Posing is an art and technique that must be honed. Many photographers may feel they're in a rut with posing or that their routine is lacking. Here are a few reasons why your posing may seem lackluster.
In wedding and couples photography, posing can make or break a photo. Posing is the icing on the cake that helps make our clients look and feel great. Often, photographers think their posing skills need work but can’t quite pinpoint why or how to improve. Here are three mistakes you may be making when it comes to posing your couples.
You’re Not Paying Attention to the Hands
If there is one single aspect that can make a pose seem off or unfinished, it’s when a photo subject's hands aren’t given direction. When you have a couple, one of the biggest mental cues that a pose is natural, polished, and interactive is how the hands of your subjects are placed in photos. Whether that be holding hands, having hands in a pocket, etc., you should always be paying attention to what your subjects are doing with their hands and should never let hands dangle, doing nothing. A good rule of thumb is that hands should always have a job.
You’re Not Asking Your Clients What They Feel Self-Conscious About
It may feel very intrusive asking a client what they feel self-conscious about in regards to their appearance, but knowing what your client loves and hates about themselves is helpful when posing them. As photographers, we naturally want to photograph our clients in the most flattering way possible. And because of this, part of our job is to assess our clients and pose in a way that is flattering while also shooting from flattering angles. However, if there is a not-so-obvious aspect of our clients' physical features that they are uncomfortable with, we may be posing them, albeit unknowingly, in a way that they don’t like. An excellent suggestion is to send a pre-session questionnaire to your clients asking them to describe everything they love and dislike about themselves. Remember that clients have hired us to make them look incredible, and so they won’t mind this question and are often more than willing to make sure we photographers know what they love and hate about themselves.
You’re Not Leaving Room for Spontaneity and Candid Moments
If you’re lumping candids and posed photos into two separate categories, don’t forget the fact that you can merge the two for some amazing “posed candids.” Giving your couple a bit of direction or posing them initially, then causing them to interact with each other is the perfect recipe for grabbing those hard-to-get candid moments. Try asking your couple to play a game, like naming each other’s least favorite food, for example, then catch the reactions as they make one another laugh while posed in a flattering and natural way. It can often be hard to get those candid moments when couples are acutely aware of your camera, but giving a bit of direction and having the couple play a mini-game during your session together is a great way to get all those natural looks that clients are always requesting.
Next time you have a photo session with a couple, give these tips a try and see if you’re able to get yourself out of the posing rut you may be in. After all, stretching your comfort zone and trying something new is the only way to grow. Ultimately, having a few new posing tools under your belt is always a good thing and will help you to be a better photographer in the long run.