One of the most important parts of wedding photography is posing people during the formals. This is the time when you’ll be putting people, families, couples, and pairs in place to take formal or traditional shots of them. This typically happens just after the ceremony once you can wrangle all of the family together.

During this same time, you will want to photograph the wedding party, made up of the groomsmen and bridesmaids.  Often, there is the same number of each, so naturally, you will be posing them as pairs in some of the shots.

One of the questions I learned early on was to ask any pairs, “are you a couple?”  The reasons are many:

  • I don’t want to cause any uncomfortable situations that might be caused by a similar question, “are you married?”
  • I don’t want to pose people who are not a couple as if they are.  Telling him to put his hands on her waist could put them both in an uncomfortable situation. (brothers and sisters, cousins, etc.)
  • If they are a couple, then I want to pose them differently than I would a simple pair of people.
  • I don’t want any weird brother-sister combos happening where they look like a couple in my photos.

At all times, you will be posing pairs of people, whether it is during the formals or during the bridal party shots or the bride & groom. You have to get used to posing pairs and couples and practicing your verbal cues to get them into those positions.

I don’t at all recommend that you touch people to put them into a position.  At weddings, we are not shooing for a fashion magazine and you do not typically have rights to enter into someone’s private space.  Just remember, verbal cues are always better than physical ones.

Always Ask!

Outside of the bride and groom, I always ask “are you a couple” when I am posing couples. Obviously, there are times when I already know because they’ve told me or I spotted them making out earlier in the day. In those cases, I may not have to ask, but the rule here should be to find out FIRST!

Ask them if they are a couple and then pose accordingly. Often, in larger groups, I may ask everyone at once, “are any of you a couple?” Why do I ask in a group? Because in a bridal party, people may be standing beside who they walked down the aisle with rather than their significant other. It happens all the time, especially with the maid of honor and the best man.

What I mean is that you want to find legitimate couples and pose them together.  Even if they’re the best man, you don’t want to pose them with a bridesmaid that is not their significant other IF their actual significant other is in the group.  How uncomfortable is it to pose a person with a partner that’s not theirs?

Pose them with their significant other

In posing bridal parties, I pose people with their significant other FIRST, then I follow the hierarchy of the bridal party.  If a person is the MOH or the BM, and they have a significant other in the bridal party, then put them with their significant other rather than who they walked down the aisle with. This will go a long way for you in the future. You will get referrals in the future because you had the foresight to pose couples together rather than with another man or woman.