Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait


The Wedding Story: Capture Creative and Authentic Photos


Lesson Info

Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait

Alright, we're gonna blow your mind with our posing, you guys ready, drum roll, boom, that's it. (laughter) We are extremely, extremely simply when it comes to posing. So we don't have a ton of variation, we are definitely not experts on posing, but we do know what works for us and what works for the photos that we need to get. A lot of time it's environmental, a lot of it has to do with light and that's what our posing is focused around. So facing each other is one variation, just kinda. Come to me, I have the more spot, okay. So, like this. Not this stiff, you want good stuff, but we'll save that. Then facing the light, so we have good light source here. We're gonna make it seem super cheesy. (laughter) And then separated so when they're small in the frame either walking like this together or walking forward together or playing with the veil, just anything that fills in the frame a little bit more. Mind blowing, right. (laughter) So, facing the light, we figure out wh...

at our environment looks like, we wanna showcase the turquoise water because we're in the Caribbean and then it's just about posing them for the light. We do prioritize the bride, which Daniel mentioned before, we want nice light on her and then we want the groom to just, often times this is what the pose ends up looking like, just be together, the bride stays in the light and then just be together, keep your hands connected and yeah, the rest is up to them. What is the most important with the pose is to make it believable. You wanna believe that the bride and groom love each other and that they're enjoying what they're doing and that they're not posing for the photo. And that is really what we try to bring out in the photos. Yeah, and it's tricky and sometimes we do a better job than others, especially when the light is very specific, so she's like, I wouldn't normally be staring at the light this way, but I need to do it for the photo. So it's something we really are constantly trying to work on and get better at and refine. Mhmm, it's especially important with silhouettes. It's easy to get them just looking straight and being very stiff with one another, but once you have the bride just chin up a little bit and really go into the groom with a little bit more intention, then it makes the pose a lot more believable. Yeah, that's kind of a tip for silhouettes that I try to think about is like, if the bride is reaching with her face then it feels like they're just going in for a kiss and then it seems like they're not just staring at each other blankly. So you can see that tension in her neck, even her mouth looks like she's ready to kiss. To me this is a silhouette that looks more believable, like they're actually having a moment. Yeah, silhouette where the pose is not believable, we slightly messed up here, we could have used that chin up and just lean in a little bit more. But we had a lot of elements that we were working with, so it didn't quite, quite come together. Which is unfortunate because everything else is there, but if she just had that tension in her neck that she was looking up at him I think it would just take it to the next level. Yeah, do you guys see how here it feels like they're just standing there versus the other photo where you really feel that they're having a moment together. They are standing on a small ledge and probably scared of falling off, so maybe that has something to do with it, that's our bad, I'll take it. Facing each other, always good for closeups. We often tell the bride and groom to just close your eyes, be with each other, really forget that we're there with our silent shutter on the Sonys, even easier to do. So they're really just, feel it and we're there to capture it very naturally as it happens. When there's backlight that often means that we'll be using this kind of pose, facing each other, it's kind of like a semi-silhouette. It allows that sunrise light to peek through and then the communication again. Just, guys, be with each other, stay there, we're waiting for stuff to happen around you and hoping that you don't get pooped on by these birds. (laughter) We're definitely very vocal as we're doing the portraits, we give a lot of positive reinforcement like, you guys look great, this is beautiful, like we want them to sense our excitement because it keeps their energy up instead of slouching, being discouraged by the process, while they're much more into it. And that is something that might not come naturally to you and it certainly didn't come naturally to us. Especially me. Really, I was gonna say especially me, but the more you do it, the more you get used to talking out loud and giving that feedback and then it feels a lot more natural. But at first you're like, you look wonderful, this is great and then eventually it's actually real. Yeah, along those same lines, if something isn't working out we'll never let the couple know because we don't want them to be discouraged by the process. So even if this photo wasn't working out, we would still keep clicking for a few minutes just to give that illusion that whatever we were doing worked out. Or to give it a real chance of working out. Yeah, that too, give that a real chance. But even if it doesn't come together, once we finish be like, you guys, this was great and let's carry on to the next thing. We would never tell them, eh, that was medium. You don't want them to feel that discouragement. What often happens with us is that he'll, if he's working on a shot he'll be like, that was great guys and then they'll start walking and I'll be like, was that actually great? But we speak French together a lot and a lot of our clients are anglophone so they don't understand us so in French I'll be like, (speaks in French). (laughter) And he'll be like, not really or whatever. For backlight, being together really works well together because the light that's actually hitting the front of their face is very even and very soft. So we don't need to pose them for the light, we just need the exposure to be for the front of them. Yeah, so it's really exposing for their faces, maybe a tad darker and then in post I do bring out their faces a little bit more. And in this case the one wild factor is the wind, the hair, that's all it's about, their moment and then allowing for the wind to blow her hair. The light is really what dictates our posing. Here we're dealing with backlight so this pose makes a lot of sense. When you have a couple who's doing really great, like these guys were awesome and I adored them and I would just be like, you guys, this is so beautiful, I love you guys so much, that's when I actually really get excited so the more, like when they're actually doing really great give them even extra feedback. And they were laughing at me because they were like, you're a little too excited right now, but it brings out even more and it just keeps going and then when you bring them into the next pose into the next spot they're like, we rocked that last one, let's do that again. So it's good to keep that energy going. And then for more environmental photos, walking, keeping them separated is usually what makes the most sense just because you want them to fill in the frame as much as possible given the fact that they're quite small, somewhere far away. Do you see that if they were just posed together tightly for the light that they just wouldn't stand out anymore, that pose wouldn't make sense for that space, right, and the shadows help here as well. It's a vineyard in Napa, this is in Greece. Same idea, we find the beautiful landscape and find a place for them to walk and create a little bit of separation between the two of them. This is, are you ready for a variation, this is a walking variation when he's carrying her. The same idea as the back lit, closer up portrait, here it's okay for them to be together because the light is controlled by our exposure really, it's nice and soft and even and the light's coming from the back so the pose doesn't matter as much here. We just wanna, again, make it believable. Him carrying and her cuddling into him, it makes their emotion very believable. Well in this case they did this on their own. We just told them we wanted them to walk back. That's right. So the important, no. Sorry. (laughter) The important thing is, even though we're always doing the same thing. They're either it's a separation pose, it's a together facing the light pose or it's a facing each other pose, we're doing this throughout their session and it feels really repetitive because we're constantly starting our posing in the same way, okay, guys, get together or face each other. But the important thing is that there are variations in there that you're using it in different ways. And we tell them that too, we tell them, these poses are gonna feel super repetitive, but we're using it in different ways, you guys are giving us something different every time so don't worry about it feeling repetitive. And what's very important, Max is about to share with us. Make sure the hands are always busy. (laughter) So that's my favorite one. Because of his little hands. But yes, keeping the hands busy, it's something we haven't brought up, but that you probably will have noticed in all of the other photos. Hands are so important. You don't connect with someone on a physical level by having dangling hands. You don't make out with someone with your arms dangling next to you, right, or anything else for that matter. So keeping the hands busy is what's going to make it believable. And we are often starting off our portrait sessions by telling our clients that. So, here are the rules, we're gonna pose you, if you're doing something great, or we're gonna not pose you, but we're gonna place you in a certain situation, if you're doing great you'll know, if we need to make an adjustment we'll make an adjustment. Only thing is, make sure you're connecting, make sure your hands are always busy. Yeah, so never in a pocket, never just dangling off to the side. Really on each other. Sometimes they'll forget and we'll just remind them, oh, guys, make sure you bring your hands together. Disconnected hands in portraits is my pet peeve and if ever I'm judging a contest and there's a portrait to me that is a deal breaker. If a couple is, we're trying to pretend like they're connecting and the grooms hands are in his pockets or they're just dangling, to me that is just not believable. I feel the photographer posing in that moment instead of believing they're actually having a moment. Same with two brides, make sure that the hands are with each other, it makes it look like they're actually enjoying being together, which I know they are. And then hands higher up, just around the neck. When we have a little bit of height difference here, the bride is standing on the sidewalk, it's a great time to really bring the hands up and really cuddle around the head a little bit more. Make sure that the groom also has his hands around her waist. Hands, it's like faking a smile. You convince other people that you're happy and eventually you believe that you're happy. Hands are kind of the same thing. It's like, it looks like, to an outsider that you're actually connecting with the person more, but also the act of having your hands connected to your partner will make you feel more connected. You had a question. So I think hands is probably tricky for every photographer and I find that I'll tell a client, oh, put your hand on his shoulder and she'll be like, you know, claw hands. So do you find that people tend to over articulate what you're asking them to do and then how do you bring that back? Because I feel like with this picture it's beautiful, but I feel like she could very easily it could turn into like the claw hand, yeah, exactly. That's a great question and I think that we've been guilty of this, of over posing and I think you have to step back and just be like, keep your hands buys or put your arms around each other and just give a loose direction and then it'll be more natural because it, it will look more natural because it actually is natural. So here we won't be like, put your finger on his face, put your arm around his neck, but also put your thumb on his face, like that, she's doing that on her own and that's what makes it natural. And also by giving them the whole, keep your hands busy right at the beginning it means they're aware of it so as soon as we tell them like, face each other and put your arms around each other they remember the hands being busy thing and they'll just naturally make their hands buys. And then if it looks weird then we'll adjust or whatever. Often times we'll act out the pose either with one another. Yes, that's really fun. (laughter) Or I'll act it with the groom. That's amazing. If the bride was doing a bad job here I'd be like, no, no, move aside, let me show you and, you know, just do it myself. (laughter) But it does help for them to have a really strong visual of what it should look like it definitely helps.

Class Description

Wedding Photography is a hard and sometimes exhausting business. Finding ways to stay creative while continuing to capture timeless and classic imagery is important. Drawing from their own life experiences, Davina and Daniel Kudish capture the subtle nuances of their client's life stories at every wedding. In this course, they’ll discuss techniques to personalize each individual wedding to capture the stories and moments that make each couple unique.

They’ll discuss the formula to capturing stories and teach:

  • Pre-Wedding Conversation techniques with clients to help build your shot list
  • Utilize what you know about each couple to help approach capturing the day
  • Research and location scouting techniques
  • Capture the details that matter most
  • How to work with various lighting situations
  • Preserve the mood and capture natural moments
  • Composition and Framing
  • Shooting with variety
  • Create personal and creative portraits
  • Edit a slideshow and how to create an album

Davina and Daniel are known for capturing creative portraits and important moments that tell every unique love story. Join them to learn how to implement their formula to find and capture the creative story with every client.


1Class Introduction 2What Are "Epic" Images? 3The Slideshow Formula 4First Client Meeting 5Establish Client Relationship 6Expectation vs Preparation 7Pre-Wedding Checklist 8Gear for Photographing Weddings 9Capture The Subtleties 10Show The Connection 11Importance of Capturing Transitions 12Sidelines & Story Telling Details 13Anticipation & Patience 14Let The Scene Develop 15Sequencing in Numbers 16Successful "Anticipatience" 17Examples of Poor Reaction Time 18HTCG in 10 19Giving Direction 20Have Variety With Light & Composition 21Capture The Mood 22Take Advantage of Natural Light 23Be Creative With Video Light 24On-camera Flash For The Dance Floor 25Find Flattering Ambient Light 26Don't be Afraid of Tough Light 27Composition & Framing 28Lens Choice 29Keep it Simple 30Purpose of the Creative Portrait 31Scouting for the Creative Portrait 32Maximize a Location 33Unique Posing for a Creative Portrait 34Experiment with Your Photography 35Make The Image Personal 36Post Production Overview 37Stay Organized in Post Production 38Full Gallery Edits 39Lightroom Workflow Overview 40Bring Out Detail in Lightroom 41Black & White in Lightroom 42Landscape Images in Lightroom 43Bold Images in Lightroom 44Slideshow Edits 45Importance of The Slideshow 46Selecting Slideshow Images For a Large Wedding 47Culling Slideshow Images for a Large Wedding 48Complete Slideshow Example for a Large Wedding 49Slideshow Images for a Small Wedding 50Complete Slideshow Example for a Small Wedding 51Build a Business Around Storytelling 52Portfolio for Clients 53Importance of The Inquiry Reply 54Price List Best Practices 55How to Price Your Work 56Final Thoughts


a Creativelive Student

Holy Moly! I have been very familiar with Davina & Daniel for several years and I also work closely with Image Salon for the past 3 years. I loved their relatability, raw honesty, human connection, and their teaching method. It was also super helpful to see the GoPro footage on a real wedding day and walk through their thought process with them. A refreshing wind of inspiration has now flooded my mind and attitude. I am excited to begin my 8th year of weddings with a clear mind and full heart. These two are the REAL deal and I am so happy I made this investment. Thanks, CL for always bringing the BEST of the BEST.

a Creativelive Student

I’ve been following Davina and Daniel’s work for years and suffice it to say, they are in my top 6 all time favorites. I was so excited to watch this creative live and it didn’t disappoint. From their approach to shooting through the moments, to their stunning locales and minimalist gear, there is something for everyone in this class. Both Daniel and Davina have a tremendous knowledge of photography and their willingness to share and educate is second to none. Oh, and just so you know, they are also the nicest people on the planet. Super sweet, amazingly talented. Thanks for having them on.

a Creativelive Student

Davina and Daniel are fantastic presenters as well as an exceptional photo team (plus they are super nice people, too!). I love their approach and methods and felt like there is so much value in this course. Even though I've been photographing for a long time, I took away a lot of great value gems from their course and look forward to applying several to my own business!