Steph Parker Photo’s Wedding & Portrait Posing Crash Course | Tuesday Tips

Tuesday Tips | Posing Crash Course

When I first got started in photographing weddings and couples, I used to think that I was very hands off when it came to posing my clients. I have myself classified as having a photojournalistic style on WeddingWire and The Knot. But it wasn’t until recently that I began to realize how misleading that statement can be to clients.

If I want to be really literal – yes. I am technically a photojournalistic photographer. However, so is every other wedding photographer. Or they should be. Photojournalists document life as it occurs. So moments such as your ceremony, cake cutting, and first dances? Those moments are documented in a photojournalistic style.

It wasn’t until just recently that I realized that I’m no longer a photojournalist when photographing couple portraits. I’m actually very hands on when it comes to posing my couples. I want my clients to look great in their photos and I know how to do that because I’ve trained myself to be a master at thoughtful posing. I’ve observed and trained with some fantastic photographers. I’ve even read books on posing because I wanted to become better.

Wow, guys. This ended up being a longer intro into my Tuesday Tips topic than I originally intended. You’ll learn that I have a back story for almost everything imaginable. I’m a talker.

I really want to focus on the different poses I use at each session. All of my clients will learn really early that I have three or four go-to poses. And guess what? They freakin’ rock! I kid you not, everyone looks great in these poses AND they aren’t stiff and traditional. Each and every pose I lead my clients into will give them the opportunity to naturally and intimately interact with each other.

Below, I’m going to name my poses in the exact way you’ll hear me refer to them during your portrait session or wedding. They’re pretty self-explanatory and really easy! Each couple is obviously different – in good ways! – and I always slightly alter these poses to fit the needs and abilities of each client. I’m also going to list them in the typical order I introduce them in at a session so there will be (almost) no surprises 🙂

1. Side by Side

Everyone needs this pose – it’s mom’s and grandma’s #1 favorite! This is an oldie, but a goodie and a great way to get warmed up. All you do is stand next to each other with your arms around your waists! I don’t ask my couples to look directly into the camera often, but on this shot, it’s a requirement. Big smiles, guys! After a few shots, I’ll ask you guys to look at each other and smile. Because, duh. You’re in love and you’re really happy!

2. Walking

This is as easy as it sounds. I’ll tell you guys to walk away from me – stop – turn around – now walk back. I typically throw in a walking “pose” towards the beginning of a session because it’s another great way to get warmed up and into the whole experience! During the walking “pose,” I ask that my couples look at each other, hold hands, and laugh and smile. And it never hurts to throw in a big kiss at the end!

3. Front to Front / Chest to Chest

After we do a few of you guys looking at the camera, I’ll transition you into a pose where you guys will be standing facing each other. This is my favorite pose! You’ll quickly learn this 🙂 The reason why I love chest to chest so much is because it gives my couples the opportunity to be the most natural and intimate with each other. This is when I get real smiles, romantic kisses, and genuine laughs! I always tell my couples to kiss when it feels right and they will never forget that after being told just once. I’ll still ask occasionally for you to kiss, but most likely, I won’t have to often.

4. Front to Back / Chest to Back

This pose can be so fun! Otherwise known as the prom pose, I always like to give this one a little twist to make it more intimate for my couples. I like to switch it up a bit during the session so the same person isn’t always in front, with their back to their loved one. This is one of the most fun poses for the cutesy, cuddly poses! Definitely, a goodie!

Other things you’ll hear me call out during a portrait session or during couple photos on the wedding day are: “nose to nose,” “forehead to forehead,” and “like Nicolas Sparks.” The first two are pretty easy to grasph, but a lot of people don’t know what I mean by “Nicolas Sparks.” Have you ever seen a book cover or movie poster for one of his romantic stories? It’s always of a couple that’s just almost kissing. So when I say, “do the Nicolas Sparks,” that’s what I mean!

Now, after this little crash course, I hope you feel a little bit more prepared for your session. If you haven’t yet, check out the rest of my Tuesday Tips posts for more useful info to prepare for your session or big day! 


All photos are © Steph Parker Photo.
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