wedding poses for the photographer
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Determining the best way to pose a subject—a way that
is simultaneously flattering, appropriate, and visually
appealing—can be one of the biggest challenges in designing
a successful portrait. This is especially true when creating
portraits of brides, where the photographer may be called
on to create anything from a very traditional head-andshoulders
pose to a more adventurous full-length look
straight out of the pages of a fashion magazine. Quite simply,
the variations are almost limitless—as is the pressure to perform
flawlessly throughout this once-in-a-lifetime event.
This collection is a visual sourcebook designed to address
exactly that problem. Filled with images by some of the
world’s most accomplished wedding photographers, it provides
a resource for professionals seeking inspiration for their
own work. Stuck on what to do with a particular bride or
unsure how to make use of a location? Flip through the sample
portraits, pick something you like, then adapt it as
needed to suit your tastes. Looking to spice up your work
with some new poses? Find a sample that appeals to you and
look for ways to implement it (or some element of it) with
one of your brides.
For ease of use, the portraits are grouped according to
how much of the subject is shown in the frame. Thus, the
book begins with head-and-shoulders portraits. Next are
waist-up portraits, featuring images that include the head
and shoulders, arms and hands, and at least some of the subject’s
torso.Moving on to three-quarter-length portraits, the
examples feature subjects shown from the head down to
mid-thigh or mid-calf. The balance of the book features fulllength
images—the most complex portraits to pose because
they include the entire body. Both the three-quarter- and
full-length portraits are additionally subdivided into poses
for standing subjects, seated subjects, and reclining subjects.
As much as possible, images are also grouped thematically
to demonstrate poses for photographing the bride with her
bouquet, displaying her rings, showing the back of the dress,
etc. In these subgroupings, it becomes particularly obvious
how even subtle posing changes can completely transform
an image—and how differently photographers can approach
the creative process of posing.
It can be difficult to remain creative day after day, year
after year, but sometimes all you need to break through a
slump is a little spark. In this book, you’ll find a plethora of
images designed to provide just that.

This section covers the fundamental rules of traditional posing—techniques
that are illustrated in many of the images in this book. While these rules are
often intentionally broken by contemporary photographers, most are cornerstones
for presenting the human form in a flattering way.
Portrait Lengths
There are three basic types of poses, each defined by how much of the length of
the subject’s body is included in the image. Head and shoulders portraits, or
headshots, show the subject’s head and shoulders. If the hands are lifted to a position
near the face, these may also be included. Waist-up portraits include the
subject’s head and shoulders along with at least some of the torso. In portraits of
women, these images are often cropped just below the bustline or at the waist.
(Waist-up portraits are sometimes considered a type of headshot.) Three-quarterlength
portraits show the subject from the head down to the mid-thigh or midcalf.
In some cases, one foot may be visible. Full-length portraits that show the
subject from the head down to the feet (or at least the ankles). In some cases, only
one foot may be visible.
When including less than the full body in the frame, it is recommended that you
avoid cropping at a joint (such as the knee or elbow); this creates an amputated
look. Instead, crop between joints.
Facial Views
The most flattering facial view depends on the bride, the lighting, and the mood
you are attempting to create.
In the full-face view, the subject’s nose is pointed at the camera. This is the
widest view of the face, so it may not be well suited to brides with rounder faces.
In the three-quarters view (sometimes called the two-thirds view), the subject’s
face is angled enough that one ear is hidden from the camera’s view. This is
a flattering, slimming view for most faces. In this pose, keep in mind that the far
eye will appear smaller than the near eye because it is farther away from the camera.
Also, be sure not to turn the head so far that the tip of the nose extends past
the line of the cheek or that the bridge of the nose obscures the far eye.
In the profile view, the subject’s head is turned 90 degrees to the camera.
When creating a profile, be sure to turn the bride’s face so that the far eye, eyebrow,
and eyelashes are obscured.
The Shoulders
The bride’s shoulders should usually be turned at an angle to the camera. Having
the shoulders face the camera directly makes her look wider than she really is and
can yield a static composition. With a slim bride, however, squaring the shoulders
to the camera can give the image an assertive mood that is quite appealing.
The Head
Tilting the Head. Tilting the head slightly produces diagonal lines that can help
a pose feel more dynamic. In portraits of women, the head is traditionally tilted
toward the near or high shoulder, but this rule is often broken. The best practice
is to tilt the bride’s head in the direction that most flatters her.
Chin Height. A medium chin height is desirable. If the chin is too high, the
bride may look conceited and her neck may appear elongated. If her chin is too
low, she may look timid and appear to have a double chin or no neck

Eyes. In almost all portraits, the eyes are the most important part of the face.
Typically, eyes look best when the eyelids border the iris. Turning the face slightly
away from the camera and directing the bride’s eyes back toward the camera reveals
more of the white of the eye, making her eyes look larger.
The bride’s arms should be separated at least slightly from her waist. This creates
a space that slims the appearance of her upper body. It also creates a triangular
base for the composition, leading the viewer’s eye up to her face. Additionally,
keep in mind that simply bending the elbows creates appealing diagonal lines in
your composition—and placing these carefully can help direct the viewer of the
image to the bride’s face.
Keep the hands at an angle to the lens to avoid distorting their size and shape.
Photographing the outer edge of the hand produces a more appealing look than
showing the back of the hand or the palm, which may look unnaturally large (especially
when close to the face). Additionally, it is usually advised that the hands
should be at different heights in the image. This creates a diagonal line that makes
the pose more dynamic.
Wrist. Bending the wrists slightly by lifting the hand (not allowing it to flop
down) creates an appealing curve that is particularly flattering in bridal portraits.
Fingers. Fingers look best when separated slightly. This gives them form and
Props. Hands are often easiest to pose when they have something to do—
either a prop to hold or something to rest upon. When photographing the bride
holding her bouquet, have her grasp it gently, or opt to hid her hands behind the
bouquet. When photographing the bride’s rings, give her something to rest her
hands upon (her lap, the back of a chair, etc.).
Selecting a pose that places the torso at an angle to the camera emphasizes the
shape of the chest and, depending on the lighting, enhances the form-revealing
shadows on the cleavage. Turning the shoulders square to the camera tends to
flatten and de-emphasize this area. Good posture, with the chest lifted and shoulders
dropped, is also critical to a flattering rendition.
Waist and Stomach
Separating the arms from the torso helps to slim the waist. In seated poses, a very
upright posture (almost to the point of arching the back) will help to flatten the
stomach area, as will selecting a standing pose rather than a seated one.
Although most brides wear full-length gowns, posing the legs properly remains
desirable because it impacts the posture of the entire body. Asking the bride to put
her weight on her back foot shifts the body slightly away from the camera for a
more flattering appearance than having the weight distributed evenly on both
feet. Having her slightly bend her front knee will also help to create a nice line on
the lower part of the gown.
Hips and Thighs
In some gowns, this area will naturally be concealed. If the bride has opted for a
gown that is fitted through the hips and thighs, pose her hips at an angle to the
camera and away from the main light. In a seated pose, have the bride shift her
weight onto one hip so that more of her rear is turned away from the camera.
Brides are often very proud of their shoes, but pictures of feet with the toes
pointed straight at the camera tend to look distorted. Instead, photograph the feet
at an angle to the camera—better yet, place them at two different angles to the
camera. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that at least one foot is turned enough
that the heel is shown.

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wedding photography Consett
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