Wedding Photography Secrets – Directing Couples

Brandi Potter is a Wedding Photographer based in Louisville, KY. Here are her top secrets when it comes to directing couples for their portraits.

Written by Brandi Potter – Louisville, KY

1. Get to know your clients

I know there are a lot of people out there that just show up at a wedding, but I do like to build some sort of relationship with the people that I work with. As someone who is VERY introverted, it helps me as much as it helps my clients feel comfortable with having me be a constant presence on their wedding day. It can be really unsettling having a camera shoved in your face all day, especially when the average person doesn’t have professional photos taken very often. So getting to know the couples, even on a basic level can help minimize some of the awkwardness and build trust.

2. Reading Body Language

I never want to put my couples into awkward or uncomfortable positions. If they aren’t comfortable that’s going to reflect in their photos. I normally ask them what their comfort level is when it comes to being close in front of me, or what type of photos in my portfolio they really like. If they seem uncomfortable during any part of the process, I switch it up. This also helps so you can tell when your couples are done with portraits, instead of pushing them.

3. Watching for Natural Movements

I really love to put my clients into a pose, and let them naturally move together. I want them to be THEM, not an overly staged version of themselves. If I see them move a certain way that looks good on camera, I’ll have them repeat it. I want posing to be a collaborative effort on both of our parts. Anytime you see a photo that looks “still” it’s likely that I still had them moving around and interacting with one another to make sure the photos look like them, and not something unnatural.

4. Don’t Have Your Couples Fake Anything

One time I was at a wedding, and the groom looked at me and asked if they could do one of those “fake” running photos that I do. I had thought that I had vetted them and explained my process during their consult, but apparently I didn’t do a good enough job. If you have your clients fake movements it will look awkward and posed. I actually have people run, jump, spin, play, and move naturally for everything. I tell them to not think about it too much, and to just do the movements. Sometimes these photos don’t work out, but the majority of the time I end up with really fun playful images of people enjoying one another.

5. Communicating When It Comes to Trying New Things?

I do quite a few creative photos. Any time I have an idea that might seem weird or out there I try to communicate with my clients in a way that explains what I’m doing, but also gives them an out if they want it. Walking them through my thought process normally helps them see my vision and eases them into it. I’m also not shy about sharing the back of my camera so they can see what we are working towards.

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I never intended to be a wedding photographer, or a photographer for that matter. I didn’t know that it could be a real career choice until I started doing it. I am a destination wedding photographer that travels all over for work. I’ve worked in some of the most beautiful spots in the country (and world) and love every moment of it.

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