"We don't want posed photos, just nice & natural" - this is said to me on nearly every initial client chat / meeting; & I agree but still have to explain that I actually will have to 'pose' them at certain points of the day, just not in the way they're worried about.
I would describe my style as natural, fun & stylish. I capture natural moments but in a refined way. So I may place & pose people according to the light & for the correct composition whilst always trying to provoke natural expression between whoever I'm photographing.
In terms of the group 'formal' photographs again I always strive to provoke natural emotions rather than a rigid straight line with awkward fake smiles. I want everyone to look at each other & converse with each other which can sometimes make people feel slightly strange to begin with, or they just look at me like I'm a bit mad, (depends how tactile families are with each other), but what it actually does is create real smiles & reactions so by the time everyone is looking back at me they are in the moment, they all feel relaxed, less stiff & ultimately that makes lovely photos. I say my shoots are 'photos & therapy' which I find quite amusing. My goal is this whenever I am 'posing', so in terms of the couple or the family I will do the same thing. The majority of the rest of the day is never posed, that is me capturing things as they unfold naturally. But during bridal prep for example I may say, could you just stand here or turn into the light. I am always working for the light so if the bride is standing somewhere but I see light is better in another place I will guide her there instead; so would you call that posed? I think there is a middle area where my style fits. I am not pure documentary style but then I am not fully staged - 'every shot is posed' & for me personally I think the middle ground is the best way. So ultimately it's natural but refined.
The main part of the day which has the majority of posing would be the bride & groom photos & this is where clients worry the most as nearly everyone I photograph actually feel nervous in front of the camera - would you believe!? If I didn't take control during this part of the day & just let them be, unfortunately they wouldn't end up with the best shots, as they wouldn't know what to do in that situation, or even if they did & loved 'posing' together privately for their own selfies; it's very different with a photographer standing in front of you & they feel a little more self conscious, so they need to be guided, they need to feel comfortable, supported & eased into the moment feeling like they can let loose & do public displays of affection in front of me! Can I also add that I would very much dislike been posed into a held position which feels cheesy if I was on the other side of the lens. I have done many shoots with Rob mainly so we know how it feels, what works & what feels awkward /unnatural. I think it's highly important to put yourself in your subjects shoes as it makes you very relatable.
Your wedding day shouldn't be a photoshoot. But you still want beautiful images you have to meet your photographer half way, give them all you've got & trust that they know what they're doing! This is why I always make it about the couple & their relationship. Not all my images are the same because every couple is different & I work according to them & what works for them as a couple. I like to think I can read people quite well so I also know if they aren't enjoying being photographed a certain way & quickly change to adapt. It makes my job very exciting & rewarding as I watch people slowly being converted into enjoying having their photograph taken.
I have commented images to explain how they happened with regards to posing.