Posing Deep Dive with Roberto Valenzuela: Why Body Language Matters

Here at ShootDotEdit, not only do we care about providing our customers with the best in post production photography, we also like to share insights from photographers in the industry. Roberto Valenzuela is a great example of a photographer who is an expert in all things posing and lighting. In addition to his photography career, he is also an author and an educator. One of the greatest aspects of being a teacher is the opportunity to help individuals succeed and continuously improve. It can be so rewarding to watch them grow into their craft, especially when it is an area that you are passionate about too, such as photography.

In our Posing Critique Webinar with Roberto, one of the goals was to help photographers learn posing techniques to enhance and improve their work. Numerous amount of photos were submitted for review, and in this 5-part blog series, Roberto will take a clinical look at some of the images submitted and provide tips and insights on how to improve them. Today is the first installment, and Roberto shares the importance of body language in your images – enjoy!


This week, I want to focus on an image submitted by Southern California Wedding Photographer, Nathan Shute:


Image Highlights


One of the aspects that makes this image stand out is the way the photographer chose to use lighting to his advantage. By using backlight, the couple is outlined in a soft, white glow, which gives a romantic feel to this image. Understanding where your light source is coming from and properly positioning your subjects is so important!

Related: Find inspiration to create the best images possible with legendary photographer, Joe Buissink!


Along with the lighting, the framing is well done in this photo. The tree on the right creates a nice frame that separates the right side of the photo from the left side. If the bride and groom were on the right side of the frame, they would have competed with the bright sky. This would not only be distracting but the couple would be washed out from the harsh light of the sun, as well. The photographer did a great job by positioning the couple on the left side of the frame in front of a tree that helps to highlight them. Because of the depth of field, the tree behind the couple is soft and blurry, drawing your attention to the couple.

Where this photograph really succeeds is in utilizing space and lighting to its advantage. Between the lighting and the framing, this is a beautiful photo that exudes romance. The photographer properly worked with the available light, so that it enhances the overall image. Along with this, the placement of the couple in relation to the trees creates a really beautiful frame for the picture. Lighting and framing only make up part of an image, so let’s take a look at some other necessary components to creating strong images.

Additional Insights

Body Language

Body language is crucial when it comes to posing! By understanding the fundamentals of body language and how a slight movement in a body part can completely change an image, you can create stunning photos.

There are a few aspects of this photo in regards to the body language that can be modified. If you look at the bride’s arms, they mirror one another, meaning that both the left and right arms are in the same position. When this happens, it can cause a pose to look stiff and contrived. In addition to this, the bride is slightly slouching – you always want to compliment the bride’s body, and this can be achieved by telling her to stand up straight and breathe in.

Related: Is your body language pushing potential clients away?

To improve the bride’s pose, a slight adjustment in her arm placement can make a big difference to the overall feel of the image. By placing her left arm around his back so that the palm of her hand touched his shoulder blade, the pose would look more dynamic. Along with this, the bride should tilt her chin slightly upwards. From here, you would want to position the groom so his nose is on the right side of her chin. By creating this physical touch with their faces, it creates a natural interaction (and can help them smile too!).

Looking at the groom, his body follows one straight line. While he is leaning towards his bride, which shows engagement and interaction between them, it also looks as if he is going to fall over onto her. To avoid this and still achieve a pose that shows interaction, start by having the groom place more weight on one leg than the other. This will help to give him angles rather than be in one straight line. From here, have him lean only his head towards the bride, rather than his whole body.


Even though the couple is leaning into one another, there is a static feel to their pose. It looks as if they may have been standing in this position for too long, and they were not naturally moving during it. To fix this, look at the bride and groom’s arms and determine how you can slightly reposition them to add more angles and dimension to the image. Remember, it is your job to create movement that makes you feel something and understand that the bride and groom are having a moment together.

By understanding how body language and movement work together, you can begin to have more control over the look and feel of your images. When you combine great body language with beautiful lighting, your images will be much stronger.

Related: Are you prepared to pose large groups during the wedding day?

Overall, this is a beautiful image, and the photographer did a great job capturing a romantic moment between the bride and groom. As a last thought, remember to take a second look at your subject’s body language before taking the photo – if it looks too forced or contrived, see what small adjustments you can make to add movement and depth into it.


Posing is an important aspect to focus on as a photographer, so be sure to check back for Roberto’s next image critique in our 5-part blog series! For you to learn more about posing and the intricate details, download our guide, Posing for the Wedding Photographer!

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