Posing, Direction & How it Adds Value to your Portraits

October 3, 2022

One thing I hear from almost every client before we work together is “Hannah, I’m going to need you to direct us because we’re a little ____ (awkward, shy, fill in the blank…) in front of the camera.” To which my gut response is always a “Wait, did you think I was going to leave you hanging?!”

Let me assure you: that is 100% a photographers job to guide their clients in posing and direction that adds value while leading the couple into a moment they can capture. That pressure shouldn’t be on you, friend! 😉

I don’t buy when people say they’re too awkward for the camera or not “photogenic”.  It’s wild that we have convinced ourselves of that. Sure, some people feel more natural in front of the camera but unless you model professionally and that is “your thing” I don’t expect anyone to show up to a shoot ready to roll without any assistance/needing creative direction! What I think we actually mean when we’re expressing this is that we’re looking for guidance to feel more comfortable. When you’re comfortable that leads to confidence and honestly your photographer really sets the tone for creating that space for you!

My heart for today’s blog is

1. Debunk the myth that you’re the only one who is looking for guidance when it comes to having your portraits taken and 2. to give you an inside look at how photographers approach intentional posing and direction that adds value to their subject to create portraits that evoke emotion and tell the story. Whether it’s shooting a campaign for a brand or capturing sweet couples I imagine the number one question perspective clients have before choosing a photographer is if they will be able to capture them, their product, or business authentically. They probably want to know the “How” and be able to envision themselves in the experience first before investing, and heck I would be the same too!

I thought it would be fun to walk you through a wedding gallery and give some examples on how I approach this personally. 😊

posing direction adds value bride and groom

Let’s dive in


The first thing I do before creating anything with my clients is this–> GET TO KNOW THEM. Their story, personality, brand, or product. When I’m photographing couples I want their personality + style to shine through and their particular brand of love to be captured. If I’m working with a brand I want their story portraits to visually translate their service or brand mission. One way I do this is by sending every client a pre-shoot questionnaire to hone in on their story, style, what they value most in their portrait experience, etc. This lays the foundation for choosing a shoot location that compliments what I’m shooting and helps create a custom portrait experience for each of my clients.

How I approach posing for each client

When it comes to capturing my clients I’m less interested in giving them a set of specific poses but instead focusing on leading them into a moment through intentional posing and direction that adds value. For example, when I’m photographing couples I will often give them activities to do/provide prompts that end up evoking a particular emotion and feels true to them.

It’s important to set the atmosphere in the beginning of your session for your client’s need to feel themselves & good in their own skin because the more comfortable they feel, the better you’ll be able to photograph their true selves.

Posing to feature: location

Becky and Collin had a separate portrait location from their ceremony + reception venue, so we really wanted to emphasize the cathedral & it’s unique architecture while shooting here and the way it specifically resonated with B + C. The timeless romantic feel paired with the sunshine bursting through the arched staircase felt like the essence of their style & sweet love.

bride and groom hugging smiling cathedral

posing direction adds value bride and groom golden hour

Posing to feature: their love

If I could pick one emotion to describe these two together it would be “joy”. It’s warm, inviting, and beams like a bright light when they are together. As I was capturing their bride & groom portraits, giving them prompts that evoked their playful love and contagious joy was my focus.

bride and groom hugging smiling cathedral posing direction adds value black and white happy couple bride and groom dancing holding hands cathedral posing direction adds value bride and groom holding hands

Posing to feature : personality

One thing I learned about Becky + Collin is they are HUGE foodies. Whether it’s fine dining, checking out fun new restaurants in the city or simply a fast food date these two love a good foodie moment. The perfect example of this is their beautiful dinner experience at their wedding reception and then ending the evening with their late night snack of choice! Becky is a biiiiig Popeyes fan so this was a fun way we added some of their personality into their wedding portraits…Just waiting for Popeyes to sponsor them. 😉

bride and groom smiling foodiesposing direction adds value bride and groom kissing


xoxo, Hannah




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your sunshine girl

MEET Hannah

cozying up in a coffeeshop, never missing a sunset, being my couples #1 fan

If you're looking for a hype girl to guide you throughout your portrait experience, create an atmosphere for you to feel genuinely good in your skin and want to walk away having created *core memories* with the love of your life that you'll be reminded of whenever you flip through your photos? You're absolutely in the right place, friend!


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