Natural vs Posed

Hein and Amy leave their reception, completely oblivious to the camera pointed their direction

Browse through a few wedding photography portfolios and you will notice that there are two distinct styles or approaches to wedding photography. On one end of the scale, there is the photo journalist approach, where the photographer fades into the background, capturing natural moments as they happen. The second approach is the posed approach where pictures are setup by the photographer to re-create the feelings and emotions of the wedding day.

Both approaches can produce excellent pictures as well as disasters.

A photographer who captures moments as they happen without interfering may find themselves at a less-then-ideal angle as the special moment happens. Even worse, they may miss the moment completely.

A photographer who poses or recreates scenes may soon discover a “formula” for wedding photography, resulting in stale and often cheesy pictures. Think of all the wedding photography out there with the couple holding a picture frame or sitting on a suitcase with a just married sign or even worse, a black and white image with certain items in colour.

What we have found to work best is a combination of the two approaches. Certain parts of the wedding, like the ceremony and the reception lend themselves to a journalistic approach. The posed approach works well with  other parts of the wedding, like the formals and getting ready.

Varying Degrees of Posing

In our opinion, a wedding photo should never look posed.

The challenge when posing an image is to make it look natural, like the moment happened at the exact time the photographer “happened” to be there.

In meeting with couples before their wedding  day, they will often tell us that they need a lot of help posing. The advice we give all couples is to simply enjoy each other and their day, have fun and forget that we are even there. In that relaxed, happy state, great poses come about naturally.


A "posed" picture of Pete and Lee, enjoying their day.