Posing is arguably the most challenging skill photographers need to master in order to become successful professionals, and in this 10-minute video, photographer Reggie Ballesteros shows 10 poses that beginners can use in their next session.
Ballesteros says that if you’re looking to learn how to pose a bride and groom for wedding portraits on their special day, these poses and associated examples are his favorites for burgeoning photographers.
Facing Each Other
Ballesteros’s first example he calls “facing each other,” and it’s pretty much exactly how it sounds. He says that the important thing to remember about this pose is to have no gaps between the subject’s hips.
“This gets them really close and conveys that intimacy and emotion, and the feeling that the couple is in love,” he says.
In addition to the connection of the hips, it’s important to not let hands simply dangle or stray away. Make sure to keep them involved in the image, either holding around the waist or face.
This next pose can usually be pretty cleanly moved into from the last one as the subjects will already be in position. You want the couple to get in as close as possible for a kiss, but not yet quite getting there.
“One thing to really watch out for is the placement of the couple’s noses,” Ballestero says. “Typically I prefer to have the best light shown on the bride’s face, so I usually instruct the bride to have her nose closer to the camera.”
Walking Across the Frame
This next pose is designed to look candid and natural, so it’s important to remind the couple not to just look directly at each other while walking. The goal is to get them to walk hand in hand naturally, so it’s encouraged to look around, down, and occasionally back at each other to create a more natural image.
As far as image capture is concerned, aim to photograph the couple from the side to tell a story of motion from left to right, or right to left.
Walking Towards the Camera
Similar to the last pose, this next one takes the walking concept and moves the photographer’s angle so that the couple is walking towards the lens. It’s a very similar pose, but it tells a different kind of visual story. Additionally, while in the last photo you should try and have one of the subjects leading the other, from this angle they can walk more closely side by side.
Don’t forget to consistently remind the couple not to look directly at the camera, as this will be a natural inclination for them and it will break the candid, natural look that this pose goes for.
Side by Side
Speaking of walking side by side, this next pose places the couple side by side with an emphasis on their hands. The goal is to position the subjects just barely apart while they hold hands to put emphasis on the space and the connection.
“This pose is actually super versatile,” Ballesteros says “You can have them looking at each other, looking away, or looking straight at the camera. You can throw in different camera angles: you can get high, you can get low, you can throw in different focal lengths.”
This is very similar to the side by side pose, but the main difference is purposely underexposing the photo to create deep shadows: a silhouette. However, if you’re not careful you can accidentally make the couple look like “a big, shadowy blob” as Ballesteros says, so to avoid this you’re going to want to exaggerate the body and limb positioning.
“You’re going to want to have their feet spread apart, and their arms have a little bit of a window in between the side of their arm and the body so that light shines through and you can see their forms,” he says.
Building on the last pose and taking cues from the first pose on the list, the intimate silhouette takes elements from both and puts them together. However, instead of having the subjects touching as they do in the first pose, you’ll want to keep them just separated so that you avoid the “shadowy blob” issue mentioned in the last pose.
To learn about the last three poses Ballesteros calls Camera Aware, Sitting, and Hugging From Behind, make sure to watch his full video above. For more videos like this, make sure to subscribe to Reggie Ballesteros’s YouTube Channel.
Image credits: Photos by Reggie Ballesteros and used with permission.