To pose or not to pose? That's the question!
You’re trying to find a wedding photographer to capture your special day; probably asking yourself...
What style of wedding photographer should I be looking for?
You will find most will advertise as natural, unposed documentary wedding photographers.
Unsurprisingly this is appealing, but is this really what will bring the best from your special day? I hope to be able to give you some insider advice on this question and answer if this is really what you should be looking for, or, as I will be suggesting, not!
What if I told you that to get the best results you need a wedding photographer that will pose you?
You gasp in Shock Horror … "PLEASE NO, I hate posing for photographs."
In reality it's true, to get the best results you actually want a wedding photographer that WILL pose you.
Bear with me…
You want beautiful natural photographs and magical moments that are captured spontaneously? Of course, who wouldn't!? And, sure I want that for you too, hence one of the reasons I’m writing this.
First let's explore why we are against posing.
The reason why we think it's bad.
Posing has a stigma attached to it so it has become somewhat of a dirty word.
The word posing promotes a thought of being posed in a cringy unnatural way. After all, posing is fake, right? Being someone you're not, or an imposter! Or someone with a strain of Dorian Gray’s vanity. Look at that poser…(flicks hair in the mirror)!
Pick me, I'm a natural, unposed photographer!
Many photographers capitalise on this perception of ‘posing’ and pitch to the betrothed to be natural photographers and with an unposed style. Let’s hope that for most this is a sales hook, and they really don’t actually practice this in reality! Unfortunately, there will be some that don’t give posing guidance, hence the horror stories of couples receiving crappy photographs.
How taking direction helps and why it is good!
You will be paying good money for your wedding photographer. So it makes sense to take direction (when needed) and utilise their skills to help you achieve better results.
First, let’s change this word posing (and its associated perception) to ‘interactive guidance’. Sounds better now, doesn't it?
Interactive guidance that will help flatter you, such as your position in relation to the light source and position of environmental elements within the frame of the photograph to get the best composition. Who wouldn’t want that?
What should you really be looking for in your wedding photographer?
Don’t get me wrong, from time to time, magic can happen without any posing or interaction and photographers should be there to capture it.
However, as one of the most famous wedding photographers and educators once said:
“You’re kidding yourself if you think that a one in a million photograph is going to happen every day!”
In essence the true job (duty) of a wedding photographer is to:
Capture Magic & Create Magic
Sometimes a little interactive guidance is needed to help create some magic and help the story of the day shine.
(Image 1.1) Here I asked the bride to position herself in the window light and take a moment to admire her dress.
She held the dress in front of her, probably contemplating the day ahead. Which enabled me to capture this beautiful seemingly private moment. Without interaction this moment would never have happened.
(Image 1.2) In this interactive documentary photograph. The bride's mother reacts with excitement and admiration as her daughter stands in front of her, almost ready, looking stunning!
Before the interaction the curtain was closed and the room was light with unflattering ceiling light. The mother was in the corner of the room out of sight hidden by one of the bridesmaids. I asked the mother to move to a more effective placement and hold the hands of her daughter face to face. Within a few seconds the emotive reaction was there to be captured.
(Image 1.3) Here the groom and best man are joking around! The best man (unprompted) began to shine the groom's head.
So I left them to enjoy the moment while taking some initial shots.
I noted the bathroom had good light. So with a small interaction I asked them to move into the bathroom (keeping the energy high) so I could just use the light in the room and the door frame to frame them as subjects to give this interesting composition.
(Image 1.4) Sorry (#notsorry), but nothing is natural about how this shot was composed. However, all the groomsmen were in the bar area talking and having fun with one another. I engaged with them, asking for them to position themselves in a line leading to the camera with the groom at the opposite end under a spotlight.
Naturally they continued to have fun, laugh and enjoying the moment.
As you can see their reactions are very natural even though they were all posed…sorry I mean, guided!
Hell sometimes we should just pose, right?...Are you with me now?
When it's time to do the group shots, will you and your guests want guidance with where to stand?
What about the bride and groom portraits, will you stand there as stiff as a palace guard, not knowing what to do with your hands?
(Image 1.5) To finish up I wanted to show you this posed bride and groom portrait, how stunning do they look? It doesn't look awkward, uncomfortable or vain. It's their wedding day after all!
From now on let's change this perception of posing. We should encourage professional interactive guidance, to have trust in your wedding photographer, so you can get the best from your wedding photography!