When talking with my brides and grooms about any fears they may have about their wedding or engagement photography, almost all tell me that they are worried about not looking natural in their photos. They have no idea what to do in front of the camera and are afraid of looking too "posed" in their photos.
Unfortunately more than 40% of couples have regrets about their wedding photography because they felt that they just didn't look like themselves in their photos. It's my mission to bring that percentage way down and help my couples to not only feel comfortable in front of the camera, but also to let their true personalities shine through in their photos. My mission is to capture my couple's personalities in a real way!
5 Ways I Ensure Natural, Relaxed Poses So You Look Your Best in Your Photos
1. First Things First: We'll Get To Know Each Other
I'm all about building a solid foundation for anything I do! Believe it or not, this also applies to poses and whether or not they look and feel natural. When I first meet with my newly engaged couples, I spend some time really getting to know them. Every couple is unique in their own way. They have certain interests, things they like to do, places they like to go together, etc. Learning these unique things about my couples helps me to understand what is important to them, what they have fun doing and shows me more about their overall personalities. The more I know, the more I can help guide them in picking a perfect location for their shoot that is meaningful to them. It also helps me decide what types of things to plan to do with them during their sessions to encourage natural interaction. When my couples are already doing something that they love or are in a place that they feel comfortable, they will naturally be more themselves.
Plus, the more my couples and I get to know each other before the wedding or engagement session, the more comfortable they feel in front of the camera overall. Wouldn't you feel 10x more comfortable being photographed by a friend you trust and you have some common interests with rather than a complete stranger? I know I would! So, hopefully by the time your session day or wedding comes, we'll feel like old friends :)
2. My Rule of Un-Posing":
My philosophy is that posing really shouldn't be posing at all! I'm not the kind of photographer that has my couples stand in awkward, uncomfortable positions while I hover around them taking hundreds of photos, trying to get that perfect posed shot. With this way of thinking, a photographer may come away with a beautiful photo of their couple but when the couples gets that photo back (as pretty as it may be to everyone else) they still may not like it because they don't feel like themselves in it. Plus, every time they look at that photo, they may remember just how uncomfortable they felt!
So, my rule of "un-posing" means that throughout the entire photo shoot, I'll encourage my couples to simply interact with each other as they normally would. Instead of giving posing direction, I give my couples direction on little things to do with each other to bring out natural interaction and emotion. For example, one of my favorite ways to get a genuine laugh from my bride is to have her groom whisper something in her ear. I never know what he said, but whatever it was, she thought it was hilarious and completely cracked up about it! The resulting photo is one of true laughter and emotion and is a genuine moment captured between two people in love! These types of photos end up being some of my couple's favorites because they remember that moment, how it made them feel and how natural they look in that photo.
3. Keeping An On-Going Conversation
Keeping an on-going conversation is something I try to do throughout my couple's engagement sessions or the formal portraits part of their wedding day. I like to help calm my couple's nerves and keep them focused on what they love about each other, not about what they should be doing with with their hands, etc. Sometimes I ask them to tell me the story about how they met or how their partner proposed. Many times this encourages laughter, tears and more playful, natural interaction.
4. Knowing When To Adjust
Okay, so now you know how important feeling confident and comfortable in front of the camera is to natural looking poses, but what if the natural interaction still looks a little awkward? For example, what if when your fiance gives you a hug from behind but it actually looks like he or she is strangling you instead! Don't worry! So many photographers out there don't actually know how to adjust a pose to be the most flattering and natural looking. From working with so many different couples in my 10+ years as a wedding photographer, I have learned how to make little adjustments to my couple's poses to ensure that they look their best! Believe it or not, the angle your head is tilted, the placement of your hands or the direction of your gaze can either make a portrait super awkward and unflattering or completely natural and comfortable looking. Make sure you're working with someone who knows the little rules of posing!
5. Positive Reassurance
A mentor photographer of mine once told me, the key to helping a person feel comfortable in front of the camera is to keep talking. To keep offering positive reassurance. This has been one of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten as a photographer. If you've ever been the subject in a photo shoot, you know how awkward it is when the photographer keeps shooting and never says anything to you to let you know you're doing an okay job. Their silence eventually makes you start to question yourself, what you should do next and if anything they've shot looks good at all!
To help my couples feel most at ease in front of the camera, I like to make sure they know when they are looking great or when I'm loving how they're interacting to encourage more of that movement. If adjustments need to be made, I gently give that direction and continue on with positives, like, "Gorgeous!" or "That's Perfect". We all need a little confidence booster, especially when we are in front of the camera! Hearing these little positives reassures us that we're looking good in our photos and in turn helps us look and feel even more relaxed and confident for the rest of the session!
The key to natural, relaxed posing for your wedding or engagement photos is to not pose at all!
It doesn't even matter if you have never been in a photo shoot before. You can still come away beautiful, relaxed photos that truly represent your personalities by just interacting as you normally would, with a little encouragement and a few tips from a pro. :)