Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding photographer & educator serving Charlottesville VA & DC. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!

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A Breakdown of My Photography Posing System

January 12, 2021

One of the BIGGEST things that I struggled with while becoming a wedding and portrait photographer was posing! As you get the hang of shooting in manual, figuring out your lighting & composition then you throw in making sure that your clients are as comfortable as possible in front of the camera – and it quickly becomes a lot!

In today’s video, I’m going to break down my posing system so you never blank on a session again! I walk you through EXACTLY how I pose my couples at engagement sessions:

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1. Start with a pep talk before you break out the camera!

The experience starts before they actually step in front of the camera! I always send my couples an email the week before to confirm their session, give helpful tips for choosing their outfits using my engagement session style guide & I reassure them that I’ll walk them through everything they need to know at their session!

When I first meet with them at each session, I always give them a little pep talk before they ever step in front of the camera! Be sure to watch the video to hear a little bit of what I say before I start snapping away! This gets them comfortable from the very start and gives them confidence that they can’t mess things up and that they just need to have fun with it!

2. Start with the feet, vary up the arms & where they’re looking to get a lot of variety in one location

I always start the pose with where their feet are pointed! From there I’ll give them directions on how to hold their hands and vary up where they’re looking before having them move their arms while still having their feet planted in the same way! Watch the video to get a visual of what I mean!

After I’ve gone through all the arm variations I can think of for the spot, I’ll switch up how they’re standing and run through the variations again! There are so many variations of where you can have them looking, whether they’re laughing, kissing each other on the cheek or whispering into each other’s ears that you have a TON to rotate through without it getting repetitive!

Also, don’t be afraid to REPEAT! it’s nice when they kind of know the order in which you run through some variations since it becomes familiar for them and less guessing on their own part!

3. I try not to keep them in one pose for too long!

I try to keep them moving and flowing so it never feels too awkward standing in the same place! I also am constantly instructing or encouraging them behind the camera so it doesn’t feel like they’re staring at the camera or are unsure if they’re doing the pose correctly!

This really helps shape how confident they are in front of the camera and how they feel about the overall experience of taking their photos! I challenge you not to go 2-3 seconds without saying anything at your next shoot! Sometimes I’ll let them know out loud that I’m just switching up my settings – it can be simple!

Be sure to watch the video for even more tips & tricks! Let me know below, what’s the ONE tip you’re going to incorporate at your next session?


If you’re wondering what the inside of a successful & streamlined photography business looks like the Resources Vault is for you! It includes everything from email templates, client questionnaires, workflows for portraits & questionnaires, a breakdown of a profitable marketing strategy & how to streamline and organize each and every part of your business. More of a visual learner? Be sure to watch the totally-free masterclass!

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