As the wedding day approaches, it is time to prepare by charging your gear, formatting memory cards, and scouting the wedding location. Another essential item to work on before the day is posing for the wedding portraits. In the past, we’ve talked about posing the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family formals. Today, we are focusing on how to master wedding couple poses for the bride and groom pictures to ensure you master every shot.
Bride and Groom Pictures
Here at ShootDotEdit, we provide professional photo editing services for photographers. We also connect with industry leading wedding photographers to bring you insights and expertise on topics that matter most to your business and photography. We hosted a Posing Critique with posing expert Roberto Valenzuela. Throughout the posing critique, Roberto shared:
- The do’s and don’ts of posing
- Simple solutions for tough posing situations
- Ways to create natural interaction with the bride and groom
- The best angles for posing and shooting
Here are the top 5 tips from Roberto help you with your bride and groom poses to create unforgettable images.
About Roberto Valenzuela
Roberto Valenzuela is a wedding and fine art photographer based in Beverly Hills, CA. He is a 70-time International award-winning photographer. With a keen eye for what a strong image is composed of, he has served as a judge in several image critiques and competitions, including ones held at WPPI, PPA, and European photography competitions.
1. Critique the Small Details
One major point Roberto made during the critique was how important it is to constantly check for any small details that may offset the wedding photo. When you take the time to examine your frame, you can correct any mistakes or remove distractions on the front end.
This includes everything from the bride’s hand placement to her posture. As a simple trick, right before you photograph the bride, have her breathe in. This action will naturally tighten up her wait and straighten her posture, making for a more flattering figure.
This tip works for both the bride and groom poses and posing for group shots. Make sure that no one is slouching, everyone is looking at the camera, and they are all close together with their hands and arms touching. These small details are ones that, once corrected, will take your wedding photos to the next level.
2. Focus on Proper Angles for Arms
Continuously look at the angles and shapes that are made with each pose. Harsh straight lines can be distracting to the main focus of the image. The more diagonal lines you have, the better. When it comes to arms, as a rule of thumb, avoid having straight arms in your images. You want the arms to look natural, so help the couple find a comfortable position that allows them to relax and enjoy the shoot.
Always question what the arms are doing and what they add to each image. If they are distracting, find a way to reposition them so they enhance each image, not bring emphasis to this body part. For example, you can have the bend her arms to hold her bouquet, or she can bend them to pick up her dress.
“You have to give the arms an excuse to be where they are. Body language is so important.” – Roberto Valenzuela
In addition to the arms, be sure to pay attention to the shoulders and how you position them. If the bride or groom’s shoulders are too high, they may block their faces or take away from the balance in the image.
The wedding day can be long and tiring for the bride and groom, which can take a toll on their bodies. When they are tired of standing, it could affect their poses and expressions in the images. Whenever possible, give them a break from standing. You can snap a few photos of them in a sitting position together. Sitting will help their energy levels and emotions when it is time to pose them standing up again.
Another way to help is to set their legs in a way that is most comfortable for them. Have them shift weight whenever possible and be sure to have them constantly move to new bride and groom poses to keep from standing too long in one place.
3. Create Interaction Between Your Couples
On the wedding day, you have many opportunities to capture unforgettable bride and groom pictures that help represent the emotion of the day. When it comes to posing them, remember you are the pro. Your couple looks to you to make them look their best.
Be the expert and show your couples how to pose. Pose them in ways that create natural interaction between them. You can have your couple interlock hands, place her head on his shoulder, or have him wrap his arms around her.
Sometimes, your couple may be a little nervous in front of the camera. This can result in stiff photos (similar to what often happens in the shoot before the big day). In every photo, the bride and groom need to have the same energy when posing together. To help achieve this, tell them exactly where to place their hands, where to look, and then break the pose and have them do it again in motion. This will make the pose look more natural and give the image a sense of movement.
We mention this a lot when talking about the bridal portraits and how to best pose her, and it is important for couple posing too. When the couple interacts, be sure to pay attention to their hands and fingers. Give them direction on posing their hands and fingers so they look natural in the images. This is a small detail you can look for in every photo, but especially happens when you pose them in embraces, hand holding, or placing their hands on another. It is a detail that makes a big difference in your images when done correctly.
4. Pay Attention to Expressions
During a session, you have all encountered this at one point or another – someone who is not into wanting their photo taken. It may not be that they are unhappy to be there (it is their wedding, after all), but they may just be uncomfortable in front of the camera. When it comes to wedding day poses for the couple, capturing the right expressions is just as important as the pose itself. You can have the best pose, but if the expressions are not there, the image is not going to be as strong.
Remember, the couple booked you because they trust you and love the images you create. It is your job as their wedding photographer to create a comfortable environment for them to get that spark that makes a pose come alive. Create energy that is infectious and will give the bride and groom reasons to smile and laugh through the shoot. The more comfortable they feel, the better poses and expressions they will give you.
“Spend more time working on posing, expressions, and creating and energy between the couple and you. They need to feel the energy that makes them react. Remember, reaction is part of the pose.” – Roberto Valenzuela
Get the bride and groom talking during the shoot to help ease their anxiety about the camera. Ask them how they met and snap away as they tell the story, while their eyes light up and their smiles widen. You can even tell a few jokes to get them laughing. Anything you can do to create genuine expressions will make for unforgettable bride and groom pictures. This should be easy if you spent the time before the wedding day getting to know them, what they like, and how they respond to you and the camera.
5. Examine the Background
When it comes to proper wedding photography posing, there are several elements to consider each time that help you create a successful image. As you are directing your subject to achieve a certain pose, it is your job as a photographer to constantly look at the rest of the scene to see how it interacts with the pose.
If you want the focus to be on the bride’s face, take a look at all of the other elements in the image. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you examine the background after you set the pose:
- Do all of the lines direct you to the bride and groom’s eyes?
- Are there other body parts in the foreground or background that compete for attention and divert the viewer’s gaze away from the main focus of the photo?
- What color is the background and will it take the emphasis away from the bride and groom’s faces?
Other items to examine in the background are things that are a part of the scene, but stand out in unflattering ways in the photo. For example, did you position the bride and groom in front of a tree, and does it look like a tree branch is coming out of their heads? Is there a fire hydrant or electrical box in the background that is outside the theme of the wedding that would lessen the quality of the image?
As you start to identify things that cause distractions in your photos, you can pose the bride and groom for their pictures with confidence in your poses.
Something else you can do to prepare, and avoid unflattering backgrounds, is to get to know your location. This is a part of the scouting you can do before the wedding day. If you know the wedding venue and its surrounding area, plus the obstacles you may face, you can make posing decisions that will best suit the bride and groom. Plus, you will know what you are up against so you do not have to spend time formulating a plan if things go wrong.
BONUS: Must-Have Poses
There are several wedding poses you can try for the couple portraits. We put together a quick list below of the must-have wedding poses for brides and grooms. These poses are ones you can use with every couple and are ideal for when you have limited time to pose or are not sure exactly which pose to use next. You may have a few go-to poses you use at every wedding, but there might be one here you haven’t added yet:
- Face to face
- Bride grabbing the groom’s tie
- Quick dip and kiss
- Forehead kiss
- Bride behind the groom
- Whisper in the ear
- Groom carrying the bride
- Back to back (a great pose for a first look)
- Bride chasing the groom
- Embracing one another
- Seated in the getaway car
- Traditional pose
- Bride hugs groom from behind
- Lean in and kiss
- Side by side
- Hand holding while walking
- Side by side with one partner reversed
- Groom chasing the bride
- Forehead rest
- Lean in before kiss
- Groom lifts the bride
- Pose behind the bouquet
- Kiss under the veil
- Groom behind the bride
The most important thing to remember is that posing should be fun for your couples. Always create poses that allow them to look as natural as possible. This is the most important moment of their lives. When you understand the important aspects of posing, you will create beautiful bride and groom pictures for every wedding.