You can’t pose real emotions


You can’t Pose real emotions

You can’t Pose real smiles

You can’t Pose real love

You can imitate these things with your posing.



You can enable them to happen.

You can put them in the situation where they can let it happen… for real.

How someone stands brings out a feeling, where they put their hands, how close they are to the other person, even their environment, the backdrop, the people watching, the lighting, your distance from them… will all be in the mix of the feeling you’ll get from the picture.

So yes the poses do play a part but you can’t think of them as what creates emotion… but as what enables them to make it happen for real.

You put them in positions where emotions blossom (to use a nature metaphor)


Perhaps one of the reason i’m known for bringing out someone’s real personality in pictures is because I don’t set time limits… we aren’t racing against the clock and they don’t view me as an hourly worker. I’m a friend. They trust me A Lot. And with those two concerns out of the way and their comfort with me they can focus on what’s important their interaction with eachother.

“Look at me, good, now look at eachother. Good. Now have a moment” That’s pretty much my shtick. I don’t care what their idea of “a moment” is, I want it to be something that just happens between them. Something that’s their own. I’m putting them in situations where the real them can come out.

I’m not here to carefully place mannequins in MY scene… I want to create a beautiful and meaningful scene around my couples. This is for them… not me.

I can grasp the difference of what a forced or fake smile is like. Even when some people’s real smile looks like a fake smile, that’s fine… that’s them. I give them the situation where they smile or laugh because something really makes them smile or laugh and catch that. We can tell.

Sam (The Groom in these pictures) really wears his emotions and therefore his expressions on his sleeves as the saying goes. Its easy to catch in his joy and excitement. They both interacted well together. We didn’t take pictures for 2hrs because I didn’t get good pictures for the first 30 minutes but because there were moments later on where they learned to let go and feel comfortable and explore beyond the normal interactions they had done the first 30 minutes.

Some positions they were more comfortable than others. Like at night when we couldn’t see them at all… I just said you guys are in charge of your faces because I won’t know until the flash lights you up and I look at the pictures later.



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Above is a perfect example of putting them in the situation. I didn’t tell them how to hold hands or how to look at eachother. That was purely them. But like this one and the first picture I gave them the situation, the position and the acted it out.

“Walk away from me, ok now stop, now get closer, closer, closer” and they just do it anyway… they’ll kiss, they’ll put their heads together, they’ll do what they feel like doing.


I have left much of the creative process in the hands of the couples for them to feel responsible and invested in their pictures.


This doesn’t mean I won’t tell them where to stand and even that he should put his hands in his pockets and face me and she should come next to him and hug his arm. But there’s still so much left up to their discretion and because so much of the rest of the day was allowing them to interact as they like they feel it even in these more “posed moments” they get to be who they want to be.



You learn what works for people in large part by seeing how they interact with eachother when in different situations. Close to eachother or farther apart sometimes you’re suprised by what really works for them. It might be exactly what you figured at first or it might be the opposite.

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Let them put thought into what they’re doing and then at times take that time to analyse and think away from them. Make them react and interact quickly so it becomes just silly, fun and impulsive reactions.

Keep it moving, keep it alive, when we move slow as photographers things get a little stale. Why do you think pictures of the past lacked emotion when compared to today. I believe in large part because the photographers were more intersted in their craft and lighting than you the subject about emotion and personality. When they finally got set up what were you supposed to do? You had one shot with the metal plate that would contain your picture haha… so better just be safe.

Now you can do ALL sides of you

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Aint nothing fake about these smiles.


  1. Kjirstin Youngberg says

    These are as alive as video, Scott. Amazing work.

  2. SamYam says

    Amazing. Work. Thank. You!

  3. Jen says

    These two are so much in love! Its so sweet!

  4. Top Rated Cameras says

    This is gorgeous! Sweet couple, perfect shots and a very thoughtful blog post! 😀 Amazing work!

  5. Robbie Petersen says

    this goes well with your child photography post, the shoot kind of evolved, the couple relaxed and gave different poses and acted differently and you were able to capture the personalities of both of them, great info.

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