A ShootDotEdit Guest Post
This week, we’re thrilled to welcome two incredible wedding photographers and ShootDotEdit customers to the blog — Jelger and Tanja of Jelger & Tanja Wedding Photography! Jelger and Tanja have always done an amazing job at posing their wedding clients, so we asked if they could give us some of their favorite tips to not only take the mystery out of wedding photography posing, but also make it loads more fun!
So without further ado…
Jelger & Tanja’s 6 Tips for Posing Your Wedding Couples
When we first started our photography business, our posing was mostly based on copying what we saw online. We just tried to re-enact poses without understanding why or how. And we didn’t consider what it felt like to our clients.
After being in business for a few years we felt that something was lacking. Our clients were fun and relaxed people, but our photos had a certain stiffness to them, so we knew we needed to change things up.
Of course, there are many elements that contribute to a photo, such as your composition, editing style, use of light etc. But what triumphs over all these things is emotion. A technically “imperfect” shot, can still be amazing when it shows genuine emotion. The holy grail of posing is when emotion and that technical perfection collide. Which in our opinion is a skill you can continue to develop for a lifetime.
It all starts with the question: how can we bring genuine emotions into our photos as photographers? It starts with your mindset
1. It Starts with Your Mindset
Before even thinking about our clients and the pose, we should always check in with ourselves first. If you start the shoot being extremely nervous or rushed for time, your clients will pick up on that vibe and start feeling nervous and rushed too.
We know it can be extremely hard to take those perfect wedding portraits when suddenly your shooting time is reduced to 15 minutes instead of the scheduled hour. Or when the location changes from a gorgeous park to a seedy parking lot. It happens to all of us. But no matter what happens, remember that when you assure your clients everything is going to be fantastic and that they’re doing great, they’ll actually feel great about the experience too.
2. Beginning the Shoot: Easy Does It
When we start the actual photo shoot, we always begin with an easy ‘pose’ that’s not too close-up. Most people are not used to having their photo taken, let alone from up close. Give your clients time to get used to the experience, and gradually get closer (physically) if that’s the kind of photo you’d like to take.
The first photos will inevitably feel a bit weird, and that’s totally ok. It’s part of the process. We often start with a very simple “look into the camera photo”. Yes it looks posed, but it’s a solid and safe start that’s easy to execute. And especially for wedding photos, this type of photo is one the (grand)parents will appreciate anyways.
From there on we’ll lead them into the more active and fun poses which we categorize into moving poses and more stationary poses. Both are great to alternate between.
3. Moving Poses for Dynamic & Fun Photos
Moving poses are fantastic because they make your clients move their bodies, which is an excellent way to release tension and look more relaxed in the photos. And by adding some humor or silliness to it, you can make your clients forget they’re in a photo shoot and instead have loads of fun. The last part may require some courage on your side because not all clients are as open to letting go and be silly, but we believe that any person is still a child at heart.
A great example of a moving pose is a walking photo. Of course there’s the standard walk, but you can also switch it up with several different variations:
- Have your clients walk straight towards you, but tell them to bump into each other. Or make it competitive and see if one can push the other of the trail/path/tree trunk/sidewalk.
- Have one partner lead the other (holding a hand works great) and occasionally look back and say something funny. This is a great way to showcase a big landscape with the couple being active in it. This pose works best if your clients are not walking towards you, but perpendicular with your lens.
- The walk and hug, one of our favorite poses! One partner walks or sneaks up on the other and gives them a big hug from behind. They can continue to snuggle for as long as they like. Because of the movement, this always looks different but 99% of couples look adorable while doing this. You can have them do a practice run, or run it a few times to switch up your (com)position.
Other poses with movement might be piggyback riding, dancing, swinging a partner around or anything fun you can come up with. Always keep the personalities of your couple in mind, though. Not every pose works for every couple.
4. Stationary Poses for Intimate & Emotional Photos
In stationary poses, you ask your clients to sit or stand in a given position and create the emotion by giving them an assignment such as thinking of a certain thought or moment. This sounds maybe a bit strange, but what you’re actually doing is creating an amazing experience for your clients. By telling them what to think about, they will genuinely feel the emotions, rather than fake them.
For example, do you want to make them laugh? Let one partner tell the other in their sexiest voice what their favorite pizza ingredients are. You can vary the choice of food (or even type of voice) of course. It’s all about bringing an unexpected and humorous mood.
Do you want to create a more intimate moment, for an emotional photo? Have them remember their first date and what they’ve gone through as a couple.
Often in life we’re very busy and don’t take the time to reminisce with our partner, even just to goof around. Not only are you giving your couple photos, you’re giving them a great experience.
There are SO many of these prompts, but a great place to start is the free Promptography Facebook group. Create your own cheat sheet with prompts and put it on your phone, which can be a lifesaver in those time-crunch photo shoots, or whenever posing inspiration just won’t strike.
5. Keep in Mind What It’s Like to Pose
Something to always keep in mind is how a pose feels (try them out yourself). If you feel awkward because you’d “never put your hand like that”, it’ll probably feel just as awkward for your clients. And awkward often translates into a strange or odd-looking photo.
Also keep in mind that all your clients are different and while some people are very cuddly and romantic, others are not. In some cultures it’s frowned upon to publicly display affection. Whichever the situation, keep an eye on your client’s body language when you give them a pose, or assignment. If you feel concerned, check in with them!
Second, if At any point something doesn’t feel right (or look good), change things up. There’s no need to stick to a recipe or to have “must-have” poses.
6. Have Fun
As we mentioned at the beginning, when you have fun, your clients will have more fun too. If you give them a pose where they end up laughing, but you’re dead serious all the time, it’s not going to keep moving as well as when you start laughing too. Join in the mood with your clients and you’re set!
Thank you so much Jelger and Tanja for writing up such an amazing post for our readers. If you’d like to check out some more of this couple’s fantastic wedding photography, CLICK HERE or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll be glad you did.