Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Pose Couples for an Engagement Shoot or Wedding Formals

This post is all about how to pose couples for an engagement shoot or wedding formals. I will take you step by step through what I say/ask my clients to do to achieve a beautiful, flowing shoot. I decided to to do this post because I've had a lot of clients prior to a shoot, feel unsure about the process of a photo shoot. I tell them that I give direction when needed. I feel I don't usually give too much direction, but after going through this step-by-step, I guess I actually do. But I should probably say instead that it SEEMS as if I'm not giving too much direction. I realize that some people feel that they will need and want step-by-step, but there are also people who want the experience to be less formal and more candid...but I think the way we do it, we allow for both tho happen at the same time! I also think a photographer, maybe one newer to the business, could even use this as a model of maybe where to start when direction clients on a shoot.

(At the end of this post, I added comments from my client of their experiences with me!)

 1) This is Brandon and Kristen...we did their engagements on Brandon's family farm. This is the first picture I took. They had a chalkboard so I thought we should start with that. I just asked them to look at me. I had already positioned them where I wanted them and positioned the chalkboard.

 2) I asked B to snuggle K's ear and this was K's reaction. Their bodies didn't move from the last position.

 3) I then told B not to move and asked K to turn her body in toward B . I then asked them to put their heads together.

 4) When I do this I ask the clients to hold for a few minutes so I can get full length (picture 3) and then also get this close up. I probably get abut 5-6 different ways of cropping per pose...(I consider a pose anything different I ask them to do, even if their bodies don't move.

 5) Now we are done with the sign. So I still like this background, so I then fold their arms around each other and ask them to put their heads together again.

 6) I then asked B to start kissing her neck (depending on height difference, this could be the shoulder or if their is a really difference in height, this could mean only being able to snuggle on top of her head.

 7) I also like to ask the groom to whisper something into the brides ear...I stand back far enough, and always say I won't hear you so say WHATEVER you want to get her to laugh. It's probably a good thing I couldn't hear! LOL

 8) THIS RIGHT HERE IS THE PICTURE I AM LOOKING TO GET WHEN I ASK HIM TO WHISPER...It's what comes after the really big laughing moments.

  9) Then I ask them to look at each other. I am still getting different lengths AND I still haven't asked them to move.

10) I then ask them to kiss.

11) We then change to a different area. I position them both...this could be on any sitting a bench or fence, steps...

 12) Then I asked K to look a different way.

 13) I think I told B to whisper again... :)

 14) Okay so Kristen changed into this AWESOME dress! We moved over to the barn, I took many many different angles, some with the full barn and field in the picture, but since I am focusing on the poses...I am only showing the close-ups. I asked them to hold hands and face each other.

15) Then I asked them to kiss...I made sure to remind them to leave space between their bodies. I am looking to keep space. I always do this somewhere...I like this against a brick wall, or if you have two pillars with some space between them...about as much space as in this picture.

 16) I asked K to look at me.

 17) I then re-position them to hold each other similar to the first pose (without the chalkboard) BUT I had them switch sides. Brides tend to have two sides that look VERY different, so I try to do poses with both sides.

18) I then ask them to kiss.

19) I asked B to kiss K's forehead.

20) I then asked B to kiss K's neck...I also asked K to do something cute with her feet.

 21) We wanted to get a few walking ones in the vineyards, so I just asked them to walk ahead of me.

 22) Now the little stream. I told B I wanted him to kiss her and then lift her up.

 23) This is him lifting her up.

 24) I will add I walked into the water shoes and all to get the opposite side shot...

25) Just another one.

26) We then walked a little more...I just asked them to walk ahead of me.

27) I then asked them to stop and kiss.

28) We then moved over to where there was a field of horses. I asked them to hug again, we really have done this "pose" of their arms now a few times...but it's a totally different background look so that' s okay... if it's going really well...there is no reason to make things complicated when you are moving into 5 or more locations on the farm. The less places we move, the more I change the pose.

 29) I asked K to look up at B

 30) It was totally awesome as we where over here...the horses came running over and around our background. B said the horse love K. I had them switch sides again.

31) I then asked them to kiss.

 32)I then asked B to lift K up.

33) We finished with one more simple shot in the vineyard. I would say this shoot took just short of two hours, we moved all over the farm , two outfit changes and I think I ended up with over 400 pictures.

 I posted these pictures with the poses on Facebook and asked my past and current clients to comment on what their experience was like...and to put it into words. I am going to copy all of their comments here:

(If you want to go directly to my FB can also read the comments there.
A Moment of Joy Photography on Facebook )

 I loved our engagement shoot, even if it was 95 degrees out! Haha! We still had a lot of fun. We were a little nervous about what was going to happen, but Joy would give simple instructions like "kiss her head, nose, then neck", it gave us a direction to head, but then the goofy side of us would come out and other "poses" would happen. Some of our favorite pictures are the more candid ones where directions weren't given. Joy had already scouted the area out so she knew exactly where to head for each location. She was also totally open to trying to take pictures she hadn't tried before. My fiance was insistent on getting pictures on a moving motorcycle. Against Joy's and I's better intuition we took a risk and rode the motorcycle down a bike trail. He is thrilled with the pictures and happy his "metal mistress" got to be in the pictures.

 I loved the flow of how you kept everything moving (with our short time limit for ALL the photos). We still had a lot of fun during the whole process all while taking beautiful photos

 (I added these because I think when things don't go exactly is just FUN!)

  It was a lot of fun! I didn't feel formal at all. You directed us but also just let us be ourselves 

Being comfortable was a big thing with us. This is going to sound weird: but Joy did a good job of just reminding us to be comfortable and ourselves. We started out stiff and she did a phenomenal job of just making us feel like ourselves and loosening up for photos. And by the end we really did and those pictures were the best!! She also was super great about taking everything we though of and incorporating it - like laying down on the ground in flowers. :):) but just take a moment to get with your husband/wife and do something cute or goofy to make yourselves comfortable in front of that camera and joy will see it and work off of it and do the rest!! Seriously a gift that she has. smile emoticon

 Our engagement shoot was a lot of fun, and very casual. We chose old town Sacramento because my now-husband and I had gone there on our first date, and Joy knew the area really well and had lots of great ideas for different photos. I loved having our photos to use for our save-the-dates, but looking back I think the best benefit of the engagement shoot was getting to know Joy and her getting a feel for our personalities. On the wedding day it felt like a good friend was taking our photos, rather than a hired stranger.
 As to our bride and groom photos, one of the main reasons we were drawn to Joy is her knack for capturing *real* moments on the wedding day, and not focusing only on posed, cliche shots. Joy had a checklist of must-have posed shots with specific family members, but other than that it was up to her when/where/how to take photos. I feel like the album and photos we have from the wedding not only beautifully capture that fun, fun, FUN day, but are also works of art by a talented photographer. heart emoticon

These are great! It definitely helped that you had examples to show us beforehand. And that you were so comfortable with us made us feel comfortable too (comfortable enough to get under my dress to put on my garter!!) To anyone who is worried about the "formal" pictures, I would say that you have to put your trust in your photographer that she will make you feel confident and relaxed and that she knows her stuff and will work with you until she gets the perfect shot. Also, if anyone is still feeling apprehensive just tell them that Kelly thinks you're great and that should be enough to sway them wink emoticon

Joy wasn't nothing but fun. She made us laugh and made it easy to be ourselves. Not only did we have a blast with our engagement, when we got married the photos were awesome. I can't wait to include Joy in the next step of our lives together. She is simply awesome. Be who you are and have fun. Who cares what other people think. Love you Joy!

 That was a while ago! I'm not sure I remember 6+ years ago. Lol. 
 I mostly remember I loved my wedding pictures. Joy scouted around where our wedding was held and found some great backgrounds for our pictures. We did a bunch before the ceremony with the wedding party. Then more with all the important people in our lives after the ceremony. Plus everything in between. I think my husband's complaint was that he was tired of smiling, but he hates taking pictures! I was glad to have them ALL.
 There were so many great ones of all of our friends and family.I'm not sure what the formal part of the day was? We just had fun and took lots of pictures beforehand of bride and groom and all the wedding party. It's a good idea to have some thoughts on who you want in the pictures and if you have any particular types of pictures you want, make a list. Otherwise, Joy works fairly organically. We did some formal shots with everyone smiling and some jumping, crazy stuff too.

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