Portrait sessions are the most creative time we can spend together. Whether its an engagement, during your wedding day, or a lifestyle solo shoot, it's when we get to play and have the most fun. If I’m shooting couples, my main goal is to showcase your unique emotion for each other. This can translate to a few different styles that are catered towards your personalities. Every couple is different so I will chat with you about what you’re most drawn to from the different styles showcased on my website. That might be the intimate candids, fine art look, or experimental. Each style however has a certain element of posing in them, of which I will help direct you through. My highest priority in all of these styles is to stay clear of a traditional cheesy vibe. I love natural connection, natural poses, and natural expressions. Unless we’re specifically shooting a style that is a bit more fine art or experimental/abstract, most of my portraits are in the intimate candid range. This means that when it comes to posing, it's not so much as how you position your bodies together, but how you interact with each other.
So, here are my tips for posing to help you get the best out of your session together:
- Don’t look directly into my lens unless otherwise directed to. IF you have you look into my lens, it will only be one of you and definitely not both (on rare occasions I might make an exception). Nothing screams cheesy portrait more than having a couple locked in a prom pose and smiling right at the lens. We can, and will, do better than that!
- Don’t look right at each other. This is another instinctual go-to for many couples during a session- A prom pose while leaning back and looking at each other smiling. NEVER do this as a static pose- it's another one way ticket to Cheese Fest. If it happens naturally during a fluid moment of embracing and laughter, then totally fine, because that's real moment that I can capture. But seeing it forced into action is like nails on a chalkboard.
- Use your connection points. These are your hands, shoulders, knees, cheeks, forehead, hips, etc. How do you naturally hang on each other when you can’t stop touching one another? How do you relax into each other when taking in beautiful scenery? How do you engage each other when telling a hilarious story? How do you huddle up for warmth outside when it's cold? The human body is capable of so much expression and emotion especially when there are two bodies that compliment each other. You have homework now – I want you to take note of how you answer the above questions and practice them together prior to our session. Use a mirror. Vary your positions and placement of your connection points. Keep it fluid and playful. The more motion there is, the more varied the results and natural looking your portraits will be. It will be awkward and wonderful but this is a winning recipe for real and honest emotion. And don’t worry, I will still be there to guide and direct you!
- Kissing is the laziest expression of love for couples photography. Bold words, but I stand my ground. Kissing is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I don’t mind a shot or two of my couples kissing, as that's very natural. But, it can be a downward spiral where couples go to their safe place during a session and just try and make out the whole time. This ties into #1 and #2 above. Think outside the box when it comes to showing emotion for one another. How you touch and interact with each other is far more powerful than a simple kiss. You know whats better than a kiss? Almost a kiss. Nuzzling. Creating that anticipation for the viewer. Leaving us wanting more and seeing a connection so strong that you know it's coming and you’re not in a rush to get there because of its inevitability. That's how strong your love is.
- Smiling is hard. Especially if it's forced. Natural smiles are responses to positive energy that comes in many forms. How do we make that happen during our session? By trying not to smile! By embracing that awkwardness and bursting into silly laughter with each other. By whispering dirty secrets into each other’s ears that only you can hear. By being the goofball deep inside of you and letting it out. Or by simply embracing why you are choosing this partner in your life and really connecting with that emotion deep inside. Close your eyes, think about what drives you crazy in love with your partner, then channel that feeling. My job is to capture these tiny fractional moments in between all this and deliver a refreshing and honest expression between you two.
- Guys naturally suck at posing. It's a harsh truth. Unless you’re a model, most guys I work with have a harder time figuring out how to pose themselves and show emotion. Usually they’re the ones trying to go for the prom poses or the kissing photos. All of us (yes, including me) need extra practice, so see #3 above. There are usually two types of guys when it comes to the portrait session; the ones who are into it and the ones who aren’t. The ones who are into it naturally express themselves with their partner much easier than the ones who aren’t. I can spot the ones who are a mile away. Disconnected. Rolling their eyes. Emotionally stagnant. Looking at their watch. Bored. Here’s my advice to you guys who aren’t into it: Get Over It. No, really. Take my advice to heart and open yourself up to something new. Be adventurous and show your partner that you’re worth it and 100% into connecting with them on every level. This is imagery that will last a lifetime and beyond. That will be handed down to younger generations and treasured. Its an hour of your life. I have faith in you. You can do this. But you’re going to have to be willing to broaden your horizons for that one hour. And it will be so worth it in the end, I promise you!