Let's be honest...unless you are a model or an influencer (or perhaps a news anchor!) chances are you haven't spent much time in front of the camera So if you feel really intimidated by the thought of having your wedding pictures taken YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I got married not long ago and felt exactly the same way.
As a wedding photographer, I've had so many couples tell me they hate having their picture taken and some have even delayed booking a photographer because the idea makes them so uneasy. You may not believe me, but you have nothing to worry about, and there are easy ways to work around your nerves.
So how do you manage to enjoy your day, be yourself, and feel genuinely comfortable having your wedding pictures taken?
Follow these top tips and you'll feel wedding-photo-ready in no time!
TIP ONE: Choose the right photographer
If you're camera-shy, possibly one of the worst choices you could make is picking a photographer who specialises in lots of posed shots. Whether that is someone very editorial, who spends ages crafting amazing dramatic pictures, or just a photographer who takes a very traditional pose-y approach, if you want to try to forget you're on camera, this is not the way to do it.
My top tip would be to choose a photographer who works in a documentary style. This approach is more hands-off; your photographer tells the story of your wedding day in pictures, capturing natural moments rather than pulling you out of them by reminding you they're there and asking you to look at them. Yes, you may also opt for some more posed bridal/couple/group shots, but on the whole, you will be left to be yourselves and enjoy your wedding day.
Also, when choosing a photographer, not only make sure their style complements you well, but their personality! Are they someone you feel at ease with? Do you click? Even if they are taking a largely documentary approach, you will still be spending time together, so good chemistry is vital. If someone you get along with is taking your wedding photos, you will feel so much more at ease.
TIP TWO: Focus on each other
One of the best tips I could ever give you is to remember that your wedding day is one of the most special days in your lives! So why would you want to spend it looking awkwardly at me, when you could instead look at each other?!
If you decide you do want some traditional couple photos but are uncomfortable with giving frozen smiles to the camera, instead focus on your new husband or wife. Have a chat with each other; have a laugh; go in for a kiss as if no one is there. Be as natural with each other as you would be without a camera, and you will end up not only feeling more comfortable, but with photographs full of genuine emotions, personality, and smiles.
My part is to make you feel comfortable enough to forget I'm there and just be together. This is why having chemistry with your photographer is really important, and why you shouldn't just choose on the basis of low price or convenient location. How much more comfortable being yourselves; sharing private jokes and intimate moments will you be if you get along with and trust your photographer? I'd wager very.
TIP THREE: Practice makes perfect
Now, this tip might make you feel a bit ridiculous, but trust me. If you want some couple portraits on your wedding day, but are feeling awkward at the idea of posing...practice is your solution.
I'm not the biggest fan of overly posed photos, but if you want to do it, learn how to do it right. The internet is rife with advice, so you don't have to look far. You can check out Pinterest as your starting point, and pull together a board with poses you like. It can be harder than you think to replicate them on the spot and do so in a natural way, so this is where the practice comes in. Yes, you will feel daft, but try and have fun with it. Perhaps get dressed up; put some music on; have a drink to relax yourselves. You'll probably end up having a real laugh, and this may even make the whole concept far less intimidating. You may even break down in giggles during the real shoot which will make for some amazing natural shots!
If you know what poses you like and have practiced how to move, and pose yourselves flatteringly, things will go so much smoothly on your wedding day. This will reduce you feeling awkward, and make the time in front of the lens go much quicker as you aren't having to think up ideas on the spot. Hopefully, you will also look much more natural in the photos themselves; free of frozen smiles, stiff hands, and awkward bodies. Win/win!
TIP FOUR: Be prepared
This is especially important if you're after couple or group photos. If you want more posed shots - where are these going to be taken? If you want to feel cool, calm, and collected while having your pictures taken, faffing around trying to decide on locations is not going to help.
When you look around your venue, take the time to scout out locations that would make great photo backdrops, even if you're only making preliminary notes. And if you're meeting your photographer at your venue before the big day - always a bonus - then that's a great opportunity to have a more in-depth look around and make some firm decisions. Not only will knowing where you're going make you feel more relaxed, it will also really help your photographer.
If you're marrying in an urban setting, and the venue does not have any outdoor space - or indoor spaces that lend themselves to photographs - planning is especially important. Make sure to look around the local area, and if you can do this with your photographer, even better. If nothing locally works, and travel is necessary, you will have to build enough time into your day to do this.
The more prepared you are, the less you will have to worry!
TIP FIVE: Don't be afraid to ask for help
Weddings are a LOT of work, and that doesn't stop on the day itself. There is still a lot of coordinating to be done, and if you don't have a wedding planner or the like, then someone is going to need to pick up the slack. One of the times that needs the most assistance is organising the group photos, especially if you have a lot of guests. If you are feeling stressed enough about being in the photos, you don't need the extra hassle of rounding up guests and shouting for Uncle Bob to hurry up as he is holding everything up. Entrust this job to a bridesmaid/usher/amazing guest who isn't afraid to roll their sleeves up and shout if need be.
Also, don't be afraid to ask your loved ones for help before the big day. If you know people who have recently got married, chances are they were also anxious about having their pictures taken. Get their advice; they may have great pearls of wisdom to pass on.
And last but not least, if you have any worries, share them with your photographer. Trust me, we've heard it all before and won't be secretly laughing at you for being nervous. I'd much rather know if my couple were camera-shy, and am always happy to offer help. And if it's in the budget, I'd always recommend an engagement shoot. It's a great ice-breaker between you and your photographer and fantastic practice for having your wedding photos taken.
I hope you have found this blog useful and it has put you at ease when you think about having your wedding photographs taken, and you're no longer worried you'll end up doing the below!
If you like the sound of my approach to wedding photography, why not get in touch with me? I work as a west London wedding photographer, a Somerset wedding photographer, and across the rest of the country too! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or else get in touch via my contact page at www.queenbeaphotography.co.uk/contact.