I can’t count how many times when asking a Bride and Groom how they’re doing towards the end of their special day and they respond:
“Great! But my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!”
Yet, apart from celebrating the happy couple, the photos are undoubtedly some of the most important, highly anticipated and thoughtfully planned parts of the day. They are treasured memories that will be looked upon by generations present and to come, reminding you of the special day you made one of the best, and most significant decisions of your life. They capture the details of the day; from the vows and the groom’s first look to the cake-smashing-in-the-face, dancing-til-your-feet-ache moments and speeches. Ideally, your photos will capture these moments with raw, uncut authenticity.
Unless you’re a professional model, you are probably not familiar with being photographed for hours all in one day. When it comes to the posed photos these are especially likely to be the ones that you frame and hang in the new home for families and friends to admire. As your photographer, I am aware of the quality of light, exposure, and composition but for posing there are a few tips worth knowing to ensure you look exactly how you expect to:
For the Bride: by this point, you’ve done most of the formal part of the wedding. The party’s coming, the food’s about to arrive, and all the wedding guests that you personally hand-picked to be at the reception are gearing up to celebrate you both. You can relax, take a deep breath, take a moment of gratitude and enjoy your surroundings. Gaze at your partner, tell them how happy you are and engage in natural communication. The best way to avoid awkward, stiff family photos is by actually being relaxed. If you’re stressed about whether everything’s going to plan your posture will become uptight; hand the responsibilities over to your bridesmaids and groomsmen and enjoy these precious moments.
2. Keep it natural
Once you’ve relaxed your body, relax your face. It takes hundreds of muscles to smile on your face, so instead of forcing a large, wide smile that causes your skin to look swollen, smile naturally. Relax the face muscles, think of things that make you smile and avoid saying any words like ‘cheese!’
Top tip: press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This elongates the neck and removes any shadow that appears from a double chin. Be sure to practice this ahead of the day though, so that it stays natural!
3. Love your legs
For the Bride: Avoid stiffening the lower part of your body. Posing begins with the feet and runs through the legs. Though your legs are unlikely to be on display under the beautiful, long white gown, bend one knee slightly to ‘texturize’ your pose and avoid looking stiff. With one knee bent, shift your weight towards the back leg and away from the camera, giving the hourglass silhouette effect.
For the Groom: Lifting your back leg shifts weight forward to create a sense of ‘strength’ and presence. You may also lean your torso and upper body forward.
4. All about the angles
Angling towards your partner not only captures genuine interaction but, for the more formally posed photos, puts body depth into perspective which tends to be more flattering. At the same time, stand up straight as this both lifts your energy and will make you look happier and healthier!
For oval and round-shaped faces, tilt your chin down slightly, being careful to avoid the double chin. For large foreheads, lift your chin up. For all face shapes, push your face forward. The closest body part in the shot will look the biggest, so angling your face forward will keep your body in proportion.
For the Bride: tilt your head up, towards his shoulder, creating a natural elegance in the neck and head outline.
For the Groom: do the opposite! Slightly tilt your head down to achieve a more masculine effect.
5. What do I do with my hands?
For the Bride: There is more than one answer. You can choose to wherever to place your hands, though popular suggestions would be: holding the side of your dress, draped by your side (though not hanging straight down), holding your veil and draped across your body/chest/shoulder area showing off your new bling.
For the Groom: Head tilted down, adjusting the cufflinks on your shirt or sleeve length is a great, natural pose for the Groom. You can also keep the hands occupied by holding your collar or buttoning your suit.
For both, pose with intention. This is the one area of achieving the ‘natural pose’ that the hands really must be in action and purposeful in order not to look awkward.
A closing note: remember, I am there doing my best to capture your very best. If a pose looks a little awkward, allow me to suggest and adjust to complement your best on-screen. Most importantly, treasure these moments, relax, and enjoy the day!
Fine Art Film Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer serving California and Worldwide