Everyone feels self-conscious in front of the camera. Unless you happen to be a super model with a million dollar smile.
For us regular folk, the camera brings out all of our insecurities. Do I have a double chin? Does my nose look too big? My left eye is smaller than my right.
Most people have “something” they dislike about their features. And just the thought of having professional portraits taken can make you break out in hives, or raise your anxiety level to Defcon 2.
And no one wants or needs added stress on their wedding day. Am I right?
Step One: Know what bothers you
Take a look at pictures you have of yourself. Really analyze the image. Does something bother you? Do you prefer your left to your right side? Are you self-conscious about your upper arms? Whatever that something is, make sure you convey this to your wedding photographer. Most professional wedding photographer’s will send out a client questionnaire asking several pertinent questions regarding your wedding and images. Make sure you answer honestly, and tell them if something makes you self conscious. This will help them to know how to pose you to capture your perfect side, and obtain images you will love.
If you don’t tell us, we don’t know. So do not be embarrassed to express your dislike of your left ear, or whatever it is. Trust me. All photographer’s want their client’s to fall in love with their images, not cringe because of something we could have easily avoided with better communication. So step one is KNOW before you go.
Step Two: Schedule that engagement session
Most professional wedding photographer’s encourage their couple’s to participate in an engagement session prior to their wedding day. This session serve’s multiple purposes. First, is to get to know one another, face to face, before your wedding. To learn one another’s personality and style. Having an engagement session will help you remain relaxed on your wedding day, as you will already be familiar with your photographer.
The second reason for having an engagement session with your wedding photographer is to get in front of their camera and practice posing! Each photographer has a different style and way they interact with their couples. They may give you some prompts and shoot candids (or the unposed moments, as they naturally happen), they may pose you, or a variation of both. Learning how they will work with you is an important part of the process.
Step Three: Practice
There are four basic poses used in Wedding portraiture. Each core pose has many variations, and can be modified simply be changing head or hand positions.
- Chest to chest.
- Modified Prom Pose ( Bride’s back to Groom)
- Side-link (Where the Bride stands slightly behind and off to the side)
- Traditional (Where the Groom stands straight to the camera, and the Bride stands sideways with her belly button to his hip bone. She will push her hips away from the camera, and pop-or bend her knee, of the front leg.)
Step Four: Take a deep breath and relax
Relax. This one is pretty self explanatory, but it truly makes a difference! If you are stressed, it shows in your images. Your body tightens up and becomes rigid. Smiles are forced and not genuine. Your emotions are conveyed through your body language. You want your images to show the joy and love you are feeling inside. The raw, authentic connection you share as a couple.
Often when working with couples, one of them is not into getting their pictures taken. More times than not, it is the groom. He may joke or complain, but truly it is to hide his insecurity in being in front of the camera. My way of handling difficult situations such as this, is to praise, praise, PRAISE. By complimenting each small positive gesture, his confidence will rise. When you are confident in front of the camera and relaxed, you will start to have fun! Yes, fun! Your photography session should be a positive experience, and yes, enjoyable. Then your photographer will be able to capture real smiles, a great connection, and laughter.
Step Five: Get plenty of rest and Hydrate
Lack of sleep shows on your face. Your skin color changes and dark circles shadow your eyes. I know it is hard to rest and get a good nights sleep when your mind is whirling with anticipation of your big day and everything you have yet to do! If you are over-whelmed and feel the wedding day stress overtaking you, make a list, plan and delegate! You are not alone, and you have people willing and able to help you.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, so you wake looking amazing, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is stated to reduce toxins and make your skin have a radiant glow. Your wedding is a non-stop whirlwind of activity, and drinking plenty of water will keep you from feeling light headed and weak.
Most women prepare for their wedding day by getting pampered with facials and a trip to the spa. If you plan anything such as this, make sure it is something you have tried before. No Bride wants to come down with a rash on her face, or some weird side affect or reaction from using a new product.
I hope these 5 steps to preparing for your couple’s portraits will help you rock your session and more importantly, have fun capturing lifelong memories.
Let me know if this article helped you, and if you have any comments you would like to share.