10 Tips for Posing Couples on Their Wedding Day

28th January 2016

Being asked to photograph a wedding can be a bit daunting if you’ve never shot one before. Even if you have a firm grasp of everything from lighting to post production, weddings can be tricky as there’s no chance for a do-over and the margin for errors is small.

As the official photographer, one of your most important tasks will be to capture some great couple shots that the bride and groom can cherish for the rest of their lives, so it’s important to be able to put them at ease and help them pose. Here are a few pointers to help you get the shots you need.

1. Plan your locations in advance

If possible, try to scout out a few photo locations in advance. This allows you to think about the background you’ll be working with and plan some poses that will match the environment. Natural lighting tends to be best, so try to find as many outdoor locations as possible, but make sure you have an indoor location planned too in case of bad weather.

2. Provide clear instructions

The bride and groom can’t see what they look like, so it’s up to you as the photographer to help them strike flattering poses. Provide clear instructions like “Put your hand on his shoulder,” or “Stand a little closer together.” If something looks awkward, don’t be afraid to say so, but keep in mind that you’ll get better results by telling them what they should be doing than what they shouldn’t.

3. Give feedback while you work

Even if your subjects are doing exactly what you want them to and you’re getting great shots, don’t stay silent. Give them plenty of positive feedback like “That looks great, keep it up” or “Beautiful! One more time now” so they know that it’s going well and will relax in front of the camera.

4. Aim for clean straight lines

Clean, straight lines make for a stronger photo, so pay attention to the couple’s posture and make sure no one is hunched over. Throughout the photo shoot, keep reminding them to stand up straight with their shoulders back and chin up, as this will also help them look and feel more confident.

5. Try out different heights

Too many side-by-side shots can be a bit boring, so one way to create a more interesting photo is to place the couple at different heights. For instance, the groom could be sitting down while the bride stands behind with her arms around him, or you could use a small ledge or stool to create subtle differences in height.

6. Create some distance

Photos of the bride and groom snuggled up together are undoubtedly romantic, but if you want to get a variety of shots, you should try creating some distance as well. One classic example of this is to have the bride and groom stand a few feet apart while still holding hands and looking at one another.

7. Have some fun with it

Once you’ve gotten some great dramatic and formal couple shots, mix it up a bit and try out a few poses just for fun. Get the bride and groom to jump up in air, pull silly faces, run hand in hand or sit on each other’s laps in order to capture some authentic smiles and laughs.

8. Use a few props

Using props for some of the photos can break the ice and help your subjects relax by giving them something to do with their hands. If the wedding has a clear theme it will be easy enough to find suitable props, but you can work with virtually anything from hats, moustaches or funny glasses to bubbles, balloons or picture frames.

9. Pay attention to the details

Little details, like the position of someone’s feet or what they’re doing with their hands and arms, can change the whole photo, so try to pay attention to every aspect of the pose. Does the groom look indifferent with his hands in his pocket? Should their fingers be intertwined to emphasise their connection? Would the pose look better if their feet were closer together?

10. Avoid capturing full-on make-out sessions

Although newlyweds often want to display their love by kissing, getting too many of these full on shots can make for slightly uncomfortable viewing. Instead, focus on capturing the moments before or after the kiss, when the bride and groom are leaning in close and smiling affectionately at one another. A kiss on the cheek, hand or shoulder can also be very endearing, without being overly revealing.