Posing for Bridal Party Photography

Posing is one of those words that I really never liked. It always reminds me of some uncomfortable pretzel style positioning where every finger, hand, toe is placed just right and really so much just right that the person being photographed looks as uncomfortable as they can be. When I pose my bride and grooms for their images together they are always done in a very natural and really organic way. I observe how they interact together, what hot buttons really make each other smile and then direct them so that even though the images are posed they look natural and have emotion and feeling along with being in good light from a flattering angle. I am working on some in-depth reviews of what I do for couples and bride & groom posing so stay tuned for some real examples.

Today though I wanted to chat a little bit about posing the bridal party and point out a few examples. First of all I have never been a fan of lining people up in a straight row. There is nothing more boring in my mind that people standing straight in a line. But many times you are working on a very tight schedule and don’t have a lot to work with at the location. So how can you position people in a more creative way? Here are a few tips that I hope will help you out.

First I always look for props or someplace that I can sit people down or use to create some different levels to the scene. Maybe it’s just a chair or two to sit people on, or a bench anything that I can use to create a little bit of depth i’ll look out for first. In the shot below there was a small corner area with a sectional couch, the part I really liked about the scene was the form in the background. It had a interesting design and was very strong feeling, so perfect for this set of guys. I want the groom to be the very center of attention and focus so have him sitting right on the edge of the coffee table and the spread out the rest of the guys so that they have some space in between them. I always want people to look as comfortable as possible and natural as possible so will tell them to sit in a way that they normally would, and if that looks awkward then i’ll give them a few tips on how to “sit and look cool” (while keeping the mood light and not making them uncomfortable by posing every inch of their body.

posing for bridal party

Next I like to let people interact with each other to break up where they are looking at. With everyone focused straight on the camera the image can have a very dry feel to them. You always have to have a few with everyone looking at the camera but after I get those shots done it’s time to have fun and create some more information images that really show the personality of the bridal party. This is also a great way to create triangles in the image which really help with having a composition pleasing to the eye. I’ll cover some composition tips from classical painting and triangles very soon so stay tuned.

Also remember to turn peoples bodies, especially the girls to be angled slightly instead of fully parallel to the camera. This will always slim down their looks and give their body a better shape.

bridal party posing

I always want to photograph people different compared to anyone else, we all have a unique personality and style and I want that to come through in the images. Some groups of guys are more soft than other and some or more tough so I keep that in mind while setting up shots. Here I wanted a much more tough guy look to the image and lined them up in 2 simple rows using the chairs. Shooting them at a really low angle and having them be ultra relaxed gives me the look that I was going for. Also by turning the chairs at slightly different angles it helps to make the image a little more dynamic. Even though the image is just 2 rows with the slight tilt to the shot and the chairs angled different there is a dynamic feel to the photo.

bridal party posing ideas

Sometimes you have to line them up, but when you do it doesn’t always have to be in a formal and dry way with everyone standing with perfect posture and turned just the right way towards the camera. Here I wanted to photograph the girls against this great wall of color and had nothing to sit anyone on. So I had them group together really close and do a nice big group hug. Encouraging them to get closer while laughing and joking with them let this great moment happen. Some people might have this as a b-roll image or maybe even delete it since hardly anyone is looking at the camera but for me and my style this is perfect, it has emotion, depth and lots of feeling to it.

bridal part posing

And last remember to let them have fun. The composition isn’t great in this image at all, the bride wanted to jump into the tub so we let her jump on in and grouped the girls around her real quick. Sometimes you might not be able to create the best composition in the world but if you let the group have fun and do a few things they want to do you will create memories for them that are real and bring them so much more joy years down the road than a perfect staged group shot will.

bridal party posing

I am going to be writing a bunch of more articles on posing and composition tips for portraits coming soon. If you don’t subscribe to our email newsletter to be notified of future posts just enter your email at the top right. I’ll never spam you and you won’t miss a article!

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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3 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this, thank you. I think it is so important to get some spark of character and emotion into the formal shots as you say but not an easy thing to do. Your suggestion of using simple props like a chairs helps to break up lines – I generally find it quite easy to get a group of girls to giggle and interact naturally for the shot but much harder the boys – any suggestions??

  2. For the guys I focus on capturing their personality which usually isn’t giggling but them just hanging out, messing around, or acting cool. Whatever really defines this group of guys.

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