How to make Prom Pose Cool Again

Jul 22

Hansen Tree Farm engagement session

In a world where “unposed” posing is king for photography sessions we’ve heard more times than we can count that prom pose is dead. What is prom pose? Picture your parents at their 1980s prom. Dad is standing behind mom wrapping his arms around her waist (moms also got sky high hair and shoulder pads, but that’s not the important part). Well we’re here to tell you today how you can make prom pose cool again!

Prom pose is one of our core six poses (curious on these, leave us a comment and we’ll break them down for ya – but simply put: chest to chest, backwards v, holding hands, walking, side linked, and prom pose are our basics). So basically, we have six poses and every prompt, motion or variation spawns off of those six poses. Which really means that we use prom pose a lot. It’s a staple for us at engagement sessions and always makes an appearance during bride and groom portraits at their wedding.

Lebanon Hills Prom Pose

The Why of Prom Pose

The reason we use it a ton, is for a lot of couples, when they are in prom pose it just really feeeeeeels like them. Here’s what we mean: at every single engagement session there will be a defining moment in the session where we get the couple in some arrangement and hot dang (!!!) it feels like they do this single every day. It feels like they probably wrap up like this when they both get home and greet each other after a long day. And obviously, that’s what we’re going for! We want to be posing couples in ways that could feel authentic and true to their daily life. And so if prom pose is that for a couple, then heck yeah we’re going to direct them into it!

So here’s how we approach prom pose: the biggest thing is that we don’t have the person in the back rest their hands on the other persons hips. That feels old-school, forced, and often like a pregnancy announcement. Instead we usually set it up in one of two ways, pictured below!

Sometimes will try one and it doesn’t quite feel right. So will try the other and ohhhh yes, that’s the one! And sometimes we’ll try one and right away that will be a winner. While we can often predict which one will work best based upon body types, sometimes the outcome will surprise us and, in that case, we end up trying out both.

Prom Pose #1:

Prom Pose at Lake Harriet Engagement

Whoever is in the back wraps their back arm aaalllll the way around the other person’s shoulders to rest on the other shoulder. We specifically direct around the shoulders because otherwise it ends up resting on the front person’s boob or higher in a choke hold around their neck. Neither is what we’re looking for. Then, we have the front person wrap up to grab the arm wrapped around them. 90% of the time, we have the back person slip their front hand into their pocket because this avoids the hip placement and makes the pose more open to the camera. But if they naturally rest it on the hip, that’s fine, and we don’t want to correct them and diminish their confidence in any way, so we let it be. We think one hand on the hip is chill, it’s just when both hands end up on the hips that it starts to feel old school.

Prom Pose #2:

Prom Pose at Taylors Falls engagement session

Prom pose number two is similar to one, but this time we have the person in back wrap both arms around the person in front to connect their two arms. Now the key here is the placement where the two hands meet. We don’t want it to be in the center of the person in front’s chest. This again, ends up looking like chokehold. Instead, we shift it to be placed on the front of the armpit of the front person OR all the way near the front ribs. If this feels rigid, we have the back person shift their shoulders ever so slightly downwards so that the front shoulder feels weighted to the ground.

As with all of our core six poses, we are super particular about placement in the beginning. We know what typically works best and what tends to be most flattering. By breaking that down in great detail at the beginning, our couples feel taken care of and don’t have time to second guess if their doing it correctly. But as the session goes on, we are way more loose with the parameters of poses and they get crazier as we infuse variations and prompts into them, which in turn, typically gets the poses comfier and comfier for our couples.

The Capitol Room Wedding Photography Posing

Putting it into Action

Our fav and most basic prom pose prompt is called The Prom Pose Sway. We first have them do (and learn) a bunch of variations for prom pose: nuzzles, laughing back at armpits, different facial expressions, kisses on the check, etc. Then, we have them sway towards our main shooter and away. We challenge them to change up their variation each time they sway.  This leads to yummy snuggles. The images we typically keep are going to be those swaying forward (while swaying forward is a shot up their nose and double chins). Then, we take it up a notch and have them sway frantically (and of course, I demo this because anything you demo you want to demo more ridiculous than they will ever do it because then they feel a no judgement zone). The frantic sways are a lot of chaos and then somewhere in there there will be an adorable shot with the girls’ hair swinging, tons of giggles, and tons of motion. Obvi, there are tons of prompts that can start from Prom Pose but this is one of our favs!!

Winter Sunset Engagement Session doing prom pose

So there’s some basics for ya on we set it up!! Want to know more of how we break down our photo sessions?!? Click below to download our freebie: How to Conquer the First 15 Minutes of Your Photo Session!

Free Guide for how to conquer the first 15 minutes of your photo session

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