A wedding portrait is a young couple’s first image as a new family — and one that will likely grace that new family’s walls for decades. Alongside factors like exposure and lighting, wedding poses can make or break that couple’s first portraits as husband and wife.
The honour of taking up prominent placement on the walls in a large print comes with the pressure of getting every detail right.
A great pose will simultaneously flatter each individual while showing their connection to each other.
But how do you create great wedding poses in the limited time available on a wedding day?
Here are 14 wedding poses and several essential posing tips to get you started.
Essentials For Creating Great Wedding Poses
Posing is an art form — and as such takes practice alongside understanding a few fundamentals. Knowing how to pose an individual is essential to creating flattering poses with two people.
When posing couples, the idea of keeping crops away from joints still applies, just with twice as many joints. Before you move into couple’s photography, study posing basics for men and women first. (For tips on posing the entire bridal party, head here.)
Unlike posing an individual, however, posing a couple is about creating a connection. In her book The Photographer’s Guide to Posing, Lindsay Adler suggests that increasing the number of points where a couple physically touches increases the connection the two have inside the image.
That concept on body language — along with her tips on how to create a variety of poses quickly — has made a dramatic impact on both the quality of my own work and the variety of wedding poses I deliver to the couple at the end.
Wedding photographers need to understand, however, that couple poses aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Besides creating a pose that will flatter individual body types, photographers also need to respect how the couple interacts with each other.
Couples don’t need to naturally recreate the passionate kiss of a romance movie to create a great pose with a connection. Follow the couple’s lead. And you can create an image that shows their unique love language and connection to each other.
Photographing an engagement session is a great way for photographers new to posing to practice without the pressure and time crunch of the wedding day. Poses for engagement sessions are nearly identical to poses for the wedding day. With the exception that the pose may need to be adjusted for the formal wedding day attire.
Finding inspirational poses is great — there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by a photographer you admire. Make sure, however, that you use that inspiration to create an image that’s unique to your couple and to your own photography style.
Wedding Posing Ideas for the Bride and Groom
One basic pose doesn’t mean one image. Adjusting the couple’s hands, expression, and where the couple is looking can create a pose that better suits the couple. Or it can simply add variety to the wedding album.
The same pose can also appear very different by adjusting your composition. This includes how the image is cropped, the angle or even the lens.
With those ideas, 14 poses can become several dozen different shots for the wedding album. And you can adapt these poses to the couple and your own photography style.
Many couples will default to simply standing next to each other for an image. Create a connection with contact — holding hands, wrapping an arm around back or touching a cheek.
Side-by-Side, One Reversed
A mix-up of a traditional pose, have one of the couples standing facing away from the camera. This pose usually works best with the couple’s arms looped together. Have the individual facing away from the camera turn to look at his or her new spouse — or give them a kiss on their cheek.
This mix-up is good for adding variety, or perhaps showing the detail at the back of a bride’s dress.
Facing Each Other
Another classic pose with a lot of potential variety, poses with the couple facing each other often work well and show a lot of connection. Direct the couple to stand closer together, if necessary, or lean in towards each other. Distance doesn’t create that feeling of closeness in the final image.
The couple can look at each other or at the camera. Remember to create multiple points of connection. Try holding hands poses, one hand on the cheek, a hand on the waist, or a kiss on the forehead.
Even when the groom is taller, having the bride behind the groom can create a strong pose. In this pose, the bride should be only slightly behind the groom, nearly side-by-side but with one shoulder tucked behind the groom. This works well looping arms.
There’s no reason the bride has to be the one standing a bit behind the other. The pose works well with the groom too. This pose works well with the groom just slightly behind his bride and his arm around her waist.
If the groom is tall enough, he can stand almost directly behind his bride and kiss her cheek or whisper something in her ear.
Hug From Behind
Another variation of having the bride or groom behind the other is a reverse hug. I like to have the bride stand directly behind the groom but have either the bride stand on something or the groom sit down on something so that the bride is the tallest.
Then I’ll ask the bride to wrap her arms around her new husband in a hug.
An easy classic, there are many different ways to create a pose holding hands. For a couple shy about posing, asking them to simply hold hands and walk with each other while ignoring the camera can make for a great ice breaker.
While walking side-by-side is probably the most common version of the pose, you can also have the bride or groom walk a bit ahead of the other, leading the other.
Holding Hands and Walking Away
After I shoot a portrait of the couple walking towards me, I will often tell them to walk back and shoot the same thing from behind. The bride’s dress is often very detailed in the back. And a stroll together from the back is a nice way to show this in a couple’s pose.
Seated poses don’t always work for every wedding — ball gowns can bunch up and create a more awkward look. But with some dresses — and an interesting, clean and dry spot to sit at the location — seated poses can work well.
The bride and groom can sit side by side, or the groom can kneel behind the bride.
Focus On the Ring
A favourite for both engagements and weddings, this pose focuses entirely on the ring. You will intentionally leaving the bride and groom’s faces blurred in the background.
For this shot, I will have the bride and groom side-by-side, with their ring hands together. Then I will direct them to hold the hand with the bride’s ring out towards me.
I’ll place the focal point on the ring and use a shallow depth of field to blur the bride and groom into the background. This pose is more ring shot than couple’s pose, but can help add variety to the wedding album.
Poses Interacting With the Environment
During the formals, I have some go-to wedding poses that I use to add lots of posing variety in a limited amount of time. But, then I will also create poses for the particular location the bride and groom choose.
I’ll find posing inspiration from a bridge at a park, for example. Or inspired by a beautiful Catholic church, I created a pose with the couple in the front and the wedding party in the distance on the balcony.
Pose With the Veil
This is a classic pose. It’s even part of my own wedding album from nearly ten years ago.
The veil is a fun tool for adding variety and interest into wedding poses. Try the tried-and-true kissing under the veil, or pull a long veil close to the lens to create unique, intentional blur.
The Dip Kiss
A favourite pose of mine largely because my husband insisted on doing several of these at our own wedding, a dip kiss is a fun wedding pose.
Before the kiss, instruct the groom on how to hold his bride. I find leaning at a 90 degree angle from the camera creates the best view of this fun kiss.
Seated in the Getaway Car
Poses should be inspired both by the couple and the details of the day. For couples with a unique getaway vehicle, photograph the two of them seated together in the car, or even in front of the car.