Everyone needs inspiration at some point throughout their career, whether it be from reading, watching, or observing. We’ve gathered a total of 10 bridal poses that might get you out of a tricky situation on your next wedding – from the standard flattering poses to the more complex and intricate ones, we’ve got you covered.

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The Standard Standing Pose

A full length portrait of the bride is a must, after all brides spend a good portion of their planning time finding the perfect dress to honor their big day. Getting a standard, flattering portrait should be the first shot you take once your bride is fully ready and from there go into a series of micro-poses, adjusting the arms, hips, and expressions. Watch our full behind-the-scenes tutorial here!

Back of the Wedding Dress

Now that we’ve got our standard shot out of the way, start to get into more complex posing. Have the bride turn around and look over her shoulder, making sure to separate her chin from her shoulder. A common mistake we see with this pose is when brides turn their head too much and break the profile plane, now, while this isn’t necessarily a rule, it helps with the symmetry of the face.

Incorporating the Bouquet

Every detail matters and for a bride, her bouquet is just one of the important accessories she will have on her person throughout her wedding day. Include it in a couple of portrait shots but make sure that the bride separates her arms from her body to create form and figure.

Accessory Adjustments

More likely than not, brides have shoes, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories to put on for their big day. Use the action of these movements to capture journalistic or posed images, setting up your subject in an ideal light setup like you see above and then instructing them accordingly. Be mindful of the tension in the arms, as the more relaxed her joints are the more natural the pose will appear.

Portraits Through The veil

Although this isn’t necessarily a pose, it is a variation of a portrait. Shooting through the veil gives off a soft & dreamy aesthetic that brides almost always fall in love with, and it’s an easy trick that can be used to impress. Make sure your focus is still on your subject and not on the veil material, which is an easy mistake to make.

Sitting Poses

This is possibly one of the trickiest poses to accomplish on this list because we all know how unflattering sitting makes people look, no matter what body type they have. The key to nailing a seated pose is finding the angle that works best for your bride; that flatters her figure and gives her the best posture without making her look stiff. Another tip is to gently tug the dress so that it doesn’t bunch up in the wrong areas which makes your bride appear larger than she is. See how we accomplish it here!

High Fashion Pose

Image on left by Sikh & Dread and Image on right by Lin and Jirsa.

This is a combination of dramatic lighting and strategic posing. Hard lighting produces hard shadows and bright highlights that will help accentuate the female figure while exaggerated posing will help outline a more high-fashion appeal to the image. It really is all in the hips and attitude of the expression to truly portray this type of pose. Study fashion magazines and shoots to gather inspiration for more dramatic posing and lighting.

Candid Laughter

After you’ve gotten your standard portraits out of the way, don’t be afraid to have some fun. Loosen the bride up and get her laughing with some jokes, or have her bridesmaids help and coerce her to giggle. Once you have taken a series of photos make sure and check to see if you’ve got a couple to work with and show the bride to see what she thinks. A photo that passes your standards as excellent might be an unflattering angle for the bride so it is always best practice to double check.

Macro shots of makeup

Having a macro lens on hand is essential for a wedding photographer mainly because of the need to capture wedding rings, but here is another great use of your macro lens. Using a Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS L we have our brides do “fake-up” shots after their makeup is all done for the day. We simply instruct the makeup artist to add any last minute touch-up’s to the bride and then get in close to get details of the lashes, eye makeup, and lips.

Opening the curtains

The pensive ‘looking-out-the-window’ shot has been overdone and used to death, so why not try something with a little bit more motion. Have your bride pull back the curtains revealing a sliver of light or use the window as a giant softbox. This is a great shot to showcase the bride’s figure while also showing off the dress. Remember to keep the separation between the arms and the body.


The subject of flattering female posing warrants an entire workshop with the nuances in poses and the art of direction. In this chapter we discuss 15 key points to pay attention to and think about during your shoot, all of which will help guide you to creating a flattering, feminine, pose.

  • 1. Narrow stance
  • 2. Drop/drag toe
  • 3. One knee crosses center
  • 4. Hip kicked
  • 5. Straight spine
  • 6. Arm space (drag finger up thigh
  • 7. Hands posed with purpose or at rest
  • 8. Relaxed joints
  • 9. 90 degrees bend in the arm to show energy vs. natural bends
  • 10. Avoid duplication/mirroring
  • 11. Neck extended (slightly)
  • 12. Neck to extend line of spine
  • 13. Chin down/eyes up (softness)
  • 14. Chin up/eyes down (power)
  • 15. walk heel over toe

This just scratches the surface of bridal posing ideas, we would love to hear some of your favorites – let us know in the comments below! For an in-depth guide to photographing the bride check out our workshop now available in SLRL Premium!