On a couple’s wedding day, brides are usually the show-stoppers, receiving the most pampering while preparing for the big day in order to take her groom and guests’ breath away when they get to see her. Photographers often think of a wedding as a bride’s day, but it’s important that we give grooms our all as well and make sure he looks his best. Or, if you’ve booked a wedding with two grooms, you’ll want to ensure that both get the attention and care that is so often lavished on brides so that they can look and feel amazing on their wedding day. In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide to wedding poses for grooms.  This article will focus on posing the groom, but you might also be interested in our article dedicated on groomsmen poses.  Let’s get started with a list of posing tips.

Start With a Standing Pose for Grooms

One of the most common poses for the groom is to have him stand and look into the camera with his hands in his pocket or by his side.

When posing a standing groom, we want to start with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed outward, to a natural degree. If we point toes inward, it just looks awkward – it can look childish and doesn’t project confidence. With women, we often like to shake up her stance by having her rest her weight on only one leg, but for men, it can go either way – weight balanced across both legs or primarily resting on one leg.

Understand Active Hands vs Hands at Rest

So often, when photographers chat among themselves, we’ll hear a befuddled photographer whimper, “but what do I do with the hands?” It’s true that you’ve got to do something with them, but you have to be careful to keep whatever that ‘something’ is looking natural. For a resting position, the classic ‘hands in pocket’ look works, but some care needs to be taken. When hands disappear into pockets underneath a jacket, it can look odd. Counteract this by making sure some hand skin can be seen – leave thumbs out or tuck them in with the rest of the fingers exposed instead.

An interesting thing to note with hands – if you do something with one of them, the other can usually get away with just relaxing.

We said you need to do something with the hands, and sometimes that something is an actual action. For example, you can have the groom handle his corsage or fix his tie.

When working with hands, be mindful of the angle created by their elbows. A right angle works better in fashion when you want to draw attention to the apparel. Angling the hand toward the face draws attention there instead. Arms and hands can work like leading lines, directing the viewer’s eye, so make sure to use this to your advantage.

Understand Breath and Posture

An easy trick to utilize when posing is this: simply having the subject take a breath before photographing them can do wonders for their posture. It automatically straightens their shoulders and tucks in the stomach.

Hair Part and Chin/Jaw

How you turn the subject’s head has a big impact on how the image reads. Usually, a subject will have a preferred side, and sometimes you can tell which side that is without even asking by observing which way they part their hair. Often people will subconsciously part their hair into the preferred side, and this is a good thing for photographers because when photographing a man, the hair part is better turned away from the camera. If it’s turned toward the camera, it can look like a bald spot and direct the subject’s eye by being a lighter spot in an area that is likely darker unless the subject has light blond hair.

How the chin is positioned is important – if it’s pointed too far down, the dreaded double-chin that even emerge on the thinnest of subjects will appear. Too high, and the jawline is stretched out, robbing the subject of a nice, chiseled jawline appearance.

Case Study – Going Above and Beyond

When it comes to photographing the groom, you’ve no doubt seen the photos of the groom putting on his coat, adjusting his cufflinks, watch and tie, or maybe even standing in a straight line alongside his groomsmen. These images all work well for capturing moments that tell the story of the day, but more often than not they’re captured in a pretty straightforward manner with minimal creativity, which is probably why they’re featured less prominently on blogs and in portfolios.

Solution: Add Artistry With Off-Camera Flash

During a recent wedding, I had the opportunity to photograph the groom and his groomsmen, which is usually tasked to second shooters while leads stay with the bride. Whenever the opportunity arises, I like to approach photographing the groom and his boys with the same level of artistry expected for bridal portraits. For this particular session, I decided to stagger the groom and groomsmen in a V-formation, and I lit the groom with a gridded off-camera flash while leaving the ambient light just bright enough to minimally reveal the groomsmen. Here’s how we captured an artistic groom portrait using off-camera flash:

Step #1: Dial In Ambient Exposure

Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II at 200mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO 400

To set the mood and tone of the image, start by dialing in the appropriate ambient exposure. The vision you have for the end product will determine which ambient setting is appropriate. To highlight the groom and help him stand out while standing amongst the groomsmen, I adjusted my settings to keep the ambient light relatively low (see settings above).

Step #2: Pose Subject(s) And Find Your Angle(s)

To add depth to the image and break the mold of the standard straight line up, we posed the groomsmen in a v-formation. With the groomsmen standing at a slant, this formation also draws the viewer’s eye to the groom, who is standing in the center of the frame with his chest directly facing the camera.

I decided to use a telephoto lens zoomed to 155mm while standing approximately fifty feet away from the groomsmen in order to compress the image and minimize the lens distortion that usually accompanies wider angle shots.

Step #3: Position Off-Camera Flash With Grid

Overhead diagram of pose formation and flash placement.

To minimize light spill, we placed a grid on the flash and positioned the flash to light the groom from the side. By placing the light here and directing the groom to look toward the flash, we were able to highlight his features and keep the light off of both the groomsmen and the background.

Step #4: Cue The Action

Once I had the groom and groomsmen posed and the flash placed, I simply cued the action by asking the guys to joke around and make fun of each other. They already have their own inside jokes, so it usually doesn’t take much to get them laughing. At that point, all I have to do is look for and capture their best expressions.

Step #5: Create A Composite In Photoshop (If Necessary)

Both images: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II at 155mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO 400 (from 50 feet away)

While I could have worked with either of these images (see above), I preferred the groom’s expression in the first image and the groomsmen’s poses in the second image. I knew it would be relatively simple to create a composite from these two groomsmen portraits, so I made initial adjustments to the first image in Lightroom using an SLR Lounge preset, and then synced the settings to the second image.

Next, you’ll need to export the images to Photoshop. To do so,  select the images, right-click, and select “Edit In,” and then “Open as Layers in Photoshop.” When the files open in Photoshop, auto-align the layers. Then, on the “final” image layer, add a layer mask and use the paintbrush to paint black over the areas of the image you wish to conceal.

You can follow this same workflow for any composite using multiple images. See here for more information on how to create composite images.

Here’s a look at our final image:

Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II at 155mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO 400 (from 50 feet away)

To help you continue to develop your photography education, SLR Lounge Premium offers world-class workshops on topics like lighting your subjects with off-camera flash in Lighting 201, and so much more.