To pose or not to pose, that is the question!
The idea of ‘posed’ or ‘natural’ photos is a topic that comes up a lot when couples think about their wedding day photography. Should they go for a photographer who has posed or natural photos in their portfolio?
But what are ‘posed’ or ‘natural’ photos? It might seem obvious at first but lets explore them in a bit more detail!
Couples interested in my work usually say they like my photos because they are ‘natural’ and that they don’t like ‘posed’ photos. Therefore, do I NOT pose couples and are ALL of my photos completely natural? Definitely not!
Let’s clear up this confusion
I think the trend in Asian wedding photography has shifted in recent years. In particular, from more ‘posed’ shots to a more ‘natural’ style. I’m mainly talking about the couple or portrait shots here, not the general coverage of the day.
This shift in style isn’t just about whether the photos are posed or natural though. It also has a lot to do with the lighting, mood and emotion of the shot too.
You CAN have natural ‘posed’ shots. Below, you will see the couples are actually posed. However, the fun emotion and smiles of the shots makes them look more natural!
Therefore, it’s more to do with the perception of ‘posed’ shots being misunderstood.
An example of posed portraits might be something like the shots below. The shot on the left could be said to look more ‘posed’, because it is! But a few jokes and then BOOM, on the right we have a more ‘natural’ shot!
The same applies to group shots as well…
I think ‘directed’ or ‘guided’ would be a better word for ‘posed’. Not many couples, unless they’re full time models, know what to do in front of the camera at first. So there is always some guidance or direction to a certain extent. Bringing out the emotion in the photos is a skill the photographer should have when they are ‘posing’ a couple, to make it look more ‘natural’.
Come to the dark side?
Whether an image is darker or lighter overall also plays a factor. ‘Fine art’ style shots are generally darker (below left). This was very popular but seems to be going out of fashion in the UK Asian wedding scene (just my opinion!) The lighter shots (below right) are less ‘arty’ but the emotion and fun are generally the main, overriding feature.
I think they can also be distinguished as one style being ‘static’ (posed, still) and the other being more ‘mobile’ (natural, moving).
So is ‘posed’ or ‘natural’ better?
There’s no one style which is ‘better’ than the other, it’s really down to personal preference. I actually love both styles! But as the ‘lighter’, more natural style has become popular, I personally show this more in my portfolio to attract couples wanting less ‘posed’ shots and more ‘natural’ shots!
So the couple has a good variety, I love to get both types of shot. An example of this is below…
In the left photo the couple are walking hand in hand and enjoying a ‘natural’ moment. The photo on the right is a more ‘posed’, intimate photo. But most importantly the couple loved both!
Whatever your preference is, make sure you research a photographer’s portfolio thoroughly. Don’t make a decision based on a few hero Instagram shots! Ask to see their whole day coverage, so you can make sure their style and skill is consistent throughout the day. Ask them if they lean towards more posed or natural shots. It’s important to capture the whole story of the day!
‘Emotion’ is key to posed OR natural photos…
As for posed or natural photos on your wedding day, check that your photographer has your preferred style in their portfolio. The ability to show emotion in their photos is also a good skill to have! You don’t want to look like mannequins in all your portraits!
Also remember to have fun and enjoy yourselves! There is no right or wrong way. Don’t try to conform to what you think you have to look like. Most importantly, choose a photographer that understands YOU as a couple. That way they will know how to bring out the best of your personalities in front of the camera!
Hello! This is Ed from Ed Pereira Photography and I’m a wedding photographer based near London.
I’ve been a full-time wedding photographer for about 7 years now and have photographed weddings across the world. I take pride in creating elegant, artist images for my couples, as well as being friendly and approachable.
I also love to travel and have been to 55 countries at this time of writing!