Hi all! After a couple of months of hard work to launch my new exciting project, my new Photography Mentoring website is now live (check it out on www.photography-mentoring.com). And today I am back to show you how I achieve natural poses for my wedding couples.
Posing is a topic that some couples feel uncomfortable about. I don´t blame them, I don´t love having my photos taken either.
But I know with a great photographer I can look my best.
The photographer can make you look awesome or worse than you actually do…ha,ha! We are the key to enhancing the bride and groom´s look and attitude.
It´s in fact a mix of proper lighting, use of camera gear, posing and interaction with the photographer that makes a great photo.
Today I will focus on posing as it is something some couples feel a little nervous about. As you know my style is artistic, soft, natural and romantic.
The key to getting good images is (after the photographer) the light.
I don´t like shooting in harsh sunlight or in the middle of the day if I can avoid it. Over the years I have learned the tricks to dealing with strong sun light but I still prefer to avoid it. It also makes the bride tired because of the heat and can ruin a great make up. During the bride´s preparations it is important to work in a bright room that is tidy. The better the room, the nicer the shots will be, obviously. I sometimes ask the bride to get ready next to a window so that I can get the best possible shots of her getting ready, or even change the room altogether if necessary.
Once the bride is ready I start the portrait session with the bride playing with her accessories. I like it when bride and groom are doing something, so I constantly ask them to fix or pretend to be putting something on. Here are a few examples with the bride putting on her perfume, earrings, ring, fixing her bow, her train, etc.
The same goes for grooms, I also ask them to pretend to be doing (sometimes they don´t pretend, they are actually doing it) their ties, bow ties, jacket, vest, and I also like to incorporate the bestman at this point. Here are a few examples:
After those finishing touches, I love to photograph the details of the bride´s dress, play with her veil and take some close ups. I always give the bride clear directions on how to stand, lean or sit down. I make sure the neck is stretched (no double chins please) and I correct the bride´s posture if necessary. I avoid pinches of skin coming out, frowns, weird hands, arms too pushed against the body, too much cleavage and I make sure the hip is always pushed away from the camera.
Brides are sometimes worried about skin flaws but if you work with good light you will not be able to see any of them. Skin tone to me is really important.
I like luminous skin, so I overexpose the skin a little bit to make it bright.
Good make up is of course essential for a bride, so I recommend you to get the best you can afford.
Once I have given the bride or groom directions, I then allow for her/his natural movements and reactions.
Movement is also important for me. It makes photos look more natural.
I like to take different angles so here again I will ask bride and groom to hold it for me. It´s important to capture the bride and groom´s personality. If the bride is giggly then I will make lots of giggling shots. And if the groom is shy then I will take more serious shots. I try to avoid too many shots looking straight at the camera (I do a few ones but not all the time) because in my opinion they look more posed.
I love movement in the bride´s dress and hair, so I might ask the bride to walk up and down, swirl, swing the hips and so on. It is important for the bride to watch keep shoulders back and relax. I usually tell the bride if I need to tweak the posture, bend a knee or elbow, turn or tilt the face, etc. Here are a few examples:
Same goes for grooms, after a few preparation shots I take a couple of nice portraits on his own and with groomsmen. I like men shots to look natural so I just photograph him standing at different angles, then sitting down or leaning against a wall.
I also love action shots with bride and groom together. I don´t mean action as in “jumping off a plane” but in capturing the movement of the dress, hair, veil. To achieve this I always ask bride and groom to walk hand in hand (or with arms around waist) up and down, so I get to photograph them from the front and then from the back. These walking shots are usually some of my favs as the couple can share a laugh together.
I LOVE capturing the couple giggling and having fun.
I don´t really do jumping shots, unless the couple is really up for it.
Photographing romantic or intimate moments are also important to me.
Romantic shots are really my signature shots and I love them. I try to take them with excellent warm, soft afternoon light.
If the light is too harsh, then an outdoor shade will do the trick too. I tell the couple they are allowed to laugh, cry, and express their emotions freely. It actually helps a lot if the couple are relaxed and enjoying the session. I tell bride and groom to stand close together closing the gaps, holding hands or with hands around each other.
I don´t force anyone into kissing, I think that is something that needs to come natural, but as I ask the couple to stand close to each other with faces touching, or embracing, it often happens on its own. Taking close ups of the couple on an intimate moment is one of my favourite parts of the session. Having the faces touching and hands around neck or touching each other faces is something I do often.
The trick is for bride and groom to go with the flow, have fun, be affectionate, show emotions…
It does help a great deal if the groom is proactive in making the bride laugh, being touchy and affectionate and prompting the bride to take an action, move, walk, hold hands, or whatever he feel like it´s coming from the heart. I can always direct the couple to make a pose but it always looks more natural if it comes naturally or if they are having a truly genuine moment.
I always say that a pose is only a pose if there is no emotion in it.
This is my step-by-step process of how I “pose” my couples (remember it has to feel and look natural):
1- I pick a nice location with great light
2-I tell bride and groom where to stand and what to do (hold each other, look away, walk towards me…etc)
3-I take a test shot to set exposure
4-I interact with couple until I get a reaction or emotion
5- Boom! I shoot
Finally, I need around 45 mins for the couple´s session. It is necessary to allocate a relaxed time to take these beautiful portraits that will probably end up on your frames or album. Guests will be having drinks at the cocktail so they will not mind!