For couples that fall in love with their ‘height opposite’, looking natural together in photos can sometimes be a challenge. As a photographer, it’s important to do your homework and make your couples feel confident together in front of the camera, regardless of their height differences. We sifted through advice provided by our worldwide community of Mastin Labs photographers, and hand-chose what we believe to be the best nuggets of wisdom for photographing couples with drastically different heights.
Posing Tips for Photographers: Major Height Differences
By Kirk Mastin
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION
Choosing a space that naturally contains little height boosters can make your job a lot easier. Mastin Labs user, Laura Lango explains how you can utilize uneven ground, hills, or slopes: “Place the shorter person on the upside, taller person on the downside of the slope. [This method] works for minimizing if not equalizing the height differences.” Mastin Labs community member, Ashley Crane agrees as she recalls her own wedding; “My photographer did amazing at placing me on slanted ground so I had more height the whole time. You wouldn’t guess I was 5’0” and he was 6’2”.
By Kirk Mastin
Another great way to give yourself posing options in choosing a location is to find a place where the couple can lean against, sit on, or generally interact with objects their environment. Benches, steps, swingsets, rocks, or branches can all be used as props during the photography shoot to help you pose your couples in a natural way.
If you can’t find a location with natural props, you can always bring a prop of your own or make creative use of what you have on set. Mastin Labs user, Jessica Michele Micheletti shares an example of a time when she used a prop and simply cropped it out. She admits, “here, I actually put her on a bucket!”
Mastin Labs user, Brienne Michelle, encourages photographers to prepare the location with a step-ladder so that you can easily take images that flatter both individuals in the couple. This is important especially if there’s a huge height difference between you (the photographer) and the tallest individual in the couple.
By Kirk Mastin
FOCUS ON NATURAL POSES
Even when you’ve chosen an environment that can help you naturally raise or lower the couple, finding poses that feel and look natural can still be difficult. The most valuable piece of advice we can offer is to focus first on finding natural poses for your couple that make them look and feel comfortable and confident.
Asking one party to slouch won’t result in beautiful photos, even if it makes the height difference less apparent. Pay close attention to any bad posing habits they may have formed and try to find alternative poses that allow them to relax and look their best.
Mastin Labs user, Haley Nelson encourages her fellow photographers to let go of gender norms, “Don’t put the [woman] in poses that are unnatural for her height. Try capturing non-traditional poses, like where the bride stands behind the groom and whispers in the groom’s ear. Or the bride kissing the groom on the cheek.”
When posing your couple, you can minimize height difference dramatically by simply having one or both parties shift their weight. You can use hip pops and bent knees to make the taller individual look a little bit shorter. Margaret Diotalevi, says, “It will shrink [them] a few good inches and even out the height difference” Mastin Labs user, Katie Shafenberg, recommends experimenting with widening the taller person’s stance to lower them.
Here are a few additional suggestions from Mastin Labs community members:
- Ask one to pick up their partner. Try a piggyback pose, have one swing the other around into a dip, etc.
- Get the couple in motion. This brings focus to the story of the photo.
- Take seated portraits and close-ups.
- Have the couple cuddle one another. On furniture, standing up, wrapped in a blanket, etc.
- Use forced perspective to your advantage. Position the shorter person in front of the taller person.
- Lean your couple. Have the taller person lean into the shorter person.
- Create space between the couple. This keeps the couple from craning their necks. Height differences are also less apparent when the couple isn’t stiff and side-by-side.
When it comes to posing your couple, it’s important to remember that your couple is used to interacting with one another and compensating for their height. If your couple seems stiff or poses just aren’t looking right, ask them to perform an activity together.
- Picking flowers, fruit, or berries
- Playfully chasing and catching one another.
- Popping a bottle of champagne.
As they fall into natural poses, you can snap some cute candids.
By Kirk Mastin
MAKE SMART OUTFIT CHOICES
Many photographers share outfit guides with couples before photographing them. If you know that your couple has an extreme height difference, help them dress accordingly. Here are some brief guidelines:
- Shorter individuals should opt for:
- Slim-cut pants, skirts, and shirts. These lengthen the body and make individuals appear taller.
- Darker colors.
- High heels or thick-sole shoes.
The couple shouldn’t wear anything that doesn’t feel like them. If they feel comfortable in their outfits, that will shine through in the photos. However, for couples that want to minimize their height difference, these outfit tips can help.
Taller individual should opt for...
- Wide or flared pants, flowy materials, and mid length or full skirt dresses
- Brighter colors
- Thin-sole shoes, sandals, or no shoes.
By Kirk Mastin
JUST EMBRACE IT
Be careful not to assume that extreme height differences are something you need to fix or hide. If the couple isn’t openly concerned about their height difference, don’t assume that it’s a problem. Mastin Labs user, Kate Watson, offers her advice, “Unless [they] ask you to minimize the difference and share that [they] don’t want it obvious in the photos, just shoot them as they are. It’s just real.”
Mastin Labs user Alison Hudspeth points out that the height difference may be part of the couple’s attraction to one another, and Alexandria Reidarson says it plainly, “Just own it. […] Obviously they have that height difference in real life and that dynamic is part of who they are.” A great way to find out is to talk to your couple and ask them if they’re self-conscious.
Using these tips, we hope you feel more confident working with any couple, and especially those with extreme height difference. As always, thank you to all our photographers who offered their advice for this article.