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For Photographers | How to Plan A Styled Shoot

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For Photographers | How to Plan A Styled Shoot

When I first started out as a wedding photographer, I remember perusing my favorite photographers portfolios and wondering how they got to shoot so many incredible couples, beautiful weddings, and amazing locations. I longed for my business to get to a point where my portfolio was filled with my ideal weddings at my dream venues. I wondered for a long time how to photograph weddings like those. I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to wait for those weddings to come to me. 

If there's one thing you should know about being in this industry, it's that you have to make things happen. Sitting back and waiting for those weddings to come to me wasn't an option, so I decided to plan a styled shoot. At the time, I was in the process of moving to Tampa from Nashville, and  I knew moving to a new state would prove as an additional challenge, so I started reaching out to vendors very early in the process, introducing myself and letting them know that I would be coming to Florida soon and would love to meet and collaborate on some projects. By the time June rolled around, I already had a handful of vendors on board, and we started discussing our shoot!

Styled shoots can be so beneficial for everyone involved, as long as they are planned properly. It's a great way for you as a photographer to express your creativity, bring a concept to life, or work on your technical skills. Everyone donates their time, talent, and materials, and in return, we as photographers give them some amazing images for their portfolio, as well as being able to add them to our own portfolios. It's also a really great way to network with other professionals in the industry. I love styled shoots because it gives me an opportunity to work with so many different vendors that I can refer to my couples with authenticity and confidence. Being able to say that I have worked with those vendors helps tremendously! 

As you guys know, I have a passion for teaching, so the purpose of this post is to share my experience in putting together a styled wedding shoot and answering some of your questions. I hope this post can inspire at least one person to reach out and bring their creative ideas to life! 

Step 1: Decide on a concept or theme for your styled shoot.

So, it all starts with an idea. If you're anything like me, those ideas come to you in the middle of the night when you're trying your hardest to sleep and your brain just won't let you. I keep a small notebook and pen in my nightstand drawer for all those brilliant middle-of-the-night ideas, and I write them down so that I can remember them in the morning. I've even been known to doodle my ideas if I have a specific image that comes to mind. Sometimes, these ideas sit for a while, and other times, the shoot comes to life quickly. It all depends on the season, how busy I am with weddings, and what vendors I have on board. 

It's also important to keep in mind if your styled shoot has a seasonal theme, especially if you want to get your shoot published. A winter theme won't have as much relevance if it's ready to be submitted in the spring, so plan accordingly! 

The other thing to keep in mind when coming up with your concept is your ideal client. Ultimately, you want your styled shoot to attract the weddings you want to shoot, which means appealing to your target audience and creating a styled shoot that mirrors your dream weddings. For me, I like whimsical outdoor weddings with lots of details, natural light, and soft colors, so I try to keep those things in mind when coming up with a concept. Remember, your concept doesn't necessarily have to be a theme! It can be based off something as simple as a color or mood, style, location, or even a word! Get creative, and think outside the box!

Pinterest is a great tool for brainstorming. Don't be afraid to create a mood board based off your ideas! This is super helpful in sharing your ideas with the rest of the vendors involved once the planning process begins.  And remember, you're all working together, so be sure to allow your other vendors some creative freedom in the process! After all, you're working with them because you like their work and you trust them!

Paper Goods:  Kelly Milazzo ,  Florals:  Flower Child Florist , Tableware:  Southern Chairs

Paper Goods: Kelly Milazzo,  Florals: Flower Child Florist, Tableware: Southern Chairs

Step 2: Have a goal in mind.

What is it that you wish to accomplish with your styled shoot? Do you just want to add some new images to your portfolio to showcase the kinds of weddings you want to photograph? Do you want to get your styled shoot published on a wedding blog? Do you want to network with local vendors and get your name out there? Do you want to see an idea that you have come to life?  Your end goal will help guide the rest of your shoot, so it's important to figure out what you want out of it. 

Step 3: Figure out how involved you want to be.

There are two major levels of involvement when it comes to styled shoots, and it can honestly vary from shoot to shoot. Do you want to plan and execute the entire shoot, or are you more interested in having a planner bring your idea to life while you just concentrate on the photography aspect? Planning and executing your own shoot can be incredibly time-consuming, but the benefit is that you have complete control over the end result, and you can be sure that your vision comes to life exactly the way you imagined. It allows for a lot more creative freedom, but it does entail a lot more work. 

Paper Goods:  Kelly Milazzo ,  Cake:  Laurel & Oak Cake Design

Step 4: Reach out to vendors.

The vendors you need will ultimately depend on the styled shoot itself and how complex you plan on making it. The more vendors you involve, the more room you have to be creative, and the more reach you'll have in your local community! Do your research when reaching out to vendors and make sure that your styles correlate! This will help tremendously in the long run.  Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, one of my favorite things about styled shoots is collaborating with vendors and being able to then refer them to my clients, so it's important to make sure your target audience is the same. 

A few of the vendors you'll want to reach out to will include:

  • Wedding Planner
  • Venue
  • Models/Couple
  • Wardrobe/Bridal Shop
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Florist
  • Tables/Chairs/Table Settings/Linens/Other Rentals
  • Bakery
  • Paper Goods
  • Accesories

It's important to provide as many details as possible when reaching out to your vendors. If you plan on working with a wedding venue, you'll need to make sure they have a date available first. Prepare to execute your styled shoot during the week, especially if you plan to do it during wedding season, as weekends are usually reserved for weddings.

Be as specific as possible when reaching out to your vendors. Introduce yourself, send them a link to your work, give them details about the concept or theme, share your mood board with them, and explain to them what your goal is with the shoot! Let them know what other vendors you have on board already, and ask them if they have any other ideas or questions. Once you have your vendors lined up, be sure to keep them involved throughout the planning process and confirm details such as date, time, location, and what they will be providing. It never hurts to be too thorough in this case! It's never a bad idea to provide your contact number as well as getting your vendors contact number. 

I take it one step further with my styled shoots and I provide a timeline for the day, which includes the venue location and address, contact information for each vendor, and what time each vendor should arrive. I always allow for ample time to set up, because having more time to shoot is never a problem!

Venue:  The Orange Blossom Barn , Florals:  Flower Child Florist , Hair:  Cassandra Platinum , Makeup:  Krysten Strauser , Paper Goods:  Kelly Milazzo , Tableware:  Southern Chairs , Unicorn: Birdie Baby Boutique

Venue: The Orange Blossom Barn, Florals: Flower Child Florist, Hair: Cassandra Platinum, Makeup: Krysten Strauser, Paper Goods: Kelly Milazzo, Tableware: Southern Chairs, Unicorn: Birdie Baby Boutique

Step 5: Start collecting details.

If you are taking on the role of photographer and planner, it might be a good idea to start collecting any little details you need to bring your shoot to life, or coordinate with your vendors to see who can provide what. For one styled shoot, I took on the responsibility of planning the entire shoot, and I was responsible for everything on the tables except for the tableware. I spent weeks searching high and low on Amazon and Etsy, shopping at Target, and even perusing thrift stores for all the bits and pieces to bring the shoot to life. Be sure and keep any receipts for things you purchase, as some items can be returned after the shoot if they don't get used!

Another thing is to consider purchasing a styling board for your details! Heirloom Bindery sells these beautiful styling boards, or you can create your own like I did using canvas boards and fabric. It gives you an opportunity to create some really cohesive styled detail photos! I love using these boards to style my invitation suites, and if you can get your hands on your paper goods prior to the styled shoot, you'll have ample time to create some really cool images with them. Of course, if you're working with a stylist, they can take care of this on the day of, but having a variety of images never hurts. 

Step 6: Put together a shot list. 

I know that for most of us wedding photographers, it feels faux pas to work off a shot list. We educate our clients on a regular basis about how suffocating it is to work off of a shot list. For a styled shoot, however, I think it can definitely be helpful! The benefit to a styled shoot is that you have so much extra time to get creative, but there are so many pieces involved! It's easy to get caught up in it all, so creating a small shot list so you don't forget anything is key. It doesn't have to be a very thorough list, but it can be helpful to jot down some of your ideas!

Step 7: Shoot!

This one seems pretty obvious, but it's the most exciting part of the whole process! Seeing everything come together on the day of the styled shoot is so exciting! Be sure to arrive to the venue on time, and introduce yourself to each of the vendors involved! Have fun! 

Be sure to get lots of photos of every element for your vendors! This is SO important! Everyone has donated a lot of time and effort for this shoot, and the end product is ultimately your photographs! Get as may different angles and focal lengths as possible! Variety is never a bad thing.

One thing to consider on shoot day is to provide food or arrange to have food delivered during the shoot. Everyone is working hard that day and donating their time - fuel their brains with some carbs and make sure to stay hydrated! I even provide a cooler with adult beverages for my couples/models, in case they need a little liquid courage before jumping in front of the camera ;)


6. Share, share, share!

Once you've culled and edited your images from the styled shoot, it's time to show them to the world! Obviously, if you're going to submit your styled shoot for publication, it's important to try and keep the images off social media. Do your research and see which publications require exclusivity and which one's are okay with images being shared on social media before releasing them. Be clear and upfront with your vendors about your intentions with the images, and give them a timeline of when they can expect the images. I typically share 1-2 images from the shoot on social media, as most blogs that I submit to are okay with that, but be sure to clarify with the blogs you plan to submit to so you don't lessen your chances of being published.

7. Submit your styled shoot!

Getting your styled shoot published on a wedding blog is an excellent way to share your work, along with all the wonderful vendors you worked with, with tons of potential clients and other wedding industry professionals. Be mindful of which blogs require exclusivity, and don't get discouraged if your shoot isn't chosen to be published. Choose a blog who's style and aesthetic aligns with your own, and keep in mind the submission process is different for every blog! You may have to spend some extra time resizing images, writing descriptions, linking vendors, and reading about their submission guidelines. Submitting images for publication can be tedious, but it's worth it in the long run!

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For Photographers | Having a Full Time Job...and Being a Wedding Photographer

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For Photographers | Having a Full Time Job...and Being a Wedding Photographer

One of the questions I get asked most frequently by other photographers is how I was able to photograph weddings and go to nursing school full-time. I'm still not entirely sure how I managed to pull that off, but I did. I graduated from nursing school in May and now work full time as an RN in Tampa along with photographing weddings. 

Let's be honest, I didn't get a lot of sleep over the last four years of my life, but I did learn some things that helped me along the way. I've compiled some tips to help you juggle your work-life schedule and find some balance in the hectic world of being a college student who is also incredibly passionate about wedding photography. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

 

1. Get enough sleep

No, seriously. My first two years of school, I was up every night trying to cram information into my brain and editing pictures until three or four in the morning, and let me tell you, it wasn't healthy. I still struggle with getting enough sleep because my body got so used to only four hours a night at most. The nights that I would turn my computer off and close the books and go to bed by 10 PM were some of the best decisions of my school career. I would wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever came my way, whether it was school, work, or photography related. I was able to focus more, which in the long run allowed me more time to do what I needed to do because I wasn't sitting there reading the same paragraph over and over again trying to understand what my textbook was trying to tell me.

2. Set office hours. And stick to them.

When I started going to school and photographing weddings concurrently, I sent out a mass email to all of my clients, other vendors, wedding planners, etc. I let them know that my office hours would be changing and I also included it in my signature so that it was right there for anyone to see when I responded to an email. Having the weekends off wasn't out of the ordinary since I was usually photographing weddings, but I decided to also take Mondays off. This gave me a chance to catch up on anything wedding related after the weekend, and it also gave me a chance to study without feeling guilty for not responding to an email right away. I did extend my weekday hours however to make up for that day I was taking off. I also had some leniency and responded to some emails at 10 PM because I'm human and if I didn't do it then I would probably forget, but I tried not to make that a regular practice. I also utilize Boomerang for Gmail, which allowed me to schedule my emails to be sent at a designated time. Often times, I knew I would have emails to send, so I would write them whenever I had some downtime (Downtime?! What's that?!) and I could set them to send on whatever date and time I needed them.

At first I was nervous about taking a weekday off, but in the long run was a good move for my business and I have actually kept that policy in place since graduating. I still take Mondays off. I will say that doesn't necessarily mean that I wasn't working on something photography related, I just wasn't responding to emails on that day. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

 

3. Extend your turnaround time.

This was another one of those scary things that I had to do in order to keep myself sane during nursing school. In my contract, my turnaround time is 90 days. That seems like a really long time because it is. I didn't like the idea of my clients having to wait three months for their photographs after their wedding, but that deadline allowed me the time I needed if I got really busy or needed extra time to study for an exam. There were some weeks that I had exams every day and 12-hour clinicals and I was working a full time job as well, so it was nice knowing I wasn't going to be in breach of my contract if I needed a few extra days. I will say that I never needed all 90 days but it was nice to have that cushion if I needed it. Plus it was nice to be able to surprise my clients with their photos early when they were expecting them in three months! Underpromise, overdeliver!

4. Outsource your editing!

If you ask me what the best decision I made for my business was in the year 2016, it was outsourcing my editing. I had a really hard time with this. Like a really hard time. I am a control freak and I don't like giving up that control especially when it came to my clients photographs. I had tossed the idea around for a while and experimented with a few different companies but never found any but I trusted enough to use for all of my weddings. Along came Plus Minus Collective. Jack and Matt took every fear I had about letting someone else edit my photos and threw them out the window. I cannot recommend this outsourcing company enough. They took the time to get to know how I really edit, instead of just slapping a preset on my files and calling it a day. While the process to set up my account with them took a little longer, it was worth it in the long run, because every time I got a wedding back from them, I knew the images would look exactly the way I wanted them to look. Not only did outsourcing free up a lot of my time that I could use to study, but it allowed me to deliver my galleries a lot sooner than my clients anticipated, which was just an added bonus. Check them out if you're looking for an outsourcing company! Mention my name and you'll receive 20% off your first three jobs with them!

 

5. Keep it simple.

Photographing weddings and making sure my clients needs were met while drowning in nursing school was hard to balance. Answering emails from potential clients about packages and pricing can be very time consuming. Not to say I don't enjoy answering those questions and educating my clients, but there are only so many hours in the day. When I started nursing school I reformatted my website to include all of the information that a potential client would need in order to book with me. I included step-by-step instructions, full pricing and details, what to expect next, my availability, how to get a hold of me, etc. All of these things are on my website on one page, easy to find and easy to read. This usually meant that when a couple contacted me they already knew what package they wanted, how much it was going to cost them, and how to book me. More often than not, our first email exchange was the couple telling me they were ready to book, and maybe a few questions that they needed answered. The entire process was easy for me and for them, which meant I had more time to do what I needed to do. This is another thing that I have continue to implement in my business even after graduating. I don't get a lot of inquiries anymore but the ones that I do get are typically clients that are ready to book. This isn't necessarily a concept that everyone should implement in their business model, but it's something that works well for me. I'm a photographer, not a salesperson. It's easier for me to present exactly what I have to offer to my couples and not try to upsell them on other things. 

6. Know that it's okay to say no sometimes. 

Don't be afraid to say no – and that's coming from a people pleaser! When someone asks me for a favor, I say yes, no questions asked. I struggled with this concept of saying no sometimes for a while, but learning your limitations and learning how to say no will help you tremendously. Don't feel like you have to agree to everything all the time. Keep track of the things you have on your plate, and ask yourself if you really have time to do whatever it is your being asked, whether it's another wedding, a second shooting opportunity, or simply dinner out with friends. I promise you, your friends and family will be understanding to your situation. 

7. Have a solid support system. And lean on them. 

This is kind of a big one. When you're drowning in school and work and life and nothing seems to give...lean on your friends and family. I was incredibly blessed through school to have my best friends, my sweet man, and my family, who were all there for me when I needed them, whether it was to answer a question, to bring over a bottle of wine to unwind after an exam, or just to simply be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. Don't take these people for granted! 

IMG_4182-Edit.jpg

I hope some of this information helps you guys build your business and maintain your sanity throughout your school career and beyond! I implemented a lot of these things to help me find a balance during school, but I have kept a lot of them in place, even after graduating. I still work full time as a nurse outside of the photography industry, so these things help me keep that balance that I worked so hard to create. 

I'd love to hear how these tips have helped, or if you have anything to add! I always love hearing from other photographers how I was able to help! Feel free to leave a comment below! And good luck! There is a light at the end of the tunnel that is college, and I promise it's not an oncoming train.

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part III

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part III

Welcome to another installment of my posing guide for wedding photographers! I'm so excited about the feedback I've been getting on this series! 

The pose I'm sharing with you today is another great pose that I like to use often. You can get so many variations from a simple direction, and as you can see, I like to use it a lot! I usually get close ups and wider shots with this pose, and you'll see what kind of benefits that has as you keep reading!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

The easiest way to get started with this pose is to have the bride and groom standing next to each other. Remember how we had the bride and groom hold hands and walk towards you at the beginning of the session? This is a great segue into your next pose after having them walk! I'm all about easygoing and fluid posing during my sessions, so moving into this pose from walking feels almost natural for your couple! 

It's super easy to get them here, too! After you have them stop, simple ask the bride to take a slight step behind the groom's shoulder, so she's standing juuuuust behind him. Then ask her to wrap both of her hands around his arm and snuggle into it. Pro tip: Sometimes, it's a little bit easier to just show your couple what you mean. Ask the bride and groom if it's okay for you to step in, show them exactly what you're talking about, and watch the magic unfold after they see it!

Once your couple knows what you are asking of them, you might ask them to totally let go for a moment, then step back into this pose. More often than not, yo'll get a much more natural looking pose the second time around! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

From here, you have a few options - ask them to look at each other. Ask the bride to look at you, and ask the groom to look at his bride. Ask the bride to lean her head on his shoulder. The possibilities are endless. One of my favorites is to ask the groom to give the bride a little kiss on the forehead - I always get a nice sweet smile! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

This is also a great pose for getting up close and personal - I do love a good ring shot! Not only do you get to show off that beautiful diamond, but if you frame it properly, you can incorporate some of those details from the couples outfits to really bring it full circle and cohesive with the rest of your session!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

I hope these tips help you create an authentic and fun experience for your couples at your next session, and I hope you can add this tip to your bag of tricks!

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! I'm so thrilled to be starting this series on posing tips for photographers! I can't wait to share more!

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part Two
Posing Tips for Photographers: Family & Group Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Family Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Family Photos

As wedding photographers, we all know that the family photographs can be a daunting task on an already busy day. Managing the timeline, arranging multiple family members, making sure everyone is smiling and happy, working around family dynamics, and finding a spot that has good light and enough room for those larger groups...that's enough to stress any wedding photographer out! 

Deep breaths. 

Here's the thing. Family photographs, as much as we all tend to roll our eyes at them, are important. Let me say it again for the people in the back. FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS ARE IMPORTANT. We take hundred of beautiful photographs on a wedding day. Beautiful portraits of the bride and groom will be shared all over social media by the couple, posted on Instagram, blogged on our websites, and posted in The Wild Collective. They will be incorporated into an heirloom album, printed on canvas, and hung in the couples home. There's no shame in loving those beautiful portraits, or the intricate details. But the family photos...those are the ones that are really going to matter in ten years. Those family photos are the ones that are going to be printed and hung on the fridge and framed on the wall in many people's homes. These are the images that people are going to look back on someday and remember how they felt in that moment - happy, loved, and surrounded by the people that mean the most to them!

Changing my mindset about family photos was really a pivotal moment for me in my wedding photography. When I started taking the time to truly care about these images, instead of just trying to rush through them and get them done, I noticed that my couples started caring more about them, too. I do my best to try and get all of my family members together before I start taking these images, and I explain to them that these photos are important, and it's important for them to have fun and try to enjoy them. My spiel often sounds something like this:

"Okay guys! I know we've all done this family photo thing before, and I know you guys are all ready to get back to the reception and get your party on! Bear with me for just a few minutes while we get these going! Don't be afraid to have a little bit of fun with these! We're going to love on each other for a few minutes, we're going to throw our arms around each other other, and we're going to act like we like each other! We don't have to be stiff and boring. I want everybody's personalities to show in these pictures! These photos matter, y'all. Make it count!"

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

By taking the time to talk with all the family members before starting, it puts us all on the same page. It says to them "Hey, these are going to be quick and fun!" so when you start lining people up, they've got smiles on their faces, instead of looking like they are dreading every second of it. Make family photos an experience they will remember! 

One small thing that I learned to implement that really makes a difference in these photos is to get people touching - close up the gaps in between people, have them lean their heads in close together, have them throw their arms around each other, or wrap their arms around their partner. This small difference creates a feeling of connection and intimacy, and I think it makes a huge difference in the photos! In the two photos below, you can see where I had the bride's family line up on either side of her and snapped a quick shot of everyone looking at the camera. After I got the standard shot, I told everyone "Lean in! Love on each other a little bit!" and you can see where everyone got in a little closer and it makes the picture all that much more special. 

family photos wedding day tips
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

You can see here how having the bride and her sisters lean in to each other and touch their faces together really creates a sweet, intimate photo. I usually get a few frames of each group, and depending on their relationship, I usually get a pretty fun, silly one at the end. 

posing guide wedding photographer family photos
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
wedding photography posing guides

Another little tip to help improve your family photos is to have some of the members take their hands and place them on the person next to them. Below, I asked grandma to just squeeze on the bride a little bit. It brings everyone a little closer naturally, and it gives the family members something to 'do" with their hands. Anybody that works with me knows how much I dislike "dead hands!"

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

Another small thing that makes a big difference is having the guys unbutton their jackets if they are going to throw their arms around each other. I love these photos, because it really exemplifies that "guys just hanging out" feel, but when they leave their jackets buttoned, the lapels pooch out and it just looks funny! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

I hope these tips help you execute family photographs with a little more ease at your next wedding! As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! I'm so thrilled to be starting this series on posing tips for photographers! I can't wait to share more!
 

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part Two

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part II

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part II

I had such a great reaction to the first part of this series on posing for wedding photographers, and I'm so excited to share more! Today, we're getting up close and personal!

This is one of my signature images. If you look through my portfolio, you'll see images similar to these. Almost every blog post includes one. I like to get up close. When I tell my couples that I'm coming in for "the shot," they know what I'm talking about. All of my couples know that I'm gonna get all up in their business and make them snuggle.

I usually set this image up by having the couple stand next to each other. Sometimes, I have them both face the same directions, and sometimes I have them face each other. I'll take a few full length, standard shots of them looking at the camera, and from there, I'll come in closer and ask the groom to nuzzle the bride's temple. I usually ask them to giggle playfully or if I know the couple, I'll tell him to whisper something naughty in her ear. After I get them laughing, I tell him to whisper in her ear one reason why he's so excited to marry her. I can usually get two or three frames with totally different expressions here; usually one fun, laughing frame and often, a more serious, intimate one.

wedding photographer posing tips

Here's another version of my signature close up. For this frame, I have the couple face each other and ask the bride to look directly at me. If the groom doesn't automatically snuggle up to her (sometimes they do!) then I ask him to kiss her temple and say something sweet to her. As you can this from the examples, I use this one a lot. Like I said, it's kind of my signature!

The best part about this pose is that you can change it up and get so many variations! Try alternating between the bride and groom looking at you, looking down, closing their eyes, laughing, smiling, or anything else you can think of. Make it yours!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
wedding photography poses

I make it a point to try and get as many variations out of one pose as I can - as you can tell! Be sure to take a few minutes to step back and get some wider angles of this pose. Take in some of the scenery, get the brides whole dress, incorporate some of the elements in front of the couple to create layers  don't be afraid to get creative! My goal is create multiple, unique images that will also tell a cohesive story when I put together a wedding album for my couples, so being sure to get those wider angles at the same time really helps.  For context, I'm usually shooting this particular frame on my 35, which lets me get in super close without my lens having trouble focusing, but also allows for this nice, wide shot without much extra effort or having to change lenses and risk losing the moment. 

While we're talking about "the moment," I also want to point out that I'm not constantly posing my couples and directing them. Often times, I set them up facing each other, and talk with them for a few minutes, tell them they are doing a great job, how amazing they look, and really just observing them interacting. They say if you see a moment happen, you didn't capture it, so I make sure that my camera is up to my eye, on the ready at all times during portrait time. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

Another tip for this pose:

If the groom is taller than the bride, don't be afraid to have them sit down! For context, in the image below on the left, the groom was sitting in a chair facing me, and the bride was sitting on his lap, facing the side. She threw her arm over his shoulder, the light was perfect, and you can see the result was fabulous! 

posing ideas for wedding photographers
wedding photography poses engagement session poses
wedding couple posing

I'll be posting more for this series soon! Keep checking back for more, and as always, leave any questions or suggestions in the comments below!

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Family & Group Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part I

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part I

I've been wanting to start an education series for photographers on posing for a while now, and I think it's finally time! Over the years, I've squirreled away quite a few tips and tricks for getting genuine moments out of my couples while also making them feel comfortable in front of my camera. I think we as wedding photographers often forget that most couples haven't been photographed together by a professional, and it's our job to make the experience as easy and fun as possible for them! 

One easy, quick trick I learned when I started photographing couples was to start out with them walking! It seems simple, right? It's got a few advantages! For one, it allows your couple to kind of "loosen up" in front of the camera without it being right in front of their face right off the bat. It also allows for you to get some great wider angles that you might not think about after you get up close and personal. I do this at both engagement sessions and weddings, and I've included some examples in this post!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

For these shots, I have the couple hold hands and walk and look at each other. I always tell them we're going to do this a few times, and I tell them not to worry about the camera so much. I tell them to have a little fun, talk to each other, tell a joke, or just talk about their day. I'm not worried about their facial expressions so much as I am them getting comfortable.  

country engagement session
photography posing guide
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

After a few times of doing this, we start having a little more fun. I'll have the couple walk again, but I will give them more direction as to where to look. A lot of times, I very quickly run through a bunch of directions. I'll say "Look at me, look at each other, Katie look at me, Josh look at Katie, Katie look at me!" Not only does this give me a variety of facial expressions and poses, but it almost always elicits a laugh from the couple in the end!

Towards the end of this segment, I almost always have the couple walk closer to me each time, allowing me to fill my frame a little more and start focusing on the couple a little more. 

southern wedding engagement session couple camo

I hope this little tip helps you foster a great relationship with your couples and elicit some authentic moments! I'll be posting more tips and tricks for this series over the next few weeks! If you have any suggestions or questions, or just want to say hello, please leave them in the comments below!

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For Photographers | Get CLOSE!

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For Photographers | Get CLOSE!

If you asked me what my trademark look is, I would say that I get all up in my subjects business! I always tell my couples that I am going to get close during their wedding, with the ceremony typically being the exception. I love to shoot on fast, wide lenses (think wide focal lengths - the 35 is my favorite!) and tell my couples to get close. Often, I'll have the groom stand slightly behind the bride and whisper something silly in her ear - you can see how many playful, fun reactions this gets below - and the best part about this approach is that every couple reacts differently, so you never get the same photo twice, even though you're using the same tactic!

My intention to evoke some kind of emotion. Like I said above, normally I'm aiming for those fun, playful emotions, but sometimes, if the light is right and the surroundings allow for it, I'll go for a little bit of a softer, more peaceful image by setting up my couple the same way, but instead asking them to close their eyes, nuzzle into one another, and I usually have him whisper something sweet in her ear or ask one of them to tell the other something they are excited about in the future. Works like a charm!

You can see from my portfolio that I incorporate this close-up approach of shooting into every aspect of my style. It's not something I really attempted, I just started noticing a pattern in the images that I felt portrayed my brand. The important thing about these tips and tricks I provide is finding a way to make these work for the style that you shoot! Your milage may vary, but I would love to see what you come up with!

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For Photographers | Wedding Workflow Chart | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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For Photographers | Wedding Workflow Chart | Nashville Wedding Photographer

Organization is definitely my strong point. As a full-time nursing student juggling a wedding photography business, staying on top of things isn't just a priority, it's essential

Enter The Wedding Photographer's Workflow Chart.

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