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The Ultimate Wedding Posing Guide

Why Close to 40% of Brides Have REGRETS

I've heard so many times from my family clients, "I wish I had you shoot our wedding photos. I was really disappointed with our photography." While this is a total compliment to me, I feel terrible that they hate their wedding photos. That is one of the most special days of your life and you pay a professional to capture it and if they don't do a good job, you can never duplicate or replicate or relive those moments again. How Sad.

When I ask them what they don't like about them, the most common things I hear are...

"The lighting was so gross and spotty, like unflattering."

"Our poses were so fake and forced looking.  We just looked awkward."

" I hated the angles, just not very flattering."

One client even told me that they had virtually NO Bride and Groom "Portraits" Like none. Whaaatt???

What a disappointment. To have that one day in your life in the most beautiful dress, but to not be happy with the way you are posed in the portraits.  Sadly, a lot of photographers don’t understand that it’s not just about the the beautiful compositions, backdrops, and even moments. Though those are all important, it is an absolute necessity to be a master in the art of posing and lighting to ensure the bride and the groom look absolutely dazzling on the best day of their life.

I take pride in my work, and after seeing almost half of brides out their being extremely unhappy with the results they were getting from other so called professional photographers, I couldn’t help but be extremely proud of what every single one of my couples have said about me. Like Jacqueline & Monica who said, “Obsessed with every single one! Can't thank you enough for  capturing our day so perfectly. I'm in tears!!! You are so freaking talented. Thank you for some pretty unbelievable photo moments."

      I’m Sarah.  Traveling Family and Wedding Photographer (Local in Arizona) 

And  I'm going to share with you as much value in my expertise in posing wedding couples so you can ensure you look your best and have no regrets for your special day.

How to Look Your Best In Your Wedding Portraits Posing is an ART. But understandably it's an art that a lot of couples are nervous about, and SADLY that a lot of so-called "professional" photographers actually don't know how to direct correctly. Since I spent the majority of my 20's modeling myself, I have years of experience working with so many talented photographers from in front of the lens. I learned so much about posing and making myself look my best. Now being on the other side of the camera I know exactly how to direct clients to look their best. So if you happen to have a photographer who doesn't know how to pose you with expertise and intention, what are a few things you should remember? Here are a few pointers. I call these THE FOUNDATION of posing:

1. Imaginary String: First off you want to ensure that your spine is straight, but NOT stiff and unnatural. I often ask my couples to act as if there is a string on the back/top of their head pull up. Have a straight spine and natural curve in you lumbar (lower back).

2. Shoulders: Push your shoulders 1 inch back. This will further bring confidence and beauty in your pose.

3. Weight Distribution: You want your weight distribution to be uneven or else your pose will look unnatural. There are two ways to do this. Either cross one leg over the other or put more weight on your back leg. Look at the photo below. Each of these techniques were used on this photo of Nikki.

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How to NOT Have CHEESY and FAKE Wedding Portraits

Even though wedding portraits are posed... no one wants portraits that LOOK posed. The more candid and authentic your portraits look the BETTER.

Now there are tons of ways to ensure this... but just in case you  have a photographer who doesn't know what he or she is doing, here' are some of the MAIN tips you can do to spice up what I call it the Standard Portrait.

First things couples always do is the side hug, standing there smiling at the camera.  Ya.. that's great, but it's not authentic, it doesn't show emotion or connection. I usually just let them do that pose for a few clicks just to get it out of their system, get the awkwardness out of the way... now we can move on to get the good stuff. And don't get me wrong, that is a good shot to have but it just doesn't have a "awe...factor."

Posed vs Authentic

The "Awe...Factor!!"

So how do you get this "Awe Factor"?

1. Don't both smile at the camera (unless doing the standard portraits obviously)

2. Look away, down, at a different part of the body other then the eyes.

3. Make sure your noses don't make a straight line pointing at each other. If they had a line coming straight out of your nose, the lines should cross and make an "X" at some point. 

4. Smell each other... I know it sounds so silly, but think about it. What do you look like when you smell something? Your eyes are closed, you are taking a deep breath in, hopefully they smell good and it makes you relaxed looking and really.... really into the other person. 

5. Whispers and Giggles. If you whisper something, anything... it makes you giggle. What you had for breakfast... my feet are killing me... I need to go peee....You look so sexy....I mean anything you whisper, gets giggles.

6. Then there is the action shots. Not standing and posing but creating movement and moments. Walking,  Dancing, carrying, twirling. I love capturing the movement of the dress, hair flying around if its down, etc.

7. Fake laughs always turn into real laughs. Truth. I tell my clients. "look at eachother and laugh." At first it looks like the fake cheesy laugh. But then, that's funny right? So then you just authentically laugh at each other fake laughing. You can't help it.

Bride Portraits

I have a few "Go To" Poses that if there is a complete lack of inspiration (which should never happen) these poses will save the Bride Portrait Session from being dull and boring. Hopefully there is always something around that inspires you and your wedding photographer to come up with fun and unique poses around the venue because I mean... that is our job. But if not... you can always fall back on these.

1. Holding the bouquet. You can hold it right in front of your belly button, down to side. Try not to do the one hand holding it off to the side like its heavy thing.

2. The Dress Drop- This may require some assistance. (usually from a bridesmaid or second shooter) Or the Bride can even do it herself. (also works as a couple shot too) Have the assistant hold the dress up in the air and on the photographer's command... drop it like a huge gust of wind just blew right through and made your gorgeous heavy wedding dress fly into the air. (but miraculously didn't blow your hair out of place...lol)

3. Looking in the mirror. I'm sure there will be a mirror around any wedding location. If not, even a small hand held mirror will work. But this is such a genuine shot for a bride. All that time getting ready, wanting to look your best and feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. Nerves and Butterflies and all.

4.Cuddles and Giggles with the girls. It goes without saying the Bride is the center of attention. So put you right in the middle of your beautiful bridesmaids (if you have them) and after you get the smiling, posing stuff out of the way... just group hug. You know... cuddles and giggles. 

Groom Portraits

Reality is most guys hate getting their pictures taken. But... I do have to say, they are way more cooperative when they are looking so handsome and dapper. Most of my grooms eat up their sessions. LIke really enjoy themselves and have a good time. Or maybe I've just had awesome grooms.

Again, if there is lack of inspo from your photographer and venue here are some "Go-to" Groom poses.

1. Getting ready or acting like they are getting ready. Straightening their tie, buttoning jacket or cufflinks etc. Looking in the mirror. 

2. Looking Dapper... looking away. Out the window, just off in the distance etc.

3. Fun prop or guy thing to do. Sunglasses, toasting, playing pool.

4. I also love the Bro moments. The groomsman shaking their hands, bro hugs, pats on the back etc.

{Bonus Pro Tip... When walking toward the camera, try to walk in a straight like with your feet. It changes the weight distribution to a more flattering body angle. Otherwise you might end up looking like a penguin in the shot instead.}

I hope these tips and poses will help you feel more confident on your wedding day. So even if you don't book me as your photographer, you will at least have some ideas to help you look great in your photos. I hate that 40% of brides are disappointed with wedding photographers. If you do happen to book a dud at least you have some poses in mind to make sure you get some authentic and connected portrait moments.

 I saved my BEST TIP for Last... Have fun!! Relax, Don't stress the small stuff. This is about you and the love of your life and celebrating finding your person for life. Such a happy day, don't let anything.....ANYTHING ruin it! Brush it off! Happiness is THEE best beauty secret.