You're about to be the focus for wedding photos on your wedding day, but you're not at your most comfortable in front of the camera. It's more common than you think! If you've ever been likened to a wooden board or a strangled cat during photo time, it's likely you'll need some tips for looking relaxed in your wedding pictures. Luckily, Chris Perkins from Underatreehouse Photography has given us some super easy steps that will help you look like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe on your wedding day (just mind those steam grates!).
Tip one: Relax/laugh/don't be scared!
First and foremost, if there is one piece of advice I could give it is this: you may never have been photographed professionally before and you may think you don’t like being in front of a camera, but if you want real, natural and happy pictures on your wedding day, put those fears aside. Relax, enjoy your day with your loved ones, laugh and don’t take things too seriously.
Tip two: Trust your photographer and be open to ideas
The wedding photographer you choose to document your day has more than likely been doing this for a long time, and developed their approach and figured out what works. Trust and listen to them. Remember you have no control over the weather and conditions on the day, so be flexible to their suggestions, as they will constantly be looking for the best angles and light to put you in. If your photographer feels like you are open and willing then there is no telling what you might be able to create together!
Tip three: Natural light is good in the morning
A lot of thought and planning tends to go into the look of the ceremony and reception, but all too often we turn up to the morning preparations and find the bride is getting ready in a tiny room with nowhere to move and artificial light. These two things do not make for pretty natural images. When deciding where to get ready think about what is going on behind you, like a messy room or kitchenette, and try to find an uncluttered area preferably with space to move. The main thing is to look for plenty of natural light coming in, as this is very flattering for skin and beauty shots and avoid harsh directional artificial light, which will look yellow or greens in photographs.
Tip four: Look at other pictures you like…learn…and mimic
This could be a controversial one among photographers. I am not telling you to give them a Pinterest board or list of shots they have to get (you should chose them in the first place because you like what they do). What I mean is this: I recently photographed a wedding where the groom had clearly paid attention to his fiancé’s favourite images. I would move the couple into a general position and then he would touch his head to hers or gaze on lovingly without needing any direction. It was a complete shock to us both, but it made the images so much better because he understood what we were trying to achieve at that moment and it wasn’t forced.
Tip five: Feel the love
Why try to create images that show you are in love, when you can do it naturally with real emotions? Be in the moment, forget your surroundings and the camera hovering around and take a moment for yourselves. Be selfish. Wrap yourself in the love you have for the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with and the images will look natural, honest and sincere.
Tip six: Be an actor in a romantic movie
As easy as it is for me to say forget everyone else, I realise that not everyone can easily do that. If this is something you struggle with then try taking on a role. We can all imitate scenes from a romantic movie. Just pretend to be an actor if you are uncomfortable and do what they would do. Go all out and do that lift or drop from the movie, they are still images and (as long as you don’t drop her) you’ll look amazing!
Tip seven: Allow enough time for the ‘pictorial’ session
Unless you have chosen a photographer who shoots purely reportage, it is likely that there will be a section of the day dedicated to photographing the two of you alone or with your bridal party (usually after the ceremony and family group photos). This is the only time when your photographer has the chance to choose where they are going to place you and work with you without the distraction of other formalities or guests. It is also the time when you will more than likely create the lasting image that will hang on your wall for years to come. With this in mind, please allow us time to create this and try a couple of options. If you want to go further afield with locations allow plenty of time for the travel. If it is all going to happen close by and you don’t want to be away from your guests for too long then at least an hour for the session is good. Put on some canapés and drinks and they’ll be more than happy chatting among themselves.
Tip eight: Ask for recommendations
It doesn’t hurt to get some advice, particularly when it comes to timings and locations. Generally, the best light for photos is at sunrise and sunset, but depending on the location this may change for some reason. Ask your photographer for their recommendation on timings and locations. Perhaps also ask your planner or reception coordinator if there are any particularly good spots nearby that couples often use, as they may be hidden away.
Tip nine: Think about styling and lighting
Magazines, blogs and Pinterest are full of ideas for styling your big day. You can go big or not, but these elements will create the overall look and vibe of your day and potentially give the photographs a continuity and provide your photographer with things to frame you with. Furthermore, once the lights go down a lot of daytime styling can disappear, so lanterns, lightbulbs and even light letters can add something to these photos and look elegant in the dark.
Tip ten: Choose a Photographer who makes you feel comfortable
My final tip is this. Believe it or not, you will probably spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than any other person, even your partner. Choose a photographer whose work you love because you will trust them, but also choose a photographer whom you feel comfortable around and will enjoy spending a lot of time with because (as I said in tip #1) being relaxed is how you will be sure to look great in your Wedding Photographs.
Husband and wife combo, Chris and Chantelle, are the creative minds behind Underatreehouse Photography. Chris' experience as a photojournalist combined with Chantelle's background as an event planner creates the perfect mix to make your wedding photography truly unforgettable.