Even though I’m known for a very photojournalistic style of wedding photography, I’ve always shot posed wedding photographs for clients who want that aspect of the day recording. My first major awards were with posed images including gold medals at WPPI and countless wedding photographer of the year awards with various photographic organisations during the 1990s.
Things have moved on somewhat since then, and today’s posed images are very relaxed and fit in well with my photojournalistic coverage.
How long do the posed wedding photographs take?
We’ve all heard the stories of photographers taking the couple off for a two-hour photo shoot. I had one of those on my wedding day, and it is a lot of work for the couple. Thankfully, I don’t take any more than 10-15 minutes from the wedding day to get the posed pictures.
The Manor House in the Cotswolds. This posed wedding photograph is about composition and mood. The building’s structure and the path add geometrical elements to the picture while the soft Autumn light brings mood and atmosphere.
The clients were away from their guests for just a few minutes and enjoyed their time alone together.
The gardens at Coombe Abbey. It was raining so we took the posed wedding photos under a tree. The rain softened the evening light to give a lovely mood to the image.
If my clients want an extended amount of time having posed wedding photographs, I’ll often suggest shooting them in the evening (time, weather, and schedule permitting).
Posed or staged?
When working with couples, there is a lot of crossover between posed and staged images. Depending on the location and the clients, I may favour one method over the other.
A wedding at Kinross House in Scotland. I’ve posed the bride to make use of the setting and the light. She wouldn’t normally stand like that without me asking her to do so.
A staged wedding photograph. It was a question of getting the bride and groom to walk a little way while holding hands. From camera, I directed them to look at across the field. The photograph feels more realistic than a posed wedding photo.
Taken earlier this month at Cleatham Hall in Lincolnshire.
Bucharest in Romania. I used an old building to give me the shapes and structure I needed for isolating the couple.
Another staged image. With a little bit of direction from the camera, it is simple to get photographs which match the personality of the couple, like in this image from Amsterdam.
A winter wedding at Rudding Park. As it’s cold and dark outside, we used the wedding car interior to take some posed wedding photos. The interior lights provide the illumination for a photograph which is relaxed and contemporary.
A posed wedding photograph to show the bride’s dress. The arch provides the geometry while the veil leads the eye into the back of the dress. Taken at Fyvie Castle in Scotland.
Shooting into a water feature gives a unique look to this image. It is interesting to incorporate elements of the location into the posed wedding photographs.
At the back of the Hurlingham Club in London. A wide-angle lens and a low angle can make any posed wedding photograph look completely different.
The best posed wedding photographs often incorporate the venue and location. At Belvoir Castle, it would be easy to overwhelm the couple with the sheer majesty of the building, but by giving them their own space within the composition, they retain their importance.
A winter wedding at Rise Hall. This posed wedding photograph was taken with the light from a large window. The picture took just seconds to set up.
A garden bench next to a wall at a wedding in London. I’ve posed the couple to make them look relaxed. Compositionally, the bodies form a nice triangle within the image.
Also in London, some direction from the camera gives a lovely, relaxed feel to this wedding photograph.