• Elizabeth Nelson

What pose is the right Pose?

Updated: Aug 8, 2018


From the engagement session all the way to the big day, posing can 'pose' some big problems. Some quick tips on what, both photographer and client, can bring to the table.


Since I am first and foremost a photographer, I am going to speak to all my other photogs out there who may be new or are well seasoned.


Imagine you have arrived to the location of the shoot. It is absolutely the best weather you could hope for and things seem to be going just about as good as they can. While you are waiting for your clients you are going back through the conversations you have had with them about their needs and wants for today's big shoot. Let's start off small and call this an engagement shoot.


Out of experience I usually encounter the weird sensation that I have forgotten all of my go to poses and the butterflies start flapping in my stomach. I whip out my handy-dandy smart phone and quickly browse through my Pinterest "pose" board in the hopes that it suddenly reawakens my knowledge of posing people in the most fun and flattering ways.


Now, let's take a beat and discuss nerves for a hot second. If you encounter the overwhelming sensation of anxiety right before the clients show up, it's ok! Make sure to breathe into those feelings and accept that you are maybe a little more nervous than you would like. Let the energy of your nervousness propel you into your session with smiles, great thoughts and overall confidence no matter the nerves. Because at the end of the day, your photos can be the most amazing, stellar pieces of art, but how you treated your clients during the shoot, is how you will be remembered.


So, now that you have conquered your nerves, let's get back to poses.


Every client you take on is going to have a different idea of how they want to look. Some will be very vocal about this and some will be very shy and you will have to read their body language in order to determine what they really want. Hopefully you will have had some time to discuss with them, prior to your session, what they are looking for. But if you haven't I like to stick to some very basic poses that almost everyone can nail.



Having your clients embrace is a very natural pose because it is something they do in their everyday lives. It is a good way to start out a session because you can very quickly tell if they are more comfortable with more intimate forms of PDA or if hugs and holding hands is as close as you are going to get. It is as simple as telling your couple to hug each other and then you start snapping away. In my experience I have had the couple look up at each other, smile and laugh, before hugging. Those are the moments that you want to capture because of their effortlessness.


When you want to get more creative with your posing, a very romantic way to show off the ring, is to ask your couple to face each other and then to have the woman place her hand on her fiancés cheek . In some cases, you can have the man lean his forehead down to hers which brings them closer together. It is a very sweet moment that the two get to share and that you, the photographer, get to capture.



One of my favorite poses is to do a "surprise" hug. In order to do this, have the man take a couple steps back and focus in on the women. The only real instruction I give is some advice on how to wrap his arms around her once he's surprised her. With this pose it can look as if he is choking her if the arm is up to high. Once we are all set I like to say,

"Ok, whenever you are ready"

and then let the magic happen.

Young couple laughing during their engagement session

Some couples will be very expressive and some will be a little more subdued, but I try this pose with all of the couples who are willing to try it out because, more often than not, it results in a priceless photo full of emotion.



Now, for all the couples out there who may be reading this, let's talk about what you can do to help out during your session. My first bit of advice is to speak up, even if you are shy or nervous. This is, after all, your photography session and if you are not happy with how the photos are coming out, or how you are being posed, please speak up. I know it can be awkward, but hopefully the photographer who you are working with is constantly checking in with you through out the session. I know that I always like to ask,

"Were there any specific poses you wanted?"

That way a conversation is started and if any poses have been left out, you are able to now bring it to your photographers attention and you get every last pose that you have been thinking about since the wedding planning started! It's a win win 😄


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Phoenix, Arizona  elizabeth@nelsoncinematic.com  480-268-5795

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