Easy Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers

Over in our Facebook Group, I asked what should the next topic of Tea with Jainé should be and everyone voted for posing tips and tricks for wedding photographers. I’m excited to share my top three tips all about how to pose your couples naturally and with confidence. Posing people does not come easily and I truly believe the more prepared you are, the better photos and photo session you and your couples will have.

Also, you can watch my video about the same topic on my IGTV Instagram Channel and get a bit more Tea time with me!

Here are my three favorite tips for posing…

No. 1 - Create a Posing Flow - When I was first starting to work with couples and clients, I realized pretty quickly that posing people did not come naturally to me. I need a way to lead the session and create some pretty amazing photos in the process. What I started to do was create a Pinterest board with all of my favorite posing inspiration to help me in my process and what I discovered was that the photos I like, were just different variations of the same pose. A little tweak here, and there, a new lens, a different expression and boom - we had a brand new photo that felt totally new. It was a big light bulb moment for me!

I started to create my own posing flow for my couples moving from a few standard poses and then having several derivative of that pose. For example, let’s say the couple is standing looking at me with both shoulders, well, I could start with them walking towards me, than away, and then have the bride (or groom) look back at me, then at their partner, then give a give a kiss, and then make them laugh. Each of these actions are just one set of “poses” in a single standard pose.

By creating your own Standard or Base Poses and talking out loud the flow to yourself as practice will help you do this when you are with your couples during their engagement session or wedding day.

No. 2 - Do Your Homework - Yes, folks, you have to do a little bit of homework here to understand why a pose, or poses, is successful or not. You need to understand how the brain interpret an expression, a hand gesture, how the feet are placed, etc… to truly understand how to create great poses for your couples. As I mentioned before, posing isn’t something that comes “naturally” to most people and we all need to be taught how to pose. How to look for things that might make our photo more successful than others and I truly believe you need to do some homework and read few books to get a better understanding on how to pose properly.

One of my all time favorite books is Picture Perfect Posing from Roberto Valenzuela. I’ve read two of his books and watched his Creative Live courses and they have helped me so much in my own posing evolution. I love that he can create beauty out of nothing all from knowing the “WHY” behind making beautiful photos. He teaches you about how the hands should be posed and positioned, facial expressions, body language, and so much more. I would highly recommend picking up a copy!

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No. 3 - ALWAYS Be Positive Behind the Camera - Want to know the key to making your client or couple confident and relaxed in front of the camera? You have to always talk to them giving them positiver affirmations and encourage from the moment you take your very first photo till the very last photo in the session. I am always talking, encouraging laughing, telling a silly joke, and letting my couples know that they are doing great - even if I need to tweak a few things here and there.

If a pose isn’t going well, never say “this isn’t good” or “let’s not do that” or “this isn’t working you guys”. They DO NOT want hear that and boy, watch their confidence go down the drain in two second flat. Instead, you need to use positive terms to correct any situation or pose that isn’t working they way you would like. I always say “hey, let’s try this” or “you know, can you move over here for second?” or “why don’t we move your hand this way instead?”… i’m correcting but in a softer tone that is still has positive inflections.

I hope these tips were helpful and give you a bit of insight into how I create my Posing Flow and use positive feedback to encourage my couples. Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share with our community? Please leave us a comment below - we’d LOVE to hear from you! xo


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Podcast Interview with Stephanie Booth of The Successful Creative

Our latest podcast episode of Tea with Jainé is now available! We chat with business coach and wedding photographer Stephanie Booth of The Successful Creative. She talks about facing your fears as an entrepreneur and changing your mindset to grow your business. Over the last year, Stephanie has helped me streamline my business and workflow processes and by doing so, I have seen a tremendous growth in my own wedding photography business. I cannot wait for you to listen to our chat and hear all the amazing business advice she has to share - Enjoy!!

You can listen to Tea with Jainé on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other major podcasting platforms. Also, we'd love for you to help support Tea with Jainé and contribute to our listener support page. With your small monthly donation, it's like buying me a new cup of tea each month. Simply click the Support this Podcast button in our profile - thank you!

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How to Setup Lightroom Catalog and Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

I wanted to share my best practices when it comes to setting up your Adobe Lightroom Catalog because I think it's very important to start off on the right foot when editing, backup and archiving your photos. Lightroom is an incredible photo editing program that has a ton of features which can become very overwhelming when you are first starting out. I have studied and mastered how I use Lightroom to edit my photos and I wanted to share with you how I prefer to setup my Lightroom Catalogs along with some of my favorite Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts.

I will preface this post but saying that I wouldn't know anything about Lightroom if it wasn't for Jared Platt's Creative Live course Lightroom 101. I bought that course and watched it 3-4x's in a row to truly understand how to setup my catalog and edit my photos as efficiently as possible. I would highly recommend checking out his catalog of courses on Creative Live. I met him once at WPPI and thanked him for helping me and changing my editing workflow process from top to bottom.

How to Setup Your Lightroom Catalog


No. 1 - Create a NEW catalog for each and every job you photograph. Think of a Lightroom catalog as filing cabinet and your photos are the "files" inside. You want to keep all of the folders and files inside one filing cabinet at a time. If you were to keep all of your photos inside the same catalog, archiving and and keeping track of your "files" (aka. your photos) is going to become a hassle and you could get the dreaded question mark (Folder Missing Icon) inside of your catalog. To keep everything organized, I create a new folder for each client and create the same file set inside their folder which includes a Catalog, Images and Print folder. When I am done organizing, editing and exporting the images and have delivered them to my clients, I will archive them to my backup drives and within time, deleted them from my computer. If I were do this while only using one main catalog, I'm going to have a hard time keep track of all the photos that belong to each job. For me, it's peace of mind knowing that everything is in ONE place and can be easily opened, archived, and worked on anywhere without ever missing important photos. 

No. 2 - Turn on Automatic Backups and Write the XMP data for Each Catalog. After you've created your new catalog you should immediate turn on two important functions of Lightroom every single time.

It seems like a no-brainer but turning on Automatic Backup's every time you quit Lightroom is just a extra level of protection for your files. Sometimes catalog's get corrupted but if you've turned on this feature, you can simply go into your Catalog > Backups Folder and simply unzip the last saved backup and start working as if nothing happened. It's 100% worth turning on and takes only a few seconds to complete once you quit the program.

Open Lightroom > Go to the Lightroom Menu > Catalog Settings > In General Tab > Backup > Choose Every Time Lightroom Exits from the drop down menu.

Lightroom Catalog Setup Tips - Automatic Backups

When you are editing photos inside Lightroom (and hopefully your are shooting in RAW) all of the changes you make to the image don't actually touch the image. What's happening is the data is being written to the "sidecar" file which is the XMP file. The XMP data writes on top of your photo like a piece of vellum. It's only a layer that can be easily removed however, Lightroom doesn't automatically process these changes while you are working. Why? I have no idea so you have to tell the program to do this for you thus saving you time and energy if the program were to crash and you lost all your work. Nobody wants that!

Open Lightroom > Go to the Lightroom Menu > Catalog Settings > In General Tab > Metadata > Check the box next to "Automatically Write Changes to XMP". 

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No. 3 - Build Your 1:1 Previews for every catalog - I'm sure you've heard of Smart Previews when importing your photos into Lightroom. It renders a faster preview of your image so you can edit faster BUT it's still not the fastest. It can still take time to render each image inside of Lightroom thus slowing down your editing time. Your images can look pixelated until Lightroom catches up and processes the file. I find that when I make the Smart Previews upon import, I still need to build my 1:1 Previews to have my images load instantaneously with absolutely no lag time. 

After your images have been imported successfully into Lightroom, select all the images in the Library Module. Next, go to Library Menu > Previews > Build 1:1 Previews. It will take a while for the previews to load so I will go make myself a cup of tea or respond to emails until the process has completed. Once it's done you are ready to edit your images without any rendering or lag time in editing. FINALLY!!

No. 4 - Keyboard Shortcuts - Oh my goodness, Lightroom has a million shortcuts that will become second nature to you the longer you use the program and sometimes they change them on you without warning, which is the worst! 

Keyboard Shortcut: SHIFT + R - REFERENCE VIEW
My favorite keyboard shortcut is the Reference View. You must be in the Develop Module (D key) for this to work. The Reference View creates a split screen inside the Develop Module for you to do a SIDE-by-SIDE edit without having to use the pop up window option anymore. Once it's selected, you can drag your Reference photo on the LEFT and on the right, you can edit and toggle between photos to match your REFERENCE image. It never moves until you drag and drop a new REFERENCE image to use. Seriously, it's the BEST shortcut ever for hybrid photographers like myself or anyone looking to match images. 

Lightroom Catalog Setup Tips - REFERENCE View

Keyboard Shortcut: SHIFT + F - FULL SCREEN MODE
I prefer to use my Lightroom screen to it's fullest capacity which means I do not want to see my menu bar (For Mac Users), my dock, the clock or any other apps while I am editing. So I love the SHIFT + F keyboard shortcuts. They allow me to toggle my screen from being able to see my menu bar, to completely hiding it. It's a great shortcut to help you max the screen space that you have.

There you have it! My favorite Lightroom Catalog tips and setup options I use just about everyday. I hope they were helpful and will save you time and peace of mind in the future. What are some of your favorite Lightroom Tips and Tricks? Any keyboard shortcuts you want to share? Please leave them in the comments below!


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What's in My Camera Bag for Every Wedding

As I was preparing for my first wedding of the season, I thought it would be a good idea to show you exactly what I carry and wear to every one of my weddings. These are things that over the years as a wedding photographer, I know I need to function and work efficiently throughout the course of the day. These are simply my must have tools and I hope you find these tips helpful!

What's In My Camera Bag for Every Wedding

1 - Shootsac Lens Bag and Shoulder Pad - I absolutely could not function without my crossbody camera bag. It carries my lenses, batteries, memory cards, lip balm and much more... I've had a Shootsac from the very beginning of my wedding career and highly recommend it. It's made from scuba material so it's very soft and comfortable on your body. There are six pockets (3 on each side) that allow me to carry all of my gear. I usually will have 3 lenses on me - two in the Shootsac and the one on my camera - at all times. I also created a system by dedicating specific items to certain pockets because it can also become a "black hole" where everything and anything will get lost :) I would strongly suggest buying the additional Shoulder Pad to keep the bag comfortable on your shoulders throughout the day. The crossbody strap is adjustable and I wear it at hip height to easily switch out my lenses and grab my memory cards. If anything, this is my MUST HAVE item for every single wedding photographer out there.

2 - Memory Card Holder - I always have my memory cards on my person the entire course of the wedding. I never want them to get out of my site and chance being lost or stolen. I bought one a Think Tank Pocket Rocket to clip securely on to my Shootsac and I can easily pull out the pouch and switch cards in a hurry. 

Quick Tip: Every time I change my memory card in my card pouch, I turn it backwards before tucking it away in the pocket. This way, I can visually see that it's been shot on and will reach for another card when I'm in a hurry which is all of the time on a wedding day!

3 - Lens Cloth Clip - I like to keep a lens cloth on me at all times and love this clip on lens cloth from Nikon. I also use the Zeiss disposable lens wipes (not pictured) throughout the day. I usually by a box each of 100 each wedding season.

4 - Extra Batteries for my Camera & Flash (not pictured) - I use the Storacell Battery Caddy to organize and store my AAA batteries. These great plastic caddy's hold my loose batteries all in one spot. I put one in my bag at the start of each reception just incase my flash dies in the middle of the dance floor. I also keep an extra set of batteries for my digital and film camera's in my Shootsac as well. You never want to be in the middle of session or important moment and have your camera turn off because you are out of power. I always like to be prepared!

5 - Portable Phone Charger (not pictured) - It's no secret that I like to story on my Instagram (hey, this is how all of this happened, right?) so I carry a small portable iPhone charger. I like this Anker Portable Phone Charger in white. Also, I feel as if you can never find a power outlet inside the reception venue so it's a good idea to have your own.

5 - Ear Plugs - I started wearing earplugs during receptions because I damaged my right ear at a wedding several years ago. I walked past a huge speaker during the ceremony and caught a loud sharp sound in my ear resulting in a damaged ear drum. I had to go to the Dr.'s and after a few tests, he said my ear drum was damaged and would heal on its own. I had a bit of vertigo for almost a year but it eventually went away. Now I always wear earplugs and have several pairs on me at all times.

6 - Protein Bars - I always say photographing a wedding is like running the marathon. You need to keep your energy up! I recently discovered RxBars and I'm in love with them. They have very few natural ingredients and are super yummy. The sea salt chocolate are my favorite (not pictured because I ate the last one!!)

7 - Wedding Photography Timeline & Pen - I always have a printed copy and working pen on me throughout the day. This also helps get through family photos very quickly because I can start right away since I already have the list on me. Smart!!

8 - Everyday Necessities (the must have's) - Bobby Pins, Band-aids, Breath Mints, Advil, Contact Lens Solution and container, Tide-to-Go Pen, Hair Ties, and LIP BALM. I seriously could not photograph a wedding without lip balm :) 


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Top 3 Wedding Photography Software Recommendations

Saving time means that your are saving money and I'm all about saving money, especially when it comes to your business!! Over the years, I have discovered some amazing software applications that have significantly sped up my wedding photography workflow and I wanted to share my top three resources with you. I hope they help you in your business or spark an idea on how to streamline your own workflow!

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No. 1 - 17 Hats (Client Management Software) I put off upgrading my "system" of how I managed my clients for a long, long time. How long? Embarrassing long! I was using several different apps from Apple (iCal, Mail, Notes, Pages and Numbers) to keep track of my inquires, weddings, booked sessions, invoices and expenses. It was becoming very overwhelming and I would wake up in a panic because I wasn't sure if I had crossed all my "T's" and dotted all my "I's". With a in-depth demo from one of my closest friends, I began to see the light and 17 Hats was about to become my main squeeze. I decided to tackle setting up my client management software in January (a relatively slow time for wedding photographers) so I wouldn't be rushed or in the middle of a deadline. I watched several "how-to" video's, made some emergency texts to my friend, and within two weeks, I was ready to go. I easily integrated 17 Hats Leads Form into my website and I can now track all of my new inquires. I created several workflows for each type of session I photograph and setup my calendar to sync with my iCal (sorry, Apple, I can't quit you ;) My questionnaire's are finally easy to use and I can eventually use 17 Hats for my invoicing and billing but I'm not there just yet. Baby steps... 17 Hats has made my life so much easier and way more efficient that I want to kick myself for taking so long to do it. So, take my advice, if you have more than 5 weddings a year, offer mini-sessions, photograph a ton of families, look into a CRM that is right for you! 17 Hats was the easiest for me to setup myself. I tried Tavé (too difficult) and I've heard wonderful things about Dubsabo. I should mention that 17 Hats is not perfect and missing some features from their competitors BUT they are implementing reporting soon, which is really my biggest complaint. However, you can easily export your data and make your own reports using a pivot table (PIVOT! Hello Ross Gellar Fans ;) so for myself, it wasn't a deal breaker. I signed up at the end of the year with a full two year subscription when they were running a promotion which saved me money! Oh, and if you use my referral link, you will save 10% OFF your year subscription.

No. 2 - Planoly - Oh, how I love Planoly, let me count the ways! Instagram is one of the biggest and best tools for my business. It's how I get my work out there the fastest, interact with clients, vendors, viewers and just about ALL of my couples. However, using Instagram can feel like a full time job and figuring out your grid layout can become challenging. It's a visual tool so it really does need to look visually pleasing. Enter Planoly! A cloud based visual planner for Instagram. It's amazing and so easy to use. It's a paid service ($84 per year) and you can schedule, plan, and post all of your images. Recently, Instagram allowed third-party applications, such as Planoly, access to Auto-Post images directly to your feed without your approval. For me, this was a game changer! I love being able to schedule & auto-post my images in advance. I do, however, have to go back in and tag images with locations, vendors, and clients because you cannot automate that process but since I'm on Instagram every single day (let's be honest!) it's not a big deal. There are other Instagram programs you could use - Later is free - but it's really what works best for you. Also, you can use several of Planoly's other features such as shopping links, reporting and analytics. So fancy!!

No. 3 - Calendly - This might be one of my all time favorite applications ever! Calendly is a cloud based online scheduler and it rocks my world! Why do you need an online scheduler? Because scheduling phone calls with potential couples can take forever trying to find a date and time that works for everyone. It can also be very frustrating for the couple and I want to make things as easy as possible right from the beginning. By using Calendly, I send out a link to my calendar that has my availability for the next two weeks. Next, the Bride can easily see when they are available to chat and choose a date and time that works for them. Last, they click the time, book the appointment and I get an email confirmation - BOOM - we are all set!! I have to admit that once I implemented this system into my New Inquiry process my meeting rate increased 10 fold. The best part, Calendly is FREE for the first calendar. They offer upgrade features that you can pay for (email & text confirmations) or you can simply leave it as is with one event type and keep it free. 


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Top 3 Tips to Culling Wedding Photos Faster

It's true what they say about being a wedding photographer, it's 10% photographing weddings and 90% everything else. You spend a lot of time in front of the computer vs. behind the camera which can be frustrating. Over the course of my wedding photography career, I've picked up a few helpful tips and tricks on how to cull and edit my photos faster which I'm so excited to share with you! Here are my top 3 tips on how to cull your wedding photography faster.

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No. 1 - PHOTO MECHANIC by CAMERA BITS - This is hands down my NUMBER ONE recommendation for ANY photographer who photographs events, weddings or simply takes a large amount of photos at one time. The magic of Photo Mechanic is that it processes your RAW files instantly and loads the previews on your screen faster than you can blink. This makes the process of selecting your best photos incredibly fast and efficient. If you were to import your photos using Adobe's Lightroom, you'd be sitting there waiting for the files to render before you could even start your cull. You'll be waiting a painfully long amount of time before you can even start to select your photos - it's incredibly slow. Photo Mechanic is 100% worth the financial investment because it will speed up your workflow by hours and you need that time to get back out there and photograph your clients!

No. 2 - SHUTTLExPRESS by CONTOUR DESIGN - I know, this looks a bit intimidating but trust me you will learn to love it. The ShuttleXpress is a keyboard extender with programable buttons to help speed up your workflow and edit as fast as possible. I used the ShuttleXpress with Photo Mechanic and Lightroom. Since it's a programmable device, you can set it up with multiple software profiles which is amazing! For culling in Photo Mechanic, I use the ShuttleXpress to pick (T key) my selects which saves me time and my hand from cramping up by using my keyboard. In Lightroom, I use the ShuttleXpress mostly in the Develop module to copy & paste my settings, crop and rotate images, pick and flag my photos and so much more. Using the ShuttleXpress allows me to use keep one hand on the mouse and the other on the ShuttleXpress without ever having to touch the keyboard. I never have to look down to find a key to use a keyboard shortcut, which slowly eats away at my editing time by taking my eyes off of my screen. I've been using this device for several years and by now, it's second nature to me. I simply cannot work without it. 

No. 3 - START BACKWARDS - This is a tip I picked up from another wedding photographer and think it's absolutely genius! For wedding photographers, the end of the wedding usually means reception photos. LOTS and LOTS of reception photos which may or may not be your favorite part of the day :) To quickly get through this section, I suggest starting at the end of the wedding and moving your way backwards through each part of the day. This will speed up your culling time and you'll also move into the ceremony, portraits, getting ready sections more quickly. Also, specifically for digital photographers, you might take a few shots until you are happy with the final photo, which means you might have 2-3 images before you get to the final shot. If you start backwards, you will see the best image FIRST and skip over the rejects so much faster. This is such a simple tip but has efficient impact on saving you time in your culling process.

I hope you found these tips helpful but I want to hear from you! What are some time saving tips you've discovered while culling your images? Please share in the comments below!


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