Knowing how to pose for wedding photos will help couples look picture-perfect in every shot, but the concept of posing may sound nerve-wracking. Brides and grooms already have enough to think about on their wedding day—now we’re adding posing to the mix? Check out our range of wedding photography for your wedding day.
Tips for Good Wedding Photos
So much of your wedding day is fleeting—the cake will get eaten, the flowers will be donated, and the band will have to stop playing eventually—but your wedding photos will be yours to keep forever. You owe it to yourself (and any future generations) to do everything you can to make them look beautiful and feel authentic. Plus, you’ll likely spend a solid chunk of your wedding budget on a photographer, so make the expense worth your while. Here’s how to take good wedding photos, from finding the right pro to posing in front of a camera.
Start Searching Early for a Pro
About a year before your wedding date, start your search with the low-hanging fruit: Ask recently married couples you know for photographer recommendations and browse Instagram, photographer portfolios and real weddings for pros whose styles inspire you. Look at a few highlight galleries of weddings from each photographer to get a sense of their quality and aesthetic. But don’t forget these are their best clips out of multiple—sometimes hundreds—of wedding photos, so once you find someone you like, ask to see an entire wedding or two. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
As you review photos, consider key moments you want to capture at your wedding: Did this shooter get great shots, like candid dance floor snaps and posed family portraits, you’d also like? Look for thoughtful compositions and see if images and people are in focus (unless they’re meant to be stylistically grainy). Make sure people look relaxed and not spooked by the camera.
Set Up a Meeting
You can’t always correctly vet a photographer by looking solely at their work. Once you have a shortlist of pros whose work you like—and you’ve determined they’re in your price range and free on your date—set up an in-person or video-chat meeting. You should feel comfortable with this person—they’ll be shadowing your every move on your wedding day and interacting with all of your guests. Plus, you’ll likely hire them to take engagement photos too.
Ask what’s included in the standard package, plus any additional fees (think: overtime fees). In particular, find out how many hours of shooting are included. Most packages include about eight hours and cover everything from getting ready to the end of the reception. It’s usually better to pay for more coverage if there’s a chance you’ll run over, especially if you’re planning a big final exit (overtime is usually charged at a higher rate).
Confirm Your Shooter(s)
Larger studios may have more than one photographer on staff, and depending on your contract, the lead one may not be the one shooting your day. Since every pro has a different style, technique and personality, you need to make sure the photographer you interview and click with will be the same person who works your wedding. Also, many top-notch pros include a second shooter in their packages. That way, one can take the formal photos while the other is capturing the cocktail hour. You’ll also get to see two unique angles of crucial moments, like your first kiss as a married couple or cake cutting.
Online reviews are great, and reading real couples’ thoughts should be a big part of your research, but once you’re ready to hire someone, ask to speak to a previous client or two. Ask the couple whether the pro got the shots they wanted and if they were happy with the service, plus any other specific questions you have.
Sign a Contract
Once you’ve chosen your photographer, sign a contract that includes everything, from the date of the wedding and the hours they’ll cover to postproduction work and timing expectation.
Schedule an Engagement Shoot
Once you hire a photographer, a pre-wedding photoshoot is never a bad idea. It’s an excellent opportunity to get comfortable with your photographer and being in front of a lens. You’ll get a gorgeous save-the-date and wedding website photo out of it too. And you’ll be able to give your pro feedback on what photos, poses and cues you liked (and didn’t) before your wedding day.
Start Practicing Your Poses
Now that you have your first photoshoot scheduled, it’s time to start practising your poses! If you’re wondering how to get the best wedding photos, you’ll want to ensure the photographer gets your best angles. Work on your posture and make sure you know the insider secrets to look your best in photos.
When it comes to tips for good wedding photos, experts suggest turning your torso toward the photographer at a 45-degree angle and holding your neck up to avoid the appearance of double chins. And don’t forget about your hands! Put your hand on your hips, hold your partner’s hand or grab a bouquet.
When in doubt, practise your poses in front of the mirror or ask a friend to take practice photos of you together, so you are comfortable for when it comes to the actual session. We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
Make a (Reasonable) Shot List
Don’t spend time trying to get every last combo of grandparents, siblings and cousins. Stick to the most important shots, ask honour attendants or another member of the wedding party to help orchestrate them on the day of. Include whether you want photos in black and white or colour, and don’t forget to mention any particular décor details you want to be captured (a flat-lay of your invitation suite, close-up ring shots or the stunning centrepieces your florist worked so hard on). While you’re sending these notes, attach a few photos of yourself you think you look terrific in so your photographer understands how you want to look on your wedding day. Finally, include any side notes about the actual day, like your grandma has a bad hip and can’t stand too long.
After creating your shot list, speak with your photographers about where you would like to take pictures at your wedding site. One of the best wedding photography tips involves taking advantage of the lighting. Your photographers should know how to use natural lighting to your advantage, so keep this in mind when choosing indoor and outdoor locations. For example, look for shady spots when taking photos outside and finding indoor areas with windows.
Don’t Forget Touch-Up Supplies.
Half of understanding how to take wedding photos is ensuring that you look you’re very best. You’ll likely get your hair and makeup done for you, but with all the running around, you may need some touch-ups throughout the day. Pack a kit with Q-tips, blotting paper, bobby pins, waterproof mascara and lipstick. Whether it’s a loose strand of hair or smeared under eye makeup, your kit will ensure you’re camera ready at all times.
Be Realistic With Your Schedule
On your wedding day, everything will take longer than you think, from getting your hair done to getting dressed. And mishaps happen—like misplaced boutonnieres or bad traffic—so set a strict day-of timeline that leaves extra time to deal with snafus without cutting into your photography session.
Take First-Look Photos
If you don’t want to miss a minute of your cocktail hour, schedule your couple, wedding party and family portrait photos for before the ceremony. Besides being adorable and emotional, first look photos are a great way to calm your nerves and have a quiet moment with your partner before you say “I do” in front of a crowd.
Pick Your Head Up
Photographers like to warn couples against keeping their heads down while walking down the aisle. You might be nervous, but keep your head up, even if smiling isn’t going to happen. A thoughtful or content look is way better than only the top of your heads!
Relax and Enjoy Your Day
Try not to sweat the small stuff, like relocation of your portrait shoot because of rain or a flower girl meltdown during family shots. And allow your photographer to keep you on schedule, to frame the photos and to know what will look best—remember, that’s why you hired them. If you’re always looking for the camera, it won’t capture you sharing a look with your new spouse or laughing with your friends. Your photographer should be the one worrying about capturing those moments—not you. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
A photographer’s guide for beautiful wedding photos
While all of the elements that make up a good portrait still apply—namely good lighting and composition—helping your couple nail the right poses can give wedding photos that special touch.
Aside from being visually captivating, the couple’s poses should communicate what the couple is feeling in a given moment and reflect their relationship.
Start with good posture.
Any pose, no matter how brilliant in theory, crumbles without a solid foundation.
Asking your subjects to purposely mind their posture makes them look taller and effectively highlights their body’s most flattering curves and angles.
One posture-related tip is to ask your subjects to take a breath and hold it in before you take the photo. This allows their shoulders and backs to align in a taller, straighter position when you capture the shot. Always keep postures in mind when shooting everything from solo portraits to couple shots and even group photos.
Emphasise confidence in your subject by asking them to establish a strong and dignified pose. Empowering them to feel confident in their posture will, in turn, project a sense of self-assurance through your photos.
For example, to show off a flowing train or veil, you may ask your subject to turn their gaze and body purposefully away from the camera. This position exudes a sense of quiet confidence while emphasising the shape of their figure and their own.
Posing is about allowing your subjects to be captured in a way that is most comfortable for them. If you get the sense that your subject feels insecure about what you are asking them to do, try to develop a creative way to work around it. For instance, ask one partner to wrap their arms around the other, or ask them to enjoy the moment with one another instead of consciously posing.
Communicate with hands
It might be surprising, but the way that hands in a wedding photo are positioned can often tell a story all on their own.
Whether lifting a veil or holding up a hand to kiss, the position of hands subliminally communicates multitudes about the emotions between a couple in a photo. Relaxed arms and wrists, for instance, signal comfort and ease, while a tighter grasp can communicate resolve. When standing, remember to have your subjects bend their arms gently to leave small gaps that emphasise their bodies’ angles.
Give the couple’s hands something to do to make photos feel more natural. For instance, they can hold their bouquet in a loose, easy-grip or pick up their dress to show movement. You can also ask them to button up their partner’s jacket or gently pull their spouse close to them. Show the palms or backside of the hands to exude strength, and ask them to curl their fingers slightly for a softer look.
Fingers can also be used to frame the couple’s faces and show off their wedding rings. Pay attention to their grip at all times so that they always appear elegant rather than strained.
Few gestures signal closeness and familiarity better than a hand over a loved one’s. Make sure to capture a few shots of the couple’s fingers interlocked in a relaxed and natural manner.
Position the face
The position of the face—especially when shooting portraits or close-ups—definitely has a visual impact.
Taking a photo from above your subjects’ eye level will make their faces appear slimmer, which is why it’s such a universally flattering go-to. The shadows this angle produces gives your photo a sense of drama.
Taking photos from below their eye level has its advantages too. Tilting your subject’s face upwards, for instance, while you shoot from a lower angle, allows your subjects to appear more powerful and assertive, and signals a firm sense of connection.
Draw attention to the eyes
The eyes can reveal a whole range of emotions, which is why they help create a sense of connection through wedding photos.
Aside from the usual way of asking your subject to stare directly into the camera, you can spark a sense of connection by asking your couple to stare into each other’s eyes instead.
While asking them to kiss might be a romantic moment in person, when their faces are crushed together with no space in between, it can be challenging to appreciate on-camera, when shooting a kiss, time your shots to capture enough distance between their noses just before they meet in the middle, which will zone in on the emotions communicated in their eyes.
Highlight genuine moments
It can be easy getting caught up trying to capture the perfect pose, but try to keep your eyes open for the gems that can’t be staged.
There’s value in capturing quieter and poignant moments shared between the highlights of the day—those genuine moments when your couple only has eyes for each other. Frequently, these are the shots where the real magic occurs.
Take the time to be with your couple as they enjoy their day, and wait patiently for honest, spontaneous moments to take place.
When a serious attempt to emulate a pose gives way to tenderness or barely-contained laughter, be present in the moment and ready to capture it on-camera.
Capture group dynamics
When organising group shots, a common strategy is to find the people who are anchoring the group together (usually the couple) and construct the photograph around them.
Ideally, you’ll want to compose a shot around a non-distracting background and make sure that everyone in the photo has the chance to shine and be seen equally.
Keep in mind that the most memorable group shots often highlight the relationships between the photo subjects involved. This means capturing group interactions that express their genuine connections with one another—anything from being in the midst of conversation to joking around and simply having fun. At Wild Romantic, we have the best wedding photographer in Mornington Peninsula to capture every single moment on your wedding day.
Clear, effective communication is vital when it comes to wedding poses. How instructions are delivered can both uplift or frustrate your couple, so it’s essential to combine actionable directions with words of affirmation.
For optimal results, simplify a pose into manageable steps. As opposed to issuing generic commands like ‘turn right,’ try striking a pose and asking your subjects to mimic your movements. When asking them to angle their face a certain way, refer to clear, directional references, such as a specific person in their line of sight.
Not only do these instructions point them in the right direction, but they also simultaneously help your subjects loosen up, feel in sync with you as a photographer, and get comfortable in their skin.
Always let them know how great they look and how well they are doing. Once you have that positive energy flowing between you and your subjects, it becomes easier to capture that natural chemistry on camera.
Maximise your shots
The truth is, time is in short supply once shooting starts, which is why it’s advisable to start with more accessible poses before moving on to trickier, out-of-the-box maneuvers.
Once you start shooting, make a habit of constantly changing perspectives or switching orientations from vertical to horizontal to get the most out of a single pose. You can also switch from static to dynamic shots to get the most out of your couple’s time.
Photographing weddings can be a tricky balancing act even for master photographers, but starting with a good understanding of poses will help you tell moving visual stories that will undoubtedly touch hearts for years and years to come.
If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.