A ton has been written and said about the essential aspects of posing the bride. However, nobody seems to pay much attention to posing the groom. The thought process always is – “Well, he is the groom. How difficult can it be to pose and make a few quick portrait shots?” Well, guys tend to be just as nervous as gals, especially on the big day. There would be butterflies in the stomach. A little bit of help and some prior research work wouldn’t do any harm. Neither would some experience in posing the groom on his big day.
Photographers, listen up. The groom needs as much attention as the bride on the big day (yeah!). Unfortunately, a lot of photographers, both amateurs and professionals, tend to overlook this aspect of their wedding photographer role. Just as the getting ready shots of the bride can be beautiful reminders of the moments leading up to the exchange of vows; the getting ready shots for the groom also serve a similar purpose. So you should use as much time you’ve got to make those moments truly count.
Almost on every occasion the bride and the groom start getting ready about the same time. That means unless you have a way to be at two places at the same time, you will have to rush between the two rooms. The other alternative is to shoot with a second shooter. That way you can be in two rooms at the same time, well not quite in person. The second shooter acts as an extension of you.
Some of the getting ready moments themselves pose as good photo opportunities. I like the moment when the groom’s best man or dad or brother helps him put on the jacket, or helps him with tying the knot or with the rose on his jacket pocket and so on. Get some solo shots when he is probably all done and is sitting on a chair lost in thoughts. Then when he is finally ready, and ticking all the boxes while standing in front of the mirror, you can get some style shots done as well.
While these are all shot candidly, the best shots would have to be undoubtedly the ones where he is posing. Posing the groom involves finding the right stance, the right posture and involve using the right camera angle and lens to capture the images. I would strongly recommend going through several wedding magazines in order to familiarize yourself with what works best.
You will also have to keep in mind the body type of the groom and his attire to be able to find the best poses for him.
The classic hands in the pockets pose
Let’s face it, grooms are way more relaxed than the brides on their wedding day, even though both might be having butterflies in their stomach. Thus, the groom’s room would be a much more relaxed environment to work in. That kind of gives you the best chances to get those posed photos done quickly.
Guys are also easy to pose (sorry gals). Have them pose with both their hands in their pockets. Pose him angled slightly away from the camera and face turned towards the camera. That’s a nice way to start.
Power posing for power dressing
If the bride doesn’t leave anything to chance on her big day, why should the groom? From his shoes, to his tie, to his jacket and precisely ironed pants, everything yells – ‘this is my day’. The groom has every right to feel like king. It’s your job to capture that mood in your camera.
A particular look I like is the power dressing look. The jacket is casually flung over his right shoulder with the right index finger grabbing on to it. The other (left) hand would be in his left pocket with the thumb sticking out. Ask him to transfer his body weight on to his right leg. He should also have his left leg pointed at an angle of 90 ˚ to the camera. Angle of the body will also be at 90 ˚. Ask him to turn his head slightly towards the camera.
The sitting down look
Posing the groom doesn’t always have to be an elaborate affair. Sometimes just giving him a comfortable sofa to sit on and asking him to give you a great look is all that is required. Another look that I like is when he is sitting. For this particular shot I like to use a large aperture lens, something like the 85mm f/1.8 or even the 50mm f/1.8 to create a shallow depth of field. The groom would be sitting down on a comfortable sofa. Both hands together with the fingers interlocking. I would have his expensive watch clearly visible.
The focus will be his eye closest to the camera. Use a soft out of focus effect. Ensure that it grows bigger the further anything is from the point of focus. Leave the background non-cluttered. A large window with abundant light coming through (non-direct) would be perfect.
I would have the sofa pushed towards the window and experiment with the lighting till I get a few great shots. With a wide angle shot ensure that you don’t step too close in or else the facial features would look distorted. If you feel that you cannot manage the 50mm prime, grab a 70 -200mm and work with it. It should give you a nice background blur at f/2.8 (or f/4 depending on the lens you get) and should give you some great shots.
Bring his entourage into the shot
At times I would also bring in to the frame the groom’s immediate family or his friends. His best man and the groomsmen as well will do. If the groomsmen are wearing different color suits it would work to bring some contrast in the image. I have tried experimenting with different poses for each of the groomsmen while posing the groom in the foreground. These type of posing takes as little or as long depending on how experienced you are. It also depends on how quickly and effectively you can communicate with your subjects.
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