How do you deal with a stiff bride and groom when it comes to the portrait time?
Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but they all boil down to the same thing: familiarize yourself with the people you’re photographing and do whatever you can to get them to relax, to know that this isn’t serious time, this is a time to let loose and be themselves. Here are a few things you can do…
1. Most weddings go on in the summer, so if you see that your bride is perspiring a bit, tell the groom to kiss her forehead. He’ll make a face, and they’ll usually get a laugh out of this. Be prepared to snap a picture of them laughing!
2. Have the groom nuzzle the bride’s neck from behind. This will tickle, causing her to laugh. The groom will usually laugh along with her. Once again, what you are looking to snap is not the pose, but the reactions of the couple to the pose.
3. Have the couple standing facing each other, get them to close their eyes, and ask them to kiss each other. They can’t see, so they’ll probably miss. Maybe they’ll drop a kiss on the nose, maybe they’ll kiss an eyelid. Invariably, they’ll start laughing. Be sure not to miss the moment.
4. If all these fail, switch to “romance” mode instead of “laughter”, and have them get into more intimate positions, such as the bride putting her arms around the groom’s neck and the groom’s arms around her waist. Another bonus pose you can move into from here is to ask the groom to kiss her on the cheek and ask the bride to not let him do it. This is pretty much a guaranteed way to get them to laugh.
5. Moving back into the romance mode, 9 times out of 10, the bride is the more photogenic of the two. Put your focus on her eyes, have him kiss her on her cheek or her neck or shoulder while she looks into the camera. Move around them so that you’re behind the groom, and have them embrace and take a picture of the bride’s expression.
6. A great set up that you should always do is “the walk”. Have the bride and groom stroll away from you. At this point you can snap away freely as they will probably be holding hands and just relaxing with each other. When they’re far enough, tell them to stop and walk back towards you. Snap away again.
The rule of thumb is to get your clients to be as relaxed as they can be, and part of how you do this is to behave in a warm, friendly manner. Remember to praise them, even if the shots don’t look good. You want to make them feel good, like the camera loves them. Don’t make faces when you look at the pictures on the view finder, don’t ever let them know that a pose isn’t working. Tell them, “That’s great! Now let’s try a new pose…”