Step into wedding photography with these 20 poses

This article is written by Chris with UNDFIND, creators of Designer Photography Bags and Editors of SLR Lounge Photography Tutorials

Edit: as requested, we added another tutorial on “Poses for the groom and groomsmen”, you can find it here

Posing is one of the most important aspects of wedding photography. You can have all of the lighting, camera, and post-production knowledge in the world but still end up with unhappy clients if you fail to make them look beautiful, comfortable, and happy. The following list of poses isn’t comprehensive; and not all of the poses will work for all of your couples. However, it is a good starting point from which you should make adjustments to compliment your couples’ features and accommodate their style preferences. (The following images are provided courtesy of Lin and Jirsa, Los Angeles Wedding Photography)

1) The Basic Pose

The basic pose is a must-have in wedding photography. Make sure the bodies are close to each other with no gaps; and make sure the hands are somewhere other than hanging by their sides. Either have them hold hands in the middle or have the guy place his hand in his pocket and the bride place her hand on her hip.

2) Sitting Basic Post

The most important factor with this pose is hand placement. Awkward hand placement can ruin a perfect photo. Have the groom place one hand behind the bride’s body, with the other holding the bride’s hand in the middle. The bride’s other hand should rest on her lap or over the other hand.

3) Hug onto the Arm

Have the bride hug onto the bicep of the broom and place the other hand on his shoulder. This is a more casual pose than the standard basic pose mentioned above.

4) Standing Forehead to Forehead

Forehead to forehead is an intimate pose without the kissing. Make sure their eyes are closed so it doesn’t look like they’re staring each other down. If there is a significant height difference, have the groom do the splits until they are similar in height.

5) Sitting Forehead to Forehead

Similar to the standing forehead to forehead, the sitting forehead to forehead is a very intimate pose.

6) Meet in the middle

Meeting in the middle is perfect for those symmetrical scenes. Have the bride and groom stand a few feet apart, bend at the hip with backs straight and meet in the middle for a kiss.

7) The Dip

The dip adds action to a scene. Make sure the groom is using his legs to dip to give him a sturdy base and have the bride either grab around his neck or have them hold hands as they dip.

8 ) The Casual Look

The casual look is great because it’s a more candid look that doesn’t seem as “posed” as some of the others mentioned. Have your couple hold hands and look at each other. From here, you can get playful and have them make faces at each other if you want to make it more fun.

9) Intimate Look

Bringing their bodies together (instead of apart as shown in the pose above) as they look at each other, creates a more intimate feel. Again, make sure there is no gap between their bodies and make sure neither of them is leaning back. Leaning back or tilting the head away can decrease the intimate feel of the pose.

10) The Sitting Look

Similar to the standing look, the sitting look is a great way to show interaction between the couple. Have them sit either side-by-side or have the bride sit on the groom’s lap.

11) Single Look

Having the bride (or bride-to-be) look into the camera and the groom (or groom-to-be) look at her is a nice variation to add to your poses. You can also reverse it, with the groom looking into the camera and the bride looking up at him.

12) The Kiss

Of course the kiss needs very little explanation. The two main things are closeness, bringing their bodies together without gaps, and hand placement, making sure the arms aren’t just hanging aimlessly.

13) The Sitting Kiss

The sitting kiss is an intimate pose that can allow you to utilize different backgrounds and foregrounds in your compositions.

14) Kiss On the Cheek

The kiss on the cheek is a classic pose. It’s somewhere in between intimate and playful, depending on the expression of the subject.

15) Looking Off

Don’t forget that your couple doesn’t always need to be looking towards the camera. Looking off creates a romantic, photojournalistic feel and highlights the scenery.

16) Hold From Behind

The hold from behind is also an intimate, photojournalistic pose that highlights the backgrounds.

17) Staggared Couple

The staggered couple highlights one of the two subjects. Don’t place the person in the background too far from the person in the front, as you want to make sure the person in the back is still identifiable. Also, have the person in the back look at the person in the front, rather than into the camera.

18) The Carry

The carry can be playful or intimate. In the following image, an intimacy is created with a kiss; however, if the subjects were smiling at each other, the mood would be much more playful.

19) The Swing

The swing, like the dip, adds action to a scene.

20) Sitting Headrest

The sitting headrest is a casual sitting pose. The idea is to convey comfort. The bride and groom should look very comfortable with each other, somewhere between casual and intimate.

As mentioned, these poses are just a starting point. From here, you can make small adjustments, take slightly different angles, use different lighting techniques and lenses, and more to create an entirely different look and feel to the image. We hope you learned a few things, and stay tuned for more wedding photography tutorials.

I would like to thank Chris creator of Designer Photography Bags and Editor of SLR Lounge Photography Tutorials for this great article and I surely hope we will have him again for some great photography tips

If you enjoyed this article make sure to check Step Into Wedding Photography part 2 : Poses for the groom and groomsmen

16 magical pictures of Tibet

Tibet is one of my top list photography destinations and I often day dream about it looking at picture for inspiration. If you have visited, or would love to visit, Tibet then these images will certainly speak to your heart.

Photo by Nitin Joseph
Read more »

10 great examples of wave photography

Louie Imaging

Marcus Revertegat

Daniel Bos

Morgan Maassen

John McCormick

Geoff Quinn

Aziz J.Hayat

Bill Dalton

Matt Madden

Steve Garrington

You can always share any wave photography you did with the community through the comments. If you haven’t so far, I hope I inspired you enough.

Don’t stop shooting you will change with time

Each one of us tends to show only his best pictures and this is quite normal. However your best picture today might, and probably won’t, be your best picture of tomorrow.

I am amazed when I notice how much my taste and pictures have changed over time, I am not saying that I am good but I surely have improved. At least I am happy with my progress and this is very important.
Read more »

Photographing Sunrise at Mesa Arch

This is a guest post by Cliff Kolber from Kolber Photography

Cliff Kolber is a nature and travel photographer and writer based in Miami, Florida. He and his wife Doris have created a spectacular portfolio of images and articles from around the world, specializing in the Florida Everglades, the American Southwest and Antarctica. Make sure to visit their website at

Canyonlands National Park is an amazing array of red rock canyons sculpted from millions of years of erosion by the Colorado and the Green Rivers. The “Island in the Sky” region of Canyonlands is a huge plateau surrounded by the rivers. It is not really an island since the plateau is connected to the rest of the National Park by a very small neck of land.

The views overlooking the National Park from the Island in the Sky region are spectacular and well photographed over the years. One of those amazing views is at Mesa Arch at sunrise. The arch is located on the edge of a cliff about 1,000 feet above Canyonlands, and the underside of the arch lights up in reds and oranges as the sun rises.

You’ll want to arrive fairly early at Mesa Arch since there can be a crowd of photographers by sunrise. We stayed overnight in Moab and the drive is about an hour to the Mesa Arch parking lot. Sunrise was at 7:00 a.m. so we left Moab a little after 5 a.m. and arrived at the parking lot just after 6:00. That worked out well. From the parking lot it’s an easy ½ mile walk to the arch, and we were set up by 6:30. At sunrise there were a dozen photographers and space was becoming a premium.

Arriving well before sunrise also gives you a chance to shoot in pre-dawn light. This can produce some amazing images. Obviously a tripod is a requirement, and although I used a wide-angle 12-24 mm zoom lens for most of the sunrise shots at Mesa Arch, I also used a mid-range lens, 24-120 mm lens for pre-dawn shooting of the buttes in the distance, especially the Washer Woman Butte.

For proper exposure once the sun breaks the horizon, meter on the sky just above the arch. Normally for sunrise shots I’ll meter the sky about two or three sun globes away from the sun. But since there is so little space inside the arch, I chose to meter above the arch. Even though you could adjust exposure in Photoshop, it’s best to get it right in the camera. So to be safe, I bracketed my shots, one stop each way. Check the histogram to verify the exposure.

To get a sunburst effect around the sun, use manual mode and close down the lens aperture to a small opening. This will be around f/18 to f/22 (the higher the denominator the smaller the aperture). A small opening allows light sources to become a sunburst so the smaller the aperture the more of a sunburst effect will occur. Since a small aperture requires a longer exposure use a cable release and mirror lockup in addition to your tripod for the highest stability. It’s also a good idea not to use the smallest aperture setting since this can create aberrations on some lenses. I will generally use the next to smallest aperture setting.

Be sure to experiment with a variety of apertures, speeds, lenses and angles. Once the sun breaks the horizon you’ll have around four or five minutes of great light and that should give you enough time to shoot with different lenses, angles and apertures. Don’t stay static; think about shooting from at least two different locations if space and time allows.

Within 10 minutes after sunrise I had a camera full of images, the great show was over, and we headed back to the car. All in all, an incredible early morning shooting at Mesa Arch with some amazing keepers for the portfolio, some examples included below.

Remember when visiting the outdoors – leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures! And when you visit, remember to "pack it in and pack it out" — don’t litter and don’t damage anything. Leave the area as it was when you arrived and our natural lands will remain a memorable and rewarding experience for everyone.