattering. Posing in wedding photography is a framework that I use to highlight both the couple and also the environment around them...but it's only the starting point!
I spent a lot of my time taking candid photos during the wedding day, I really love those candid moments. But if anyone's had a wedding before, they might remember how little time you actually spend with your new spouse. There are so many family members, and all your best friends from all your different circles...there's so many people to talk to and thank and party with! So if left to chance, there might not be as many cute candid moments of the couple as you might hope. This is a huge part of the reason I ensure enough portrait time is scheduled into the wedding timeline. I am a BIG fan of the first look (I'll write about that another time) because it guarantees a solid time for couple portraits. In no particular order, let me break down my favourite "poses" and show you why I love them.
1. Walking and Holding Hands:
Pretty self-explanatory. Find a laneway, field, parking lot, whatever, and have the couple hold hands and walk toward you (and away from you). It's simple and active enough that people forget to feel "awkward" in front of the camera and often bust out real smiles and laughter.
2. Artfully Separated:
I like this one when there are interesting architectural or natural landscape details in the background. It isn't as fluid feeling as some of the other poses, but I love how it feels more like a painting. Like a "still life." Plus, it's easy! Stand there, hold hands, look at each other, look at me. Boom. Done.
3. Only Have Eyes For Each Other:
This one works great if you're dealing with a harsh sun situation, like on this bare rock in the middle of Georgian Bay! We get the beautiful view of the sprawling Canadian Shield, the back details of the wedding dress, and no squinty faces!
4. Smell the hair!
Yes, he is, in fact, smelling her hair. Once the couple is in a chest to chest stance, asking one person to smell the other's hair is an easy way to bring them even closer together. Plus a chance for some laughs. I'm always gunning for those laughs!
5. Sunset Silhouette:
This only works near dawn or dusk, but if all the stars align...wow! I am also crouching way down with my camera to make sure that as much of the subjects' bodies are up in front of the sky. This was an engagement session, but the vibe is the same!
6. Connected at the Hip:
Like an open book, the couple stands connected on one side with their arms around each other. The flowers can be there, a veil blowing in the wind, but the best part is the couple just happy to stand and look at each other. Classic.
7. Pretzel Pose:
When I cue this one up, something deep in our cultural psyche snaps people right into "Prom Pose." Groom standing behind with his hands around the bride's waist with her hands overtop of his. I'm sure you can picture it. I don't know if it's just because that's what we associate with the awkward proms of our collective youths... or if something about it is inherently awkward. But consider this an upcycled version of that pose. Same body positions, but HIGHER arms. The person behind brings his arms up OVER the chest and arms, and she reaches up from under and adds her arms to his "pretzel" hug. Alternatively, popping her hands up to his arms instead is an easy way to feature that bling. Tell him to go in for a snuzzle on her cheek, or whisper something inappropriate into her ears... whatever it takes.
8. Inside the Veil:
If there's a veil and it's long enough, I love these kind of shots. It feels dreamy and romantic, and if there's a sunset as well, well then I can't even. It's too much.
Another active prompt, there's so much to work with. The dress could be flowy and billowy, or it's just a fun moment to try to spin around.
10. The DRAMA (Seated or standing):
This prompt can be serious, with incredible moodiness and drama like in this shot below (there was also a torrential rain storm rolling in across the lake within 5 minutes of this photo, we ran inside just in time!). OR, you can ask your couple to give you their best GQ or Vogue face, and it is so funny to try that you'll get an awesome candid shot instead.
So that's it! A breakdown of some of my favourite prompts to use for wedding portraits. I don't necessarily use every one in every wedding, because every couple and every wedding is different. My goal is to give each couple a variety of photos that represent them, and that also look so beautiful they want to hang the photos on their walls forever. We can actually get a surprising number of portraits done in a pretty small window of time, so couples will still be able to celebrate with all their favourite people.