These are starting points for connection. You are in the position of guiding a couple to connect with each other. Use these pose ideas as a springboard, but don’t get stuck on them. Many times, a couple brings their own energy to an idea to make something entirely new.
I like to try at least one new idea at each shoot. I don’t try and re-invent the wheel by having ALL new poses for each session. It’s good to have your go-to’s! Couples look good in them for a reason (i.e. “The Look Back). However, don’t stop there, try something different with each couple.
My secret: I use a 5×7 Index Card and draw stick figures of 4-5 different posing ideas I want to try at any shoot. This is discreet and helps jog my memory without pulling out a big sheet of paper or my phone for ideas.
Read a couple’s energy.
If they are playful and silly: steer away from the romantic poses and focus on moving, walking, running, twirling, and being funny together.
If they are passionate and like PDA: go for sensual, romantic and fun.
If they are introverted and quiet: let them walk quietly, sit together, encourage them to cuddle. This will make them feel safe and happy.
Looking for wedding specific poses? Here are some cards from Design Aglow: (Some are a little dated, but you’ll find some you connect with)
Before you begin shooting, it’s important to set their expectations and calm any nerves. Begin with sharing things like this:
From the introverted/uncertain couple to the craziest crew, you’ll be safe with these go-to’s.
When it comes to physical poses like running and twirling, never put pressure on a couple to feel like they need to do this. Instead of asking, “How about you pick her up and twirl?” (Which could leave one or both of them feeling quietly unsure but not knowing how to say it) I offer TWO choices: “How about you either: 1) Pick her up and twirl or 2) Take a walk away from me?” This gives them the choice which allows you to read their energy level right away. Based upon their answer you’ll know what other poses they may or may not be game for later.
This is only for couples who enjoy PDA. Don’t force a timid couple to get steamy!
SOLUTION: Assure them you’ll have plenty of beautiful imagery regardless. You do not need to shoot overtime (though you can if you choose to, it’s not expected). Bring the positive energy to calm them down!
SOLUTION: Have all your posing ideas READY TO GO. You cannot rely on their connection if they are in this negative place. So, you will carry the weight of directing everything. Give them a lot of ideas, reinforce what they are doing well. Try to win over the party pooper by becoming interested in their world (ask them questions personally).
SOLUTION: Affirm their concern. Then, after you let them know you understand it, enthusiastically share how you have many ways to shoot around it to make them look great. For heavier couples: Don’t make them run or jump – that is not going to be flattering. Shoot down from an upward angle. Capture more half body angles than full body angles.
SOLUTION: Depending upon the problem, try to find another outfit if possible. If not, then adjust your angles and poses to hide the issue as much as possible. Note: We do offer retouching services but it’s not free, so don’t ever guarantee that we’ll be able to Photoshop something before talking with me.
SOLUTION: We already prepped them for this, they know they need to pay you. All you need to say is, “Ok! I’m heading out! Would you like to handle the parking/permit reimbursement now, or have Sara bill you for it?”
This language gives them the reminder but also isn’t pushy or demanding.
Sometimes it can feel awkward to say “we’re done!”
When you’re getting closer to the end, I always give the clients a heads up around 10-15 minutes beforehand.
“Wow! We are having so much fun! We’ve got about 15 minutes left, I have a few ideas but I wanted to see if you had any last piece you wanted to make sure to include before we’re done?”
This helps remind a couple in case they had a prop they forgot about. Or a pose they had in mind. Then from there, you guide them to the finish line.
Once you’re complete, be sure to affirm how great they did. For an engagement session: let them know we’ll be in touch with the edited images.
FYI: Some couples request an early edit for their Save the Date. Others forget to. If they mention wanting a photo early, simply direct them back to us and we’ll handle it. Never make promises for anything! (Sometimes we can’t accommodate everyone’s requests)
A photo session is less about the photos (while they are very important!) but MORE about the connection. Connect with your couple. Learn them. Share who you are with them. Relate. Become friends!