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Tips & Tricks

Wedding Poses | 10 Basic Poses for Wedding Photographers

By Christopher Lin on November 8th 2013

Introduction to Wedding Poses

Posing in wedding photography is much more of an art than it is a science, as it requires so much judgement and interpretation. When we first started wedding photography, this was our biggest fear and the most difficult aspect to learn. We had a good handle on lighting and my post production was solid. But posing was a different story.

With the wrong pose, you can make an otherwise attractive couple look awkward, clumsy, and even unattractive. On the other hand, with the right pose and the right angles, you can conceal blemishes and “flaws” and even make your clients look skinnier.

Furthermore, with odd posing, you can make a very affectionate and natural couple seem awkward and distant. With the right pose, you can make even the most stiff and stoic couples seem undeniably fun and in love.

The Complete Posing Workshop

For a “The Complete Posing Workshop, be sure to check out our Posing Videos in SLR Lounge Premium.

Below is the first video in the workshop that you can watch for free!

Wedding Poses Tips | 10 Basic Poses

Below, we’ll go over a few basic poses that we teach in the workshop. Keep in mind that these are just 10 wedding poses out of hundreds of poses that you will need to master to become a good wedding photographer.

How can you come up with hundreds of wedding poses? The answer is small posing variation. Slight adjustments in hand placement, feet positioning, head positioning, facial expressions, and posture can change the entire mood and feel of a wedding image. Below are just 10 basic wedding poses to start with.

1. Wedding Pose 1 | The V Up

This is your most classic, basic wedding pose. Be sure to have your couple touching at the hips with hands anywhere but dangling at the bride and groom’s sides.

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2. Wedding Pose 2 | Opened Up

From the most basic wedding pose, the V Up, you can have your couple simply open up their feet towards the camera and you have the “Opened Up” pose. Below are two examples.

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3. Wedding Pose 3 | Closed Up

The most common wedding pose is what we call the “Closed Up” pose. We call it this because their bodies are closed off and they are facing each other. From here, you can get intimate poses and candid poses depending on where you have the bride and groom look and depending on their expression.

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4. Wedding Pose 4 | Stacked

The “stacked” wedding pose is great for those romantic photos where it looks like the wedding couple is gazing off into the distance. We use this pose often with grand, scenic landscape wedding photographs.

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5. Wedding Pose 5 | The Swing

The Swing pose adds in action into a scene. Use this selectively and be sure to gauge your groom’s ability to hold up the bride’s weight.

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6. Wedding Pose 6 | The Carry

Like the Swing, the next pose, “the carry,” adds some interesting action and motion to a scene. It’s a bit more traditional than the “swing” and might require a little more strength from the groom. The image on the bottom is still considered a carry because it’s essentially the same pose but just with the groom seated.

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7. Wedding Pose 7 | Staggered Couple

“The Staggered Couple” is sometimes overused in today’s wedding photography, but it can add some much-needed variation to your posing. With this pose, you can put the focus on just one of the two.

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8. Wedding Pose 8 | Meet in the middle

The “Meet in the Middle” is a cute pose. We also call it the penguin kiss because of the way the couples have to stick out their rear ends. This is great for symmetrical scenes like the ones below.

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9. Wedding Pose 9 | The Walk

The walk is probably the most common pose. Wedding videographers love this pose and often default to this because of the motion it adds to the scene.

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10. Wedding Pose 10 | The Dip

The dip is like “The Swing” and “The Carry” in that they are dynamic poses with motion. Again, gauge the couples’ coordination and ability to execute this pose. It’s more difficult than it looks and it can look really odd and awkward if done incorrectly. The most common mistake when doing this wedding pose is the groom not lunging far enough down. We want it to look more like a lunge and less like a squat.

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All Images Above are Copyright Lin and Jirsa Photography

Wedding Poses Conclusion

The poses we mention above are meant to be a starting point for posing. We tried to mention a good mixture of dynamic and static poses. Making them romantic or fun will depend on the expressions you have them do while in these poses. We have left out quite a few poses like sitting poses, lying down poses, and others which we will cover in another article.

Having a good foundation for wedding poses is very important. Unlike engagement session photography where you have 2 to 3 hours to capture all of the photos you need, a wedding day might only have thirty minutes to an hour for a couples session. You might even have situations where the day runs behind and you have to squeeze everything into 10 minutes or less!

More Posing Education

Be sure to check out our Natural Light Couples Photography Workshop for more tips on posing. So much of posing is about client interaction and drawing out their best expressions. Pye demonstrates his wedding poses in this workshop and talks about the lighting, post production, and planning as well.

Co-Founder of SLR Lounge and Photographer with Lin and Jirsa Photography, I’m based in Southern California but you can find me traveling the world. Click here to connect on Google +

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dominiq Selvam

    Classic pose – a must-have in the wedding photos. Make sure that the couple are close to each other and their hands do not hang in limp state. Let them hold hands, or, for example, the bride with one hand in his pocket can be removed and the bride groom to offer a hug. Remember that they must look exclusively at the camera. Background must be able to style the whole picture. It can be a beautiful landscape, the garden, the sea or the park. It all depends on the imagination of young people, which make a reality of the photographer.

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  2. Jennifer Bernard

    Great Read! Very helpful… thanks :)

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  3. Vince Arredondo

    Very nice piece of information. Thank you!

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  4. Antony

    These are some great poses I needed. Gonna bookmark this, thank you for this 10 :)

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  5. Joseph Zahnle

    Thank you for the great ideas. Nice pictures also. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Best Wedding Photography Blog RSS Feeds |

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  7. The Best Wedding Poses – EndlessWedding

    […] wedding photo session should include some creative wedding poses and lots of candid moments captured on picture. This point should be given due respect as the […]

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  8. Amandascott

    Awesome!, very nice Wedding Poses are always valuable. Specially the wedding photographs. So lovely work. Check our list for photography in UK if you are looking for something different. We have the details for over 25,000 UK wedding suppliers. If you have a wedding related business, please feel free to add it here: http://www.mygorgeouswedding.co.uk/wedding-directory/wedding-category/wedding-photographer/

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  9. Nick English

    Some fantastic ideas here, will be sure to use a few of these this year! Thanks for sharing :)

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  10. Julie

    With “the swing” have the groom remove his bouteneire prior to lifting his lady as the petals from a dark flower can smush and immediately stain the bride’s dress in a very unfortunate location. I know this from firsthand experience, completely ruined my wedding dress in three seconds.

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  11. JL Mateo

    Very well put to understand, and for beginners like me.

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  12. Greg F

    Hi Chris

    Some great images here. I’m curious about a couple of the ones with the rim lighting in. The last one in section 3, the photographer had the remote flash on the little foot stand thing that comes free with the flashgun and just out it on the floor behind the couple right?

    How was the rim lighting of the last image of section 5 and the first one in section 6 done? The couple with the girl in the yellow dress and the one of the couple on the rocks? The yellow dress on in particular I can’t see how the flash was hidden.

    More on topic, I’ve started to use the foundation posing ideas off the couples photography download along with making smaller pose adjustments and I’m getting much better results now.

    Regards

    Greg

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  13. Kate

    I am really frightened that you included a shot on live railroad tracks. tsk tsk for putting unknowing and trusting clients in harms way

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  14. David Clark

    To learn how to pose properly google Monte Zucker and Rocky Gunn… And more up to date Hansong Fong and Gerry Ghonus….

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  15. Carsten Schertzer

    Awesome!, very nice Article!, do you mind if I ask where image number 4 was taken? I am a wedding and engagement Photographer from Ventura County, and I’ve been trying to find that spot for a while. I’ve heard its near Huntington beach but don’t know for sure. I’d really appreciate it!

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  16. Mike

    Very weel done. But to those that live here in the states, beware that if you are caught taking photographs on railroad tracks you will be fined. It is against the law.

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  17. Kurtz A

    Thanks for this simple guide, theres thise times when i black out for few minutes and overwhelmed infront of the groom and bride. This should get things going

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    • Christopher

      Yeah. That was always my problem too with wedding poses. Early on, always defaulted to kissing pose, what we call “closed up” whenever I froze up. The result was a lot of static posing that didn’t express a lot of the client’s personalities. Glad you enjoyed the article.

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  18. Scarlet Brown

    Christopher, you have written and shared top 10 wedding poses with us and i would say all poses are awesome. 3 Wedding poses are my favorite shoot ” The Dip, The Carry and Stacked”.

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