If there’s an aspect of wedding photography that is guaranteed to make any groom squirm it’s posing. And I totally sympathise. Even as an experienced photographer just hearing the word “pose” makes me itch.
Here’s the truth: no one wants to be in front of a camera except models, and that’s because they’re paid to do it. In fact I bet a huge amount of models curse their photogenic genes and wish they would be taken seriously. We’re pack animals who love the safety of the group and that’s why a normally sane person will often pull out a ridiculous face when they realise they’ve been singled out by a camera. It’s a defense mechanism. And sometimes tequila.
But despite the daunting prospect of a wedding photographer following you around for a day, you’ll want some images that capture just how dapper you looked. The key is not to wait until you’re asked to pose but to always look photogenic as some of the best photos from a wedding day are the candids. So stay one step ahead of the photographer and be prepared for the candids. Achieving this is easier than you think and here are a few simple tips that will ensure you look as smooth as Derek Zoolander’s favourite orange mocca frappuccino without the need to break out Blue Steel.
And I don’t mean run for the hills. Great portraits often involve great shapes and silhouettes. These in turn come from simple things like buttoning your suit jacket to pull in your waist and accentuate your chest. If you have a beer gut it’s still better to have the jacket buttoned, especially if you’re wearing a white shirt which will only draw attention to it. Your posture and angle to the camera will reduce any bulges.
Despite being pretty useful hands can look really unusual in photos, particularly when they’re just hanging limp. So always give your hands something to do. Straightening your tie, adjusting your cufflinks and buttoning your jacket all look fantastic in photos. If you’re having photos with your bride, place one hand around her waist or nestled in the small of her back, and slip the other in your trouser pocket. It’s a really cool look.
When you’re standing with your groomsmen go for hands in pockets or hands behind your back. These are smart looking poses that hide your hands and reduce the need to clasp them in front of you like a soccer player facing a free kick. And if you’re wearing sunnies hide those too; eyes are the first thing people engage with when they look at a photo.
In more than one sense of the word. Firstly, the verb. Give a guy a wall and he’ll lean on it, so one thing I like to do for groom portraits is to give them something to lean on, be it a wall, a fence or a post. This helps them to relax and automatically do things like cross their arms or ankles which creates a more dynamic shape. A lot of great candids come from the photographer spotting the boys leaning and chilling out so give your photographer some ammo and they’ll do the rest.
Secondly, the adjective. Standing legs apart with hand in pockets is a very powerful pose and certainly good for a bit of variation in your collection of images. But a wedding is about elegance so looking lean will give you an air of refinement and ensure you don’t dominate the images of you and your missus.
Appearing lean is all about being conscious of the silhouette you’re creating. Standing face on to the camera makes you appear broader and possibly aggressive so try standing side on or at 45 degrees to the photographer. These stances will also reduce or eliminate any clear space between your legs, further enhancing the impression of a svelte physique. When it comes to walking, simply imagine you’re walking a tightrope and place each step directly in front of the other. This way instead of rocking from side to side you will instantly have an elegant silhouette when photographed from either the front or rear.
And finally breathe deeply to inflate your chest, lengthen your neck to straighten your posture, and pushing your chin forward and slightly down will help to eliminate the double chin.
For more ideas on how to not pose and to see some of my tips in action, I highly recommend checking out this behind the scenes video for MJ Bale’s latest look book:
[vimeo width=”550″ height=”450″]http://vimeo.com/73281406[/vimeo]
Images by Milton Gan Photography
About Milton Gan Photography: Milton Gan combines his artistic flair, eye for detail, and passions for love, style and elegance to create a finely crafted photographic experience for each and every one of his clients.