One of the things I hear most from my couples is "we hate having our photo taken, so you'll have to help us out a bit!" It can be super intimidating to imagine someone wielding a camera, following you about on your wedding day and snapping away through moments that are already quite highly charged with excitement (and sometimes stress!). If this is something that resonates with you, fear not. I know that for a lot of people, even though they feel absolute dread at the thought of being in front of the camera, having a beautiful gallery of images to cherish after their day is done and dusted is of paramount importance. That's why I'm here with 9 top tips to help you tackle that wedding photo fear!
1. Take the opportunity to get to know your photographer
Meeting and spending time with someone new can be anxiety-inducing in it's own right, let alone when they start pointing a camera your way! So it makes sense that the more comfortable and familiar you are with your photographer, the easier you'll find it. To help with this, I always try to organise a video call with my couples before their wedding where we spend a bit of time getting to know each other and also talk through all the details of the day. This is a really key opportunity to put a face to a name, ask any questions you might have and figure out each other's 'vibes', making things feel a whole lot more comfortable on the day. And don't worry, having me in your photos (see above) is definitely not compulsory..!
2. Choose a photographer that really resonates with you
There are so many photographers out there, offering different packages, styles, services and approaches. Take the time to do your research and look out for that photographer who just 'fits' with your personality and approach as a couple, and whose images you look at and think "that's the one for me!" I find that no matter what it is I'm looking for, I usually just know when I've landed on the option that's the perfect fit. Make use of Instagram to see what your photographer gets up to day to day, read the 'About Me' sections of websites and have a really good gander through galleries and portfolios. The photographs are super important, of course, but I feel it's just as important to connect with a photographer who feels like a good personality match too! This can help you to trust the photographer's vision on the day and help you to ease into working with them.
3. A no-pose approach
In my opinion, strict posing is where things can get a little awkward. When I work with my couples, I aim for a super relaxed approach and my first priority is to give you a bit of a break from the intensity of the day and a chance to touch base with each other. Weddings can be so full on that it can be really hard to get even five minutes to really revel in the fact that you're ACTUALLY MARRIED (eeee!), and sneaking off for photographs is the perfect excuse to squeeze in some alone time. I'll join you for an easygoing stroll where I ask you to take some deep breaths, soak up the atmosphere and think about the fact that you're now married to your favourite person! I use the gorgeous smiles, kisses and natural body language between you as a starting point, and may give very gentle directions to really make the most of those beautiful, real moments.
Of course, the party is still going on elsewhere so I tend to keep couples photos to around 15-20 minutes maximum so that you can get back to your loved ones and celebrate!
4. Keep it moving
As far as practical tips for beautiful natural photos go, this is a key one. Awkwardness can really show through in photographs, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to combat this is to get a bit of movement into your body! Whether it's a gentle sway whilst you have a cuddle, going for a stroll or even cutting a few shapes, get some movement going and you'll loosen up in no time.
Added bonus - a little swish and sway (or even a more dramatic run and scream) can be a great way to release tension and ease anxiety in general, helping you feel more relaxed as you head back to enjoy the rest of your day.
5. Focus on what's important
I think all of us find ourselves caring a little bit too much about what we look like to other people, whether we're catching our best angles, how our clothes are fitting or how visible that pesky chin spot is, and these feelings can easily creep into your wedding day too. It's easier said than done, but letting go of those negative thoughts and focusing on what's important - i.e. being married to your favourite person and having a BRILLIANT DAY - can be one of the most important steps towards excellent wedding photos that you'll truly love.
Imperfections are part of who we are; a core element of what makes us, us! A poorly-timed coldsore, exposed bra strap or rogue beard hair doesn't make you any less beautiful and it doesn't detract from how special your relationship with your loved ones is. So bollocks to those little niggles - throw caution to the wind, smile your biggest smile and let your happiness shine out! As Roald Dahl so perfectly put it, "good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” And who can argue with Roald?
6. Lose yourself in your loved ones
Wedding days and big celebrations are some of the fairly rare and extremely special occasions where all of our loved ones come together in one place. Not only are they all in one place, they're all there to celebrate you! One of my top priorities as your photographer is to capture those beautiful natural moments that unfold throughout the day, and you'll find me hidden behind doors, weaving through crowds and getting in all sorts of positions to make sure I get them! Your job is to make the most of that wonderful occasion, and lose yourself in the moment. That's where the good stuff happens.
7. Pretend I'm not there
Okay, so I know that sounds kinda rude and unfriendly, but hear me out! Following on from my previous tips, if you're always super conscious of me zipping about and doing what I do best (if I do say so myself), you might find it hard to relax into the day and those gorgeous moments I've been banging on about! The best way to ensure beautiful, natural and super fun photos is to pretend I'm not there, focus on having a wonderful time with your loved ones and trust that I'm capturing it all. I promise, if I need you I will grab you and I am always on hand for a chat if there's anything you need.
8. Embrace spontaneity
No matter how meticulously planned a celebration might be, there are always going to be moments that fall outside of what's expected. These can be brilliant opportunities to get some really exciting photographs that are bursting with personality, so as your photographer I'll be keeping a keen eye out for them!
A great example of this is a bangin' sunset, or what's known as 'golden hour'. This can present a pretty short window of opportunity where absolutely DIVINE glowy, atmospheric and totally frame-worthy photos are made. If a great sunset appears, or another unplanned opportunity for a brilliant photograph, you can expect me to come running over to grab you! You might need to trust me in the moment but... it'll be worth it!
9. Consider an engagement shoot
This final tip is a proper practical one, and it can make a huge difference to how you feel having your photograph taken on your wedding day. An engagement shoot is a fantastic way of getting used to being in front of the camera and getting familiar with how it makes you feel. Think of an engagement shoot as a trial run- you'll get an idea of how a couples' photoshoot works with your photographer, and it's also a brilliant way of getting to know the person who'll be shooting your wedding!
An added bonus is that your engagement photos can actually come in really handy, whether you use them for your save-the-date cards, give them as thank you gifts or to frame and use to jazz up a bare wall in your home.
If you fancy having a chat about your wedding plans, want to book an engagement shoot or generally just want to get a bit of a feel for who I am, get in touch! I'd love to hear from you.