Having your wedding photos taken can be stressful. That's why it's essential to invest in the right photographer. The last thing you want to worry about is nailing a photography pose you saw on Pinterest the night before. Luckily the experts have ways to make you feel more at ease to achieve that dreamy shot. We've asked three wedding photographers to share some of their secrets, and we have to admit, we love every single one. Stay tuned to find out what went into some of our favorite wedding photos!   

Gagewood

Kari Henrichsen from Gagewood is a visual artist with over 18 years in the wedding industry, first in makeup and now fulfilling a lifelong passion for telling beautiful stories through photography. She makes her clients feel at ease by being at ease herself, communicating, and anticipating their needs.

Before every wedding, she sets her intention to document this celebration in the most beautiful and authentic way. "I pay attention to how it's feeling, and I watch the couple interact with each other and their guests. I am very fortunate in that all my couples adore their friends and family. This is when you see the couple the most relaxed and, in my opinion, the most beautiful. Their smiles can light up the room," she said. When it's time for sunset photos, Kari tries to follow the couple's lead, how they've been up until that moment, and intuitively capture them as they are. Sometimes she can feel them getting anxious and overthinking, so direction is needed to get them back to being connected and relaxed. 

She also noticed that her clients match her energy; they feel more comfortable when she's comfortable. "I also know the importance of communication. Of course, they want to see how this works, so we start by talking about what to expect, but I don't overload them with information. Instead, I deliver quick tips along the way and reassure them that as long as they are having a good time, it's going as it should." At sunset, Kari gets them started by asking them just to be together, take a moment, take a walk, talk, enjoy the quiet time, and reflect on the day. She also reassures her couples that they should never worry about what they are doing and that she will step in and direct when it's time to.

The above photo is from our sunset time block, and it's casually directed. The moment is guided to connect and reflect. First, we find the most beautiful landscape; then we ask the couple to stay together. We don't want them overthinking this quiet time, so we'll talk about the great time we are having documenting their special day. I'll tell them what I love about the day, what is standing out to me, or how much I enjoy their family and friends. I want to bring ease back to capture them leaning into each other while also sharing how they are feeling. 

We can't forget about our grooms! I love grabbing a great portrait of my groom. I usually grab a chair and ask the groom to look over at his wife (she's either off to the side or behind in the distance) and then have him look back at me. There's usually a big smile, and that's how I got this shot. 

I asked the couple to hold hands and stay close as we walked back to the party. I'm never done shooting, so even the walk back has potential for a real moment! I will usually ask a question that inspires a feeling they're experiencing at that moment. 

Tips on what NOT to do when posing

Don't over-pose (or overthink) what you are doing or how you look. We will direct you when needed. Bring yourself back to the moment you are in - I promise it's more beautiful that way.

Don't pose like you would for the red carpet or an Instagram selfie. Remember, we are documenting a real celebration, and we are going for timeless images that are natural and feel authentic. So even though we direct sometimes, it's to get you out of those awkward poses and keep you relaxed. 

Don't forget what the day is about. It's not a photoshoot; it's a celebration. So be in the moment and enjoy yourselves! Our job is to document the day as it unfolds naturally, with some time blocked for directed photos. If you can do this, we will deliver a beautiful gallery.

Holly Shankland Photography

A love of people, exploring, and adventure infuse Holly Shankland's photography with sweet storytelling and an unmistakable Lake Tahoe vibe. Her primary goal is to hold space for people to be themselves. "It's a delicate balance of offering some suggestions while giving them the time to forget you and get into their own moment," she said.

I asked the couple to take a deep breath, to close their eyes, holding on to one another... to soak in this exact moment in time, to be still. If this mountain rustic-styled shoot at Rainbow Lodge is giving you all the feels, check it out here!

Well, rule number one... always bring your pets. They are most definitely a part of your family and a part of your story. It's easy for me to bring an assistant along if needed to hold them from time to time. You will not regret having these photos! What was I saying during the shoot? I'm not really sure. I was probably asking who takes up most of the bed. Instead, I sometimes ask them to tell me a funny or embarrassing story, bringing out genuine laughs.

This one is a bit more of a posed photo that I often do; I ask the bride to lead the groom. Usually, they walk forward, and then I say, 'Now look back at him!' Sometimes I make funny jokes about her leading the relationship.

I try to be fun and not take anything too serious. I always tell my clients that if something I ever ask you to do feels unnatural, just laugh and carry on with something that feels more authentic. It's almost always the in-between moments that we love.

If you missed this Squaw Valley wedding on our blog, we suggest that you catch it here!

Tips on what NOT to do when posing

At any moment, if you feel stiff and super awkward, just shake it off and do something else. Don't ever force something that feels like you would absolutely never do. Sometimes just separating and coming at each other from different directions helps you naturally hold onto each other. 

Don't get so caught up in some Pinterest vision that you lose sight of where you are and what's actually happening.

Don't try to re-create other people's work. Instead, do something original and fun and true to you. You will always be second best if you are trying to recreate something that was already done.

Bianca Sciotto Photography 

Bianca Sciotto is known to be a visual storyteller, dedicated to the simple, the unique, and everything in between. Part of her magic lies in the fact that she always tries to link up with her couples before their shoot to help them feel at ease. Grabbing a beer or a cup of coffee and just spending some quality time together allows her to gain some insight into the couples' personalities and lets them understand hers. "I am all about creating an experience for people, as opposed to this being just a photo shoot," she said. She encourages couples to bring their dogs, blankets from home, different clothing options, a bottle of champagne, anything that helps them feel comfortable and themselves. "I also don't just dive right in and start snapping tons of frames. Instead, I look through their clothing options and make sure they are happy with what they are wearing and have a casual conversation so they can ease into it all." She aims to connect and be sure the couples understand her process and tell a story rather than a formal photoshoot. She also tries to make them laugh and give lots of feedback as she shoots so they can just have fun and enjoy the process. "These shoots are almost always taking place in a really beautiful location, so I pause with them and encourage them to take it all in. This is a special moment in time, and I want them to be as present and peaceful as possible."

Light, light, light! The golden hour goes fast, and the last 5 minutes of sunlight, even faster. For this reason, it's essential to do a little scouting before the wedding day if possible. I had walked around the elopement site a few days before, so I was super familiar with where the sun would be setting during our golden hour couple session. This was the highest point, so the sun hung on the longest right here. I instructed the couple to wrap up in each other and slow dance as the last bit of sun dipped out of view. I wanted golden light to be pouring over their shoulders to create a really warm look, so I shot into the fading sun. I didn't place them in a strict pose, as I wanted the feeling of movement and authenticity. It's really important to me that these moments are felt by my couples and not completely staged. When the last bit of sunlight is going down on your wedding day, I want you to be fully in the moment and soaking it all in, which is why a simple 'slow dance' prompt can work perfectly.

I am always committed to providing my clients, specifically my bride, with a strong and beautiful portrait of herself. So much has gone into the vision for the wedding day, and I want to be sure to capture all that beauty in a few solo bridal portraits. Getting to know the personality of my couples is an essential part of creating powerful images. Once I feel I have gained some insight into who they are as a person, I look for backgrounds with natural light and have colors that contrast or blend well with the dress. This specific portrait was taken at a beautiful house the couple had rented for their weekend elopement. The bride, Alex, and I were both obsessed with the sleeves on this dress, and thus I wanted to showcase them really well in a shot. I also loved the high slit, so I made sure to pose her with her hip turned outward. This door frame actually opened up to the patio. Therefore I placed her in the frame looking outward, which allowed for some beautiful high sierra light to fall on her skin. Angles are so important when shooting the human body, so experimenting with those during a portrait session is key!

Over the years, I have curated quite a few poses that I really love in images. Not all of them work for every couple, so it is important to connect with your couples to know what poses or prompts will fit their personality. I never want to place a couple in a pose that doesn't feel like them or makes them look unauthentic. The back-to-back, with interlaced fingers, is a really beautiful pose when used properly. Amanda and Byron's Mt. Rose elopement had such a fairy tale feel to it that I knew this pose would really stand out in the right location. The sun was sinking low in the sky, and I wanted to get some images with the light pouring onto them instead of behind them. We were romping around this meadow, and my eyes immediately were drawn to the natural lines created by the tall grass, hillside, and sky. Placing them in the middle of these horizontal lines and the left in the shot really breaks up the image properly and makes them pop. Also, I wanted to showcase all the gorgeous tall grass, so I shot from a lower angle, which again gives rise to how much their connected bodies stand out. The angle and the sun upon their faces with their eyes shut really give this image an ethereal vibe.

Tips on what NOT to do when posing

When posing, it's essential to remember that not every pose works for every person/couple. I always let my clients know that if something doesn't feel authentic or comfortable, they simply move out of it into something that fits them or feels right. The best images are bred out of the right amount of direction plus the allowance for individuality. 

When posing, it's also essential not to be silent. I think having a camera in your face without feedback can tend to make people very uneasy. Though it is often a lot of multitasking to be focusing on getting the shot correct on camera and giving direction, it's incredibly important. Again, as the photographer, you can curate the energy for the shoot. But, again, be conscious of this through your words. 

Not allowing for stagnation is also very important. Creating a sense of fluidity during the shoot helps everything feel more natural and easy-going. If something isn't working or doesn't seem to give you the result you want, move through it. Don't comment on it; progress to something different. There really is no right. My philosophy is that each shoot needs to be organic and authentic to space, time, people, weather, all of it. Remember, in this world of documenting love stories; it's an experience you're creating, a feeling and moment in time that will last forever. 

Are you still looking for a photographer who fits you and your partner's style in the Tahoe area? Look no further than our Vendor Guide