FAQ: 3 Easy Posing Tips ~ Chicago Wedding Photography

Hey guys!! This post has been on my mind for a while, and I finally have a minute to share!! Yay!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about different techniques I use during sessions to get clients comfortable and to create the photos I’m envisioning, while still having them look natural and genuine. There are lots of ways to do this, but for me it boiled down to these top three tips!



When describing to a client what you want them to do – think very carefully about what words you choose to use. For example, when I wanted client not to have big huge smiles for a few photos – I used to tell them “For this one, I want more of a straight face, serious look.” 

BUZZZ – WRONG!! (Pretend that’s the buzzer from Taboo going off in your ear! haha)

I actually didn’t want them to be serious, and I didn’t want their head to be straight at the camera – which is what they interpreted my direction as nearly every time! Instead, I realized (after many many people not understanding what I wanted) that it wasn’t their problem, it was the way I was describing what I wanted to them!

So instead of saying I wanted serious/straight faces… now I tell them something more along the lines of, “I want you guys to have kind of quiet smiles in this one. So your lips can be closed, but you look content and happy… in a calm, quiet, cozy way.” 

WHOA! See how much better that was?! I was amazed how quickly clients started to reply to that direction, and understand the look I was going for. I don’t want them to look serious, angry, or miserable – I still want them to look happy and content – just in a quieter way … so I had to make sure to explain that correctly by choosing the right words!

To go along with this tip – I always try to portray the emotion I’m looking to evoke in them by using my voice. For instance, if I want them to have a quieter, cozy, content moment – then I speak in a quieter, calmer voice. I encourage them to take a deep breath together and relax into the moment. All of these things help evoke the emotion I want out of them. On a flip side, if I want them to be all giggly/happy/smiley – then I can talk louder, and maybe tell a self-deprecating joke and smile/laugh along with them! All of these things help bring out the emotions you’re looking for since clients tend to mimic what you are doing!





Be conscious of what clients are doing with their heads! Some people have a tendency to tuck their chins into their necks when they smile (not flattering!), or lift their chin way up so they end up looking down their nose at the camera (also not flattering). Make sure you are aware of what they are doing and direct them to adjust into a more flattering position. Think of what a person’s head position says to you… For example, if someone’s head is tilted a bit to the left or right – they can look more approachable and relaxed. If someone has their head straight up and down, they can look more confident and powerful. There are lots of ways you can adjust someone’s chin, tilt of their head, and which way they’re looking to make for a better picture to portray the look you’re going for – and for the client to look like their best self.

Also, with couples it is important to be aware of what their head position says about their connection to each other. Leaning a head on someone’s shoulder, or tilting heads so they are leaning together can make a huge difference in the feel of an image.

Be aware of all of the above and adjust accordingly! 🙂





People so often worry about the pose or the look a client is making that they forget to worry about their hands and feet! The way someone is standing and the way they are holding their hands says SO MUCH about how they are feeling! Someone could appear to be perfectly relaxed at first glance, but then I’ll realize that they have their hands clenched into fists. Obviously they are feeling nervous and tense, and their hands are showing me that! I make sure to note to shake their hands out… maybe put a hand in a pocket, or to lightly press the tip of their middle finger and thumb together (like they are holding a tiny piece of lint or something) to create a more relaxed looking hand.

For couples – I think it looks so much more natural for them to have their hands on each other than to have them awkwardly at their side, or looking stand-offish. I keep an eye on that and adjust to create a more natural look and to make sure their hands aren’t telling a different story than the rest of them is.

Regarding feet – it is a very similar situation! Having feet planted firmly on the ground with knees straight can look much more tense and uptight than I want to portray in images. I always encourage women to put their feet together and bend one knee in front of the other, to tap one foot behind the other, or cross their legs at the ankles. For guys, I try to be more aware of how far apart their feet are. Sometimes they may be standing with their feet awkwardly close, and I’ll direct them to put their weight on one foot and let the other foot out a bit further to look more relaxed.

Again – these are tiny little things you may not realize are ruining the look you’re going for in an image. Make sure that you direct clients for all parts of their bodies so they look 100% comfortable and fabulous!




I hope this helped someone out there struggling with posing and directing their clients! Let me know if you have any questions! xoxo

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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!