Wedding Photography – Couple Action & Interaction 101
Two photographs with couples in similar body positions can take on two very different moods simply by tweaking the interaction within the photograph. There are some actions and interactions which are more awkward for some clients, while others simply require a “warm-up” period before you start getting into the more intimate interactions.
If I find that a client is embarrassed by any of the interactions, I either start slowly and give them a less intimate interaction or I turn my back under the pretense of “changing a lens or a memory card” or “checking something” for a minute or two to allow them to warm up to one another.
• Looking at the Camera: Some couples will naturally lean away from each other—unless that is the look that I am going for, I usually have to tweak this interaction and ask them to go cheek-to-cheek or to get closer to one another. “Snuggle in” is the term that I use. I don’t create many portraits of them looking at the camera, but it’s helpful to have a few.
• Forehead to Forehead: This is another easy one because it can be performed in front of friends and family without embarrassment. The other nice thing about this interaction is that it gets them really close together, and they usually end up laughing because they are in so close. Most of the time I will tweak this pose by having them close their eyes.
• Cuddle: There’s a lot of mileage in this interaction—whether it’s the side cuddle, back cuddle, or front cuddle, it’s really easy to ask them to just “cuddle.” Occasionally I will ask them to close their eyes and rotate their heads toward me just a touch, so that I can actually see both of their faces without having them look at the camera or be straight on to the camera. I also try to connect them at as many points as I possibly can.
• Kiss on the Forehead: This is a great one if you have a groom who is significantly taller than the bride. You will get a different feeling in the photograph by changing up what you ask the bride to do—if she closes her eyes, then you will create a more intimate portrait. If she opens her eyes and looks straight at the camera while his eyes are closed, you will create something a bit bolder.
• Kiss: My favorite, and one of the easiest to ask for. Don’t be afraid to tweak the kiss by having them change their head positions— remember, you want to avoid making it look like one person is eating the other person’s face and you want to make sure that you aren’t hiding one person.
• Movement: Another easy one, this one gives a lot of variety as you can shoot them moving away or towards you, fast or slow, walking, skipping, jumping or running. I tell them that I don’t want them to look at the camera, but that I would prefer that they talk to and look at one another, interacting with each other rather than the camera.
• Holding Hands: An easy stationary position to accomplish, you can tweak the mood by changing the distance they are from one another, and whether they are looking at each other, looking at you, or in different directions. If you don’t like the mood of the photograph you are taking, simply change their distance from one another and where they are looking.
• Head on Shoulder: Sometimes the side-cuddle ends up at this position— occasionally, though, it is easier just to ask for this position in the first place, especially if you have a couple that needs more direction.
• One Looking at the Camera, One Not: This is another position that can be combined with some of the others, or it can stand just as well on its own. The mood of this shot will be affected by whether the person looking at the camera has a huge grin or is serious.
• Detail Shot with the Couple as a Backdrop: This is another one of my favorites. When I refer to “detail,” I don’t necessarily mean the details from the wedding, although those are good too. Almost anything can be used as a detail—the rocks on the beach, the flowers growing by the side of the road, or the antique car. Most of the time my detail shots are taken with a very shallow depth of field so that the detail is in sharp focus and the couple is pleasantly out of focus.
Excerpted from The Wedding Photography Field Guide by Michelle Turner ©2011 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.