Why Close to 40% of Brides Have REGRETS

I remember when my sister got married, she was absolutely ecstatic when she finally received her wedding photos.

As we pulled up her wedding photos to view the slideshow with our family and friends, I remember her having a huge smile, but suddenly the look on her face changed to disappointment as we got to the end of the preparation and portraits.

After the slideshow was finished, I asked why she had that look on her face, and she said, “You know… I honestly didn’t know at the time… but really thinking about it, I just didn’t like the way the photographer posed me for the portraits. I just don’t think I look very flattering or beautiful in those poses at all.”

What a disappointment.

To have that one day in your life in the most beautiful dress, but to not be happy with the way you are posed in the portraits.

From that day on, I made sure it was my mission to be a master in the art of posing brides and couples.

Sadly, a lot of photographers don’t understand that it’s not just about the beautiful compositions, backdrops, and even moments. Though those are all important, it is an absolute necessity to be a master in the art of posing to ensure the bride and the groom look absolutely dazzling on the best day of their life. 

So I decided to do some research

And I came across this study that mentioned that close to 40% of brides had regrets when it came to their wedding photos.

“Wow!” I thought to myself.

I couldn’t believe that percentage was so high!

I started digging deeper to really see the reasons why these brides were unhappy, and this is what I found…

  1. “Our photographer got drunk, and you can see the photos in the gallery getting blurrier and blurrier as you scroll through.”

2. “He just really didn’t seem to know what he was doing! He didn’t guide us during the portrait session and we’re just standing  there awkwardly!”

3. “She only captured moments of my husband and me, but not of our close friends and loved ones. That was really disappointing.”

   And that was just the tip of the iceberg…

I take pride in my work, and after seeing almost half of brides out there being extremely unhappy with the results they were getting from other so-called professional photographers, I couldn’t help but be extremely proud of what every single one of my couples has said about me.

Like David & Jesse said, “He was able to make us laugh and cry again as we were going through our gallery. We were able to see moments of the day from a whole new perspective. House Hopkins Photography is worth every dime, Byron puts his heart into each photo as if it was his own wedding.”

How to Look Your Best In Your Wedding Portraits

Posing is an ART. But understandably it's an art that a lot of couples are nervous about, and SADLY that a lot of so-called "professional" photographers actually don't know how to direct correctly.

So if you happen to have a photographer who doesn't know how to pose you with expertise and intention, what are a few things you should remember?

Here are a few pointers. I call these THE FOUNDATION of posing:

1. Imaginary String: 

First off you want to ensure that your spine is straight, but NOT stiff and unnatural. I often ask my couples to act as if there is a string on the back/top of their head pull-up. Have a straight spine and natural curve in your lumbar (lower back).

2. Shoulders:

Push your shoulders 1 inch back. This will further bring confidence and beauty to your pose.

3. Weight Distribution:

You want your weight distribution to be uneven or else your pose will look unnatural. There are two ways to do this. Either cross one leg over the other or put more weight on your back leg. Look at the photo below. Each of these techniques was used in this photo of Emma.

But what about posing the head, eyes, and hands?

Or making sure your portraits look authentic and not "posed" or “cheesy"?

Remember these are just the "foundations".

Let's go deeper into more techniques.

How to NOT Have CHEESY and FAKE Wedding Portraits

Even though wedding portraits are posed... no one wants portraits that LOOK posed. The more candid and authentic your portraits look the BETTER.

Now there are tons of ways to ensure this... but just in case you have a photographer who doesn't know what he's doing, here's one of the MAIN tips you can do.

I call it the NOSE X-FACTOR

So what is it? 

Imagine you have an imaginary line coming out of the tip of your nose and eyes.


When posing with your fiancé you always want those imaginary lines crossing making an X. Meaning you never want to look directly into the eyes of each other for the portrait. Why? 

It looks cheesy and fake.

So Instead of having my couples look at each other in the eyes, I'll have one of them turn their chin slightly to the side and down, and drop their eyes down.

This gives the portrait a more CANDID and AUTHENTIC touch.

So below is a version that is WRONG.

(that I did not take btw lol)

Fake and Cheesy

First. I did not take this photo. Notice how the imaginary lines DO NOT cross and make an X. There is no "Nose X-Factor". 

The truth is couples don't actually do this which is why it makes the portraits "look" posed... but photographers make couples do this ALL THE TIME.

Now check out how to do this

 the right way below.

The Nose X-Factor

Gives the portrait a sense of candidness. As if I caught them in a really beautiful moment.

So how about posing your hands, arms, and even your eyes?

Posing Your Hands and Eyes

I could write a book on how to pose hands and eyes... it's the photographer's job to not just "memorize" poses, but to learn how to "build" a pose for our brides and grooms.

But here a few pointers so you'll know what to do on your wedding day.

Cigarette Pose

The hands and arms can be used to lead attention to the right places. This cigarette pose (looks like she's holding a cigarette almost), leads the viewer's attention towards Alise's face but is also very natural and beautiful. With her other arm, we could either make it out of sight behind her or where it is across her waste also looks very natural.

Holding Something

When you hold something it naturally gives your hands something to do, but also brings attention to that object. Here I have Andi holding her dress which also is a beautiful way to lead attention and show it off.

 In this pose I also had her do the cigarette pose which for this particular case worked out beautifully. If there is nothing to hold and I see a pose that may look better with hands and arms NOT straight down, you can place one or two hands at the waist. 

Having your elbow at more than a 90-degree angle gives a more elegant pose than having it at 90 degrees or more.

Avoiding the "Floating Head”

Photographers who don't know how to pose the hands and arms often give brides and grooms what is called the floating head (what you don't want). It's when you have a close-up shot of the face, but no hands and arms in the photo.

You can use your hands and fingers to lead attention to where you want with a close-up. In this portrait, I wanted to lead attention to Megan's eyes and lips. So I gently directed her hands naturally in this position. As you can see, this portrait does not look forced or rigid even though the hands are in a place that you would not expect. This can enhance a close-up portrait in a really beautiful way.

Posing the Eyes

So where should you look? 

Where you look can dramatically change the feel of the portrait. As you can see in the first two photos I had the brides look down, giving an almost candid feel of the portrait. But no matter where you look, you want to avoid only seeing the "white" part of your eye.

In the portrait of Megan, I had her pay very close attention to the movement in the camera...


When you focus on something very hard, it triggers the Parietal Lobe in the brain. This brings out a VERY captivating look in the eyes.

Did you know there is a way you should walk in front of the camera? Don't worry here's an added gift for you.


How to Walk in Front of the Camera

In conclusion I've taught you:

1. The Foundations of Posing

2. How to Make Your Portraits NOT Cheesy

3. Posing Your Hands and Eyes

So you won't be the close to 40% of brides who have regrets about their wedding photographer. The crazy thing is... at this point you may know more about posing than most "professional" wedding photographers out there lol.

Today I'll teach you the correct way to WALK in front of the camera.

Remember how I talked about weight distribution for your portraits? It's the same thing for walking. If you walk normally, it's possible your portrait could look like a penguin walking.

So for the camera, what you want to do is walk as if you are walking in a straight line under you. 

This will change the weight distribution in your hips making them look much more flattering in the portrait. 

Look at the portrait to the right! That's the exact technique I had Alise and Scott do.