The Foundations of Posing For Your Wedding
Posing is definitely an art, but understandably it’s an art that a lot of couples are nervous about. Unfortunately, if your photographer isn't directing you correctly or making you feel uncomfortable, you may end up with not as flattering photos as you'd hope for.
So the question is, what do I do if my photographer isn't confident in posing? Well, here are a few things you can do by yourself to make your wedding portraits sing:
The Foundations of Posing
1. Imaginary String
Firstly, you want to ensure that your spine is straight, although not very stiff and unnatural. A great way to nail this is imagining there is a string on the back or top of your head pulling you up. Then with your straight spine and natural curve in your lower back, you're good to go.
Pushing your shoulders even just 1 inch back will bring great confidence and elegance in your pose. Psychology even teaches us that this simple act makes us feel better, so it's a double win.
3. Weight Distribution
Have your weight distributed unevenly is very important, otherwise you'll be left flat footed and looking rather rigid.
So there are two ways to do this easily. Either cross one leg over the other which pushes your weight onto one foot. You can then just give a slight lean forward and you'll feel your hips being pushed away from the camera, giving you a slimming effect.
The second method is to simply rock the hips and put more weight on the back leg - remember, you want to push your body and hips away from the camera, as whatever is closest to the lens will look the biggest.
But How Do I Pose My Arms and Hands?
When posing arms and hands, it's my job to 'build' a pose for my brides and grooms, not to just memorise poses. By building a pose you can create something natural and comfortable for the couple, not forcing something on them that makes them feel awkward.
Here are a few pointers you can do just incase your photographer isn't guiding you enough:
4. Holding Something
Having hands with nothing to do can feel strange, so when you hold something, you're naturally giving them a job. Take a look at the example below. I gave the bride her bouquet in the first one, asking her to put her elbows just at 90 degrees to give her an elegant posture, it's simple and a very traditional pose which all brides love to capture.
Now you don't want to be carrying your bouquet with you all the time, especially if you want to show off your dress and jewelry in a candid way. For the below examples, I asked the brides to play with their earrings and dresses, again making sure to bring shoulders back and distributing your weight unevenly.
PRO TIP: When playing with earrings, put both wrists together first and make a cup shape (see example below) - this makes your wrists and arms appear thinner as your showing a much smaller area of your arms 🙂
5. Showing Connection
There's nothing worse than have a photo that lacks connection or emotion. Your wedding photos want to retell your LOVE story, not just to prove that you attended your own wedding.
To show connection, how you naturally interact with each other typically works best than anything formally posed. Examples of this could be; hands around the waist; around the shoulders; around the elbows and holding hands looking at each other (both walking together and facing each other). Check out the below examples for some ideas of how this would look:
6. Posing Eyes
So where's best to look?
Where you look can dramatically change the feeling of a portrait. There are three ways I find to be the best through my experience.
Looking directly at the camera, sometimes considered a sin in the photography world, but actually, you can create some beautiful portraits despite the formal approach.
Looking away from the camera slightly, ensuring you are facing the good light and that your eyes are not too far across (otherwise you'll only see the whites of the eyes which can look peculiar).
Looking straight down with eyes shut yet relaxed (to avoid the squinting...). I like this one as well as it creates the sense that you were really being mindful in this moment and taking in the experience. I find it works really well with getting-ready shots as that's when you'll be experiencing the nerves before your big day.
I hope you enjoyed these posing tips on how to look your best in wedding portraits. Now there are many other small tips that I use when guiding my couples, but honestly, what you have learned here will give you a great foundation for incredible portraits.
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