Running out of poses in the middle of a session is something I’m sure many of us have stressed about. Whether you’re shooting an engagement session or doing a couple session at a wedding, keeping your poses fresh and fun on the spot can be tough to do. So, here are our favorite techniques to help you with posing in a pinch!
Important Note: Our actual, complete posing framework is much more comprehensive and detailed. These are simply high-level overviews of some of our favorites. To understand our full posing framework, check out our Complete Posing Workshop.
Introduction to Wedding Poses
Posing in wedding photography is much more of an art than it is a science, as it requires so much judgement and interpretation. When we first started wedding photography, this was our biggest fear and the most difficult aspect to learn. We had a good handle on lighting and my post production was solid. But posing was a different story.
With the wrong pose, you can make an otherwise attractive couple look awkward, clumsy, and even unattractive. On the other hand, with the right pose and the right angles, you can conceal blemishes and “flaws” and even make your clients look skinnier.
Furthermore, with odd posing, you can make a very affectionate and natural couple seem awkward and distant. With the right pose, you can make even the most stiff and stoic couples seem undeniably fun and in love.
Wedding Poses Tips | 10 Basic Poses
Below, we’ll go over a few basic poses that we teach in the workshop. Keep in mind that these are just 10 wedding poses out of hundreds of poses that you will need to master to become a good wedding photographer.
How can you come up with hundreds of wedding poses? The answer is small posing variation. Slight adjustments in hand placement, feet positioning, head positioning, facial expressions, and posture can change the entire mood and feel of a wedding image. Below are just 10 basic wedding poses to start with.
1. Wedding Pose 1 | The V Up
This is your most classic, basic wedding pose. Be sure to have your couple touching at the hips with hands anywhere but dangling at the bride and groom’s sides.
- Have your couple touching at the hips
- Keep their hands from laying flat by their sides
- Consider having them hold hands
- Consider having the male put his hand in his pocket
- Consider having the female put her hand on her hip
2. Wedding Pose 2 | Opened Up
From the most basic wedding pose, the V Up, you can have your couple simply open up their feet towards the camera and you have the “Opened Up” pose. Below are two examples.
- Open up their feet towards you
- Separate their bodies to face the camera
- Join their hands in the middle
- Consider having them look at each other or at you
3. Wedding Pose 3 | Closed Up
The most common wedding pose is what we call the “Closed Up” pose. We call it this because their bodies are closed off and they are facing each other. From here, you can get intimate poses and candid poses depending on where you have the bride and groom look and depending on their expression.
- Have your couple turn their bodies towards each other
- Make sure there are no gaps between the bodies
- Use this pose for a more intimate feel
- Consider having the couple kiss
4. Wedding Pose 4 | Stacked
The “stacked” wedding pose is great for those romantic photos where it looks like the wedding couple is gazing off into the distance. We use this pose often with grand, scenic landscape wedding photographs.
- Have the groom stand behind the bride
- Keep his arms around her waist or wrapped across her chest
- Have them look off into the distance or towards each other
- Capture both their romantic interactions and location
5. Wedding Pose 5 | The Swing
The Swing pose adds in action into a scene. Use this selectively and be sure to gauge your groom’s ability to hold up the bride’s weight.
- Have your groom lift up your bride
- Have the female lift one or two legs
6. Wedding Pose 6 | The Carry
Like the Swing, the next pose, “the carry,” adds some interesting action and motion to a scene. It’s a bit more traditional than the “swing” and might require a little more strength from the groom. The image on the bottom is still considered a carry because it’s essentially the same pose but just with the groom seated.
7. Wedding Pose 7 | Staggered Couple
“The Staggered Couple” is sometimes overused in today’s wedding photography, but it can add some much-needed variation to your posing. With this pose, you can put the focus on just one of the two.
Position your couple with the bride in the front or vice versa. Switch your camera focus from the bride to the groom to get a more dynamic version of a typical couples portrait.
8. Wedding Pose 8 | Meet in the middle
The “Meet in the Middle” is a cute pose. We also call it the penguin kiss because of the way the couples have to stick out their rear ends. This is great for symmetrical scenes like the ones below.
- Place your couple facing each other
- Leave space between them
- Have them bend at the hips
- Meet in the middle with a kiss
9. Wedding Pose 9 | The Walk
The walk is probably the most common pose. Wedding videographers love this pose and often default to this because of the motion it adds to the scene.
- Get your couple to link arms or hold hands
- Have them walk slowly towards you
- Have them interact with each other (talk, laugh, etc.)
- Focus on capturing candid and natural reactions
- Repeat until you have a perfect expression and focus
10. Wedding Pose 10 | The Dip
The dip is like “The Swing” and “The Carry” in that they are dynamic poses with motion. Again, gauge the couples’ coordination and ability to execute this pose. It’s more difficult than it looks and it can look really odd and awkward if done incorrectly. The most common mistake when doing this wedding pose is the groom not lunging far enough down. We want it to look more like a lunge and less like a squat.
- Position the groom to face the camera
- Have him dip his bride to the side
- Be sure the groom lunges down enough
- Make sure his positioning doesn’t look like a squat
All Images Above are Copyright Lin and Jirsa Photography
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Wedding Poses Conclusion
The poses we mention above are meant to be a starting point for posing. We tried to mention a good mixture of dynamic and static poses. Making them romantic or fun will depend on the expressions you have them do while in these poses. We have left out quite a few poses like sitting poses, lying down poses, and others which we will cover in another article.
Having a good foundation for wedding poses is very important. Unlike engagement session photography where you have 2 to 3 hours to capture all of the photos you need, a wedding day might only have thirty minutes to an hour for a couples session. You might even have situations where the day runs behind and you have to squeeze everything into 10 minutes or less!