Naturally Posing a Wedding Engagement Photo
I admit it, last year I got tricked into buying a flip book full of tips on posing couples for engagement portraits. And it wasn't cheap. And I never ever even pulled it out of my bag to use it, not one time. Not that I am any sort of leading expert on posing, far from it. I need all the help I can get, but since this is the year I decided to try and hone my own style, I decided to throw out the conventional pose books and go with my instincts. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way for helping your engagement photo poses be relaxed, fun, and natural looking.
1. Do whatever it takes to help your couple relax before, during and after the engagement photos. Joke, flatter, entertain, and let them come out of their shells and let their hair down.
2. I know I have said it in previous articles but I will say it again: encourage them to feel beautiful. The very best poses come out of couples that feel beautiful together. If you know you captured a really beautiful smile, show it to them. In my experience, when I get a shot I love, and show the couple and they love it, it's like a light switch comes on and suddenly they are professional models.
3. Do not be afraid to rearrange a pose, even if you spent time getting them into it, if it looks uncomfortable to them, it will look even more uncomfortable in the photo. At the same time, don't be afraid to try new things, you never know what a couple might come up with on their own, once you have put them in some wacky position.
4. Always be ready to shoot any pose. When a couple is getting their engagement pictures done, it generally is a time when feelings of love and admiration are evoked, so even though you aren't directing them, often times they will be sneaking kisses, glances, inside jokes etc, and those always make better pictures.
5. Jump in and show the couple how to pose. I often will wrap my arms around the bride and/or groom exactly the way I want them to, because sometimes leaning all over a client is less insane then waving my hands in all directions trying to convey what I am looking for.
6. Get inspiration everywhere you can find it, I am a sucker for chick flicks, so if I see an awesome hug/stance, I try and incorporate it into my engagement poses, I also love looking at magazines, and don't judge me too harshly, Old Navy ads.
7. Practice posing whenever you can. The more you do it, the less awkward you will feel when you are standing there, camera in hand, couple in front of you eagerly anticipating any direction you may give them.
8. Be prepared. I promise you, one day, you will draw a total and complete blank when the groom looks at you and says "OK, what next?". I have friends that keep post it notes in their bags for just these occasions, covered in posing ideas that they have come across and always wanted to try.
9. Bring an assistant, and make sure they know that they are your second pair of eyes. My assistant has hawk eyes and can spot an out of place hair or an ugly position from a mile away, and she isn't afraid to tell me about it.
10. Make it a goal to have a great time! Be up, be positive, be attentive, show interest in the couple and their story.