40% of Brides Have Regrets with Wedding Photos
I remember when my wife and I got married, she happy and excited when we had finally received our wedding photos. As we went through our collection I remember her having a huge smile, but suddenly the look on her face changed to disappointment as we got to the end of the photos of her getting ready.
After we got through the collection, I asked why she had that look on her face, and she said, “You know… I honestly didn’t know at the time… but really thinking about it, I just didn’t like the way our photographer posed me for the portraits. I just don’t think I look very flattering or beautiful in those poses at all.”
What a disappointment.
To have that one day in your life in the most beautiful dress, but to not be happy with the way you are posed in the portraits. From that day on, I made sure it was my mission to be a master in the art of posing brides and couples.
Sadly, a lot of photographers don’t understand that it’s not just about the the beautiful compositions, backdrops, and even moments. Though those are all important, it is an absolute necessity to be a master in the art of posing to ensure the bride and the groom look absolutely dazzling on the best day of their life.
So I decided to do some research. And I came across this study that mentioned that close to 40% of brides had regrets when it came to their wedding photos.
“Wow!” I thought to myself. I couldn’t believe that percentage was so high!
I started digging deeper to really see the reasons why these brides we’re unhappy, and this is what I found…
“Our photographer got drunk, and you can see the photos in the gallery getting blurrier and blurrier as you scroll through.”
“He just really didn’t seem to know what he was doing! He didn’t guide us during the portrait session and we we’re just standing there awkwardly!”
“She only captured moments of my husband and I, but not of our close friends and loved ones. That was really disappointing.”
And that was just the tip of the iceberg…
I take pride in my work, and after seeing almost half of brides out their being extremely unhappy with the results they were getting from other so called professional photographers, I couldn’t help but be extremely proud of what every single one of my couples have said about me.
Like Sarah and John who said, “He was able to make us laugh and cry again as we were going through our gallery. We were able to see moments of the day from a whole new perspective. Bryan Michael Photography is worth every dime, Bryan puts his heart into each photo as if it was his own wedding.”
It was such an amazing honor to give them and many others this experience.
How to Look Your Best In Your Wedding Portraits
Posing is an art. But understandably it's an art that a lot of couples are nervous about, and sadly that a lot of so-called "professional" photographers actually don't know how to direct correctly.
So if you happen to have a photographer who doesn't know how to pose you with expertise and intention, what are a few things you should remember? Here are a few pointers.
I call these THE FOUNDATIONS of posing:
Imaginary String: First off you want to ensure that your spine is straight, but NOT stiff and unnatural. I often ask my couples to act as if there is a string on the back/top of their head pull up. Have a straight spine and natural curve in you lumbar (lower back).
Shoulders: Push your shoulders 1 inch back. This will further bring confidence and beauty in your pose.
Weight Distribution: You want your weight distribution to be uneven or else your pose will look unnatural. There are two ways to do this. Either cross one leg over the other or put more weight on your back leg. Look at the photo here. Each of these techniques were used on this photo of April.
You don't want cheesy and fake looking photos!
How to Not Have Cheesy and Fake Wedding Portraits
Even though wedding portraits are posed... no one wants portraits that look posed. The more candid and authentic your portraits look the better. Now there are tons of ways to ensure this... but just in case you have a photographer who doesn't know what he's doing, here's one of the main tips you can do.
I call it the NOSE X-FACTOR. So what is it? Imagine you have an imaginary line coming out of the tip of your nose and eyes. When posing with your fiance you always want those imaginary lines crossing making an X. Meaning you never want to look directly in the eyes of each other for the portrait. Why? It looks cheesy and fake. So Instead of having my couples look at each other in the eyes, I'll have one of them turn their chin slightly to the side and down, and drop their eyes down. This gives the portrait a more candid and authentic touch.
Notice how the imaginary lines do not cross and make an X. There is no "Nose X-Factor". The truth is couples don't actually do this which is why it makes the portraits "look" posed... but photographers make couples do this all the time. I did not take the cheesy photo! I took the nice one :)
The Nose X-Factor gives the portrait a sense of candid. As if I caught them in a real beautiful moment.
But what about posing the head, eyes, and hands?
Posing Your Hands and Eyes
I could write a book on how to pose hands and eyes... it's the photographers job to not just "memorize" poses, but to learn how to "build" a pose for our brides and grooms.
But here a few pointers so you'll know what to do on your wedding day.
The hands and arms can be used to lead attention to the right places. With this cigarette pose (looks like she's holding a cigarette almost), it leads the viewers attention towards Chelsea's face, but is also very natural and beautiful. With her other arm we could either make it out of sight behind her, or where it is across her waste also looks very natural.
When you hold something it naturally gives your hands something to do, but also brings attention to that object. Often I will have my brides hold their dress which also is a beautiful way to lead attention and show it off. Combine this technique with a cigarette pose for a beautiful look. You can place one or two hands at the waist. Having your elbow at more than a 90 degree angle gives a more elegant pose than having it at 90 degrees or more.
Avoiding the "Floating Head"
Photographers who don't know how to pose the hands and arms often give brides and grooms what is called the floating head (what you don't want). It's when you have a close up shot of the face, but no hands and arms in the photo. You can use hands and fingers to lead attention to where you want with a close up. In this portrait I wanted to lead attention to Chelsea's eyes and lips. So I gently directed her hands naturally in this position. As you can see, this portrait does not look forced or rigid even though the hands are in a place that you would not expect. This can enhance a close up portrait in a really beautiful way.
Posing the Eyes
So where should you look? Where you look can dramatically change the feel of the portrait. No matter where you look, you want to avoid only seeing the "white" part of your eye. In the portrait of Chelsea, I had her pay very close attention to the movement in the camera... Why? When you focus on something very hard, it triggers the Parietal Lobe in the brain. This brings out a VERY captivating look in the eyes.
Did you know there is a way you should walk in front of the camera?
The Correct Way to Walk in Front of the Camera
Remember how I talked about weight distribution for your portraits?
It's the same thing for walking. If you walk normally, it's possible your portraits could look like a penguin walking.
So for the camera, what you want to do is walk as if you are walking on a straight line under you. This will change the weight distribution in your hips making it look much more flattering in the portrait.
You also want to forget about the photographer while you are doing your slow walk. Take this time to connect with each other. Tell each other sweet nothing or something funny. Love each other as much as you can for your 2 min. walk!
Look at the portrait there! That's the exact technique I had Kristin and Phil do.