Wedding photographers are often hard-pressed to produce works of art standing in the midst of utter chaos. If I were to define what I think a wedding is, I would definitely say they are the most chaotic of all. Even then, wedding photographers are expected to not only keep pace with the break-neck speed at which a wedding unfurls but also produce stunning images to show for. If you take one wrong move, you ruin the best day in the lives of two people. This is one of the primary reasons why I consider wedding photography to be second only to war photography. The hazards are the same, though the pay is definitely better.
Ok, enough of the prelude. We are going to learn something about posing in this article, and more importantly how you, as the photographer, can make two bundles of nerves with two left legs dance on the biggest day of their lives. Because, posing is essentially freeing one’s mind and getting into the groove to dance. The right pose can make it look as if it was a moment of passion that was frozen in time. A moment where the bride and the groom were hopelessly lost in each other and in the rhythm of life. The wrong pose will be etched forever as a failure on your part and an opportunity lost for the wedding couple.
Posing can be difficult because posing involves understanding what works with certain body types and what doesn’t. I did discuss this in brief in one of my previous articles on this website on wedding photography tips. In this article though I will be working with both the bride and the groom together. So body types will not matter that much. It is just the mutual chemistry between the couple that works to create magic on a two-dimensional frame.
Pose 1 – The Inverted A Shot
I call this the inverted ‘A’ pose. This is because if you look at it closely you will easily identify that the bride and the groom make an inverted A by the positioning of their bodies. The pose is very basic though, in spite of how complicated it may seem by its detailing. Just ask them to hold their hands (one hand only) and raise the other hand skywards. Their opposite foot would appear to meet at a point too. Make the pose a bit exaggerated for the right effects. Make the shot. The above image is not as close to as what I would have liked. The arms are to be raised in the same line as their legs to perfect the ‘A’.
Pose 2 – The Wall shot
I love this shot and even though it is not something inspired by a Latin or salsa type exaggerated dance move it is still quite sensuous. You need something, like a brick wall (above) or a ledge or a fence,something that will allow you to play around with the depth of field. Depth of field is what makes this image that much more interesting.
Remember, the focus of interest are the couple and everything else is just there for aesthetic reasons. Use a wide lens, and use the smallest f-stop that you can. Something like an f/1.8 lens would be brilliant. It will give you that thin layer of focus, just enough to isolate the couple’s faces and small enough to blur everything else out.
Pose 3 – The tilting T Shot
The T-shot is yet another favorite of mine. Straight out of a Latin dance move. It is brilliant because it showcases the couple as one. Their bodies merge, their opposite hands stretch out to form the T. The groom holds her bride in her right arm while she leans backwards. Together they complete each other. It is a beautiful pose which kind of sums up the whole institution of marriage. Love, care and trust. Can’t beat that!
Pose 4 – The Tilting Y shot
This is yet another favorite shot of mine. Just like the Tilting ‘T’ shot, this one too involves a similar looking pose. Except in this case the groom uses both his hands to hold his bride while leaning forward ever so slightly. She leans more exaggeratedly behind and that adds an extra bit of spice to the whole photo.
If you look closely the torso of the groom and the bride are making the arms of the ‘Y’. Their legs make the trunk. This image is for representative purposes only and just for the pose. So, when you have the groom and the bride wearing their wedding dresses, the pose will look more flamboyant.
There are a million different poses that you can improvise from the ones that I discussed above. I tend to draw my inspiration from traditional Latin American dances as they are more flamboyant and use the ones that can be managed by the couple in their wedding attire.
It helps if you can prep the couple for the poses. A pre-wedding shoot or a session where you interact with them and understand their expectations, desires and inhibitions better certainly helps.