Shelly Pate

Getting the Best Wedding Day Photos – Tips & Ideas for Wedding Photo Poses

couple exchanges rings during wedding ceremony

On your wedding day, you want to look good. Not just an ordinary-weekday-good, but one-of-the-most-important-days-of-your-life kind of good. Mostly, this is up to your hair and makeup artist combined with your clothing selections. The rest, falls to your photographer! It’s my job to help you feel comfortable in front of the camera and guide your movement so that you look great in every shot! These are my pro tips and wedding photo poses for getting the best wedding day photography!

What Makes Great Wedding Photoshoots

couple kisses during outdoor wedding ceremony

For starters, all of my clients receive a detailed guide that includes tips for being in front of the camera! The main points that I make for getting the best portraits on your wedding day center around comfort, movement, and timing.

Comfort & Movement

I know it can be overwhelming to be in front of a camera, so remember that there is no wrong way to do anything. It’s important that you just do what comes naturally without questioning yourselves because it’s the little imperfections that make it better!

  • Rule #1: lean into the camera, not away from it. We’ll be moving around a lot and leaning into the camera is what creates those money shots! 
  • Relax into every pose. You don’t want a death grip on each other. My rule of thumb is “if it bends, bend it,” meaning, loosening up your elbows, fingers, etc. Take a deep breath, relax your hands, and shake it out–literally if you need to! 
  • Even though there are some amazing wedding photo poses that I love, your best bet is to keep moving. Movements can be super small like swaying, running your fingers down your partner’s arm, caressing their hair, etc. 
  • Keep doing the prompt until your photographer says you can stop. If I tell you to “walk together towards me” or “snuggle up” then just keep going! I will move around you shooting from different angles being inspired by things y’all do on your own.
couple embraces underneath wedding veil doing wedding photo poses


When capturing photography wedding poses at an outdoor or backyard wedding, everything depends upon the weather and the lighting. The wedding day timeline basically determines the kinds of photos we can take! Always plan your timeline around the best lighting (I’m happy to help out with this!) keeping in mind the times of the year when the sun sets earlier.

couple kisses in green field besides mountains at farm wedding

Giving your photographer time lets them have the space to create those magical moments. You might only get surface-level photos (still beautiful but not as epic or creative) if you squeeze your wedding photo ideas into a short amount of time. Honestly, the bottom line is this is about you two so your photos together should get the time they deserve!

  • Sunset photos are my favorite–everything looks the most epic, dynamic and romantic with that golden light! At a minimum, the ceremony must start 1.5 hours before sunset so you can finish up at least one hour before sunset. Keep in mind when at a location with trees, that the sun will go behind them earlier in the day. It is important to block out at least 10-15 mins for these photos if not more.
couple embraces at sunset during outdoor wedding
  • Options: do a first look or a late afternoon ceremony so we have time for post-ceremony photos. If you aren’t doing a first look, we can take pre-wedding photos with separate sides of the wedding party and family then both together later in the day.
couple holds hands in green field besides mountains at farm wedding

The bottom line: this is about YOU TWO so your photos together should get the time they deserve!

Wedding Photo Poses with Larger Groups

Doing wedding photos with family and larger groups can take much longer than you might expect. Getting a group to migrate and gather then directing them in wedding photo poses requires strategy so here are some tips!

couple poses with family during forest wedding

Posing Family & The Wedding Party

  • Communication is key: be very clear about where they need to be at what time. If you know someone tends to run 10 mins late, then tell them an earlier time to arrive! 
  • Leave flexibility in the wedding timeline just in case anything runs more slowly than expected so that the rest of the wedding timeline events can go smoothly. 
  • Divide family photos up into smaller segments e.g. immediate family before the ceremony and extended groups afterwards.  
  • Ask other family members to refrain from taking photos during these larger shoots. Taking photos off to the side is fine, but sometimes I get crowded and the family looks at other cameras instead of mine.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating the Best Wedding Photo Poses

Wedding Photo Poses: DO’s

couple exchanges vows during outdoor wedding
  • Tell the officiant to step aside for the kiss: they should move before announcing the kiss so they are not in the process of moving during that big moment!
  • Have the groom dip the bride sideways!
  • Kiss down the aisle: stop halfway or at the end for a big cheer and kiss. This is always one of my favorite moments (same method if doing a sparkler, bubbles or other kind of exit).
couple kisses in aisle as wedding photo poses
  • Make your photos unique and stand out while also being true to yourselves by letting your personalities SHINE. Be spontaneous, and just do what comes naturally. If y’all love being silly together or you are more quiet then tell your photographer! Don’t worry about doing a prompt “wrong.” They are generalized so you do it in your own way!
  • Get to know your photographer: the more I know my clients, the easier it is to guide them into movements that feel like them.
  • Have those doing toasts stand by your table so I can capture both the speaker and your reactions.
  • Ask guests to be fully present and enjoy the ceremony with you by going unplugged (no phones out). Guests might step into the aisle or hold up their phone which could block a really important moment.

The more I know my clients, the easier it is to guide them into movements that FEEL like THEM.

Wedding Photo Poses: DON’TS

  • Sometimes, when folks are laughing they pull their chin down which creates this double chin. Try to avoid that!
  • Ladies: leave space between your arm and torso, don’t squish them together.
  • Let family and the wedding party know not to wear transition lenses because they can appear as sunglasses and hide the eyes.
  • Churches: make sure the preacher doesn’t block you if standing on the audience side.

Check out my Pinterest board for more wedding photo poses inspiration! 


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