HOW TO NOT LOOK AWKWARD IN YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS
‘I hate having my photo taken!! I don’t know how to pose, I’m going to end up looking like a dribbling fish’
The Awkward Chart
Your wedding day is like no other event in your life… even that sentence makes me feel nervous. There’s an invisible set of expectations that you’re somehow meant to conform with, despite it going against every principal you live in your daily life.
Sure you’ve got a few selfies with your partner, even those can be a bit awkward. So the thought of having a professional freeze moments that ‘you will cherish forever’ is a daunting prospect.
Below is my tried and tested theories, tips and facts about how you can feel good on your wedding day
First let’s talk about the human brain, Dr. Thomas C. Wilson, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia has been studying ‘awkwardness’ for the last 20 years. He explains that we’re ‘Violating our norms’, but he argues that it is in fact helpful, leading us to new experiences. Like, I dunno, say staring in your very own beautiful wedding photo?!
So you want to be somewhere between a Labrador and Kylie Jenner right?!
The Anti Awkward Checklist
The good news is that by default you’ll be in such a high mood on your wedding day that the ‘violating the norms‘ feelings will be a lot less than you might suspect as all of those wonderful dopamine hormones zip around your body.
The other good news is that if you choose the right photographer then they will be well experienced in making anyone, from a Turtle to a Ryan Reynolds feel great in front of the camera.
It’s not the 1800’s any more. Camera’s are lightning quick and are more accurate than ever. Meaning photographers can spend their energy towards making you feel good, not second guessing the perfect settings.
The secret sauce for the photographers out there is to never talk about the camera, in fact barely mention photography at all. It’s like talking about moving your feet while you’re walking, it’s just happening and it really doesn’t need to be mentioned. The only time I ever really talk about my cameras and what I’m thinking is when one of the couples relatives (lovely labelled an ‘Uncle Bob’) starts a conversation with me.
I ruin peoples perception of my job a lot. People expect me to worrying around and scurrying for the next incredible moment. All while missing what’s right in front of me, happening live, like, right now. Don’t get me wrong, a great backdrop with beautiful lightening is the best thing ever, but it doesn’t mean a thing if the people stood in the photo are awkward.
To summarise this point, book someone that you like, check their work before hand, but make sure they click with who you are. If you’re a no faff couple who are camera shy, don’t book a photographer who is fine art, posey and a perfectionist. Which sounds like hate talk, it’s really not, I have great admiration for those style of shoots, they’re just not my cup of tea.
Book a photographer who you think would make a great wedding guest. They’ll mingle, chat and genuinely enjoy the wedding day, which directly converts into natural photos.
But What About Formal Photos?
Those keepsake family photos of your nearest and dearest do not have to be painful. In fact they can be quite fun! Whenever I’m asked for my details by a couple at a wedding, it’s always straight after group shots. I honestly don’t know what photographers are doing for 20 plus minutes, just round everyone up and take the photo!? It’s really not that difficult. Of course uncle Bob is at the bar, of course the maid of honour has nipped for a wee. These things happen and if your photographer is a wedding pro then this is not a form of stress but just part of the process. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve looked around almost ready to start the group photos just to discover that everyone has gone to check in at a hotel or the best man has done a houdini, but have I ever missed the group shots? No, I’ve come exceptionally close a couple of times but just roll with the flow of the day and let your photographer do the internal worrying.
Never take yourself too seriously!
I’m Not-So-Secretly Dreading the Couple Shots
Well I’m with you there, the thought of a specific time that I must look the best I ever have and will be printed for generations to come… erm, no thanks, that’s super awkward!! How about we go for a walk instead, you keep that crazy high mood, I won’t interrupt that just-married feeling and the shots will happen before know it. Most of the time my best shots are when I get 5 minutes with the couple later in the day, not only because they’re normally drunk but also because ‘oh it’s only Darren, he’s been stalking us all day.’ Call it Stockholm syndrome, call it a moral grey area, I’m not sure, but I do know for certain that once you’re ‘over it’ then the photos are infinitely better.
If you really want to know some basic go-to poses then here’s a couple a pointers
- Grab your new wife/husband, generally around the waist, but face will do too. Make a connection between you, hold hands, hug, be yourself.
- Do not look at the lens, it’s probably pretty big and it’s massively off putting
- Keep your hands busy, hold your flowers, a drink, anything. Wearing a suit? Nothing says more relaxed than comfortable hands, try putting them around your partner, in a trouser pocket, hold your blazer. Do not over think it.
- Never put all your weight equally on both feet, it’s never a good look
- Don’t feel the need to have a staring competition with your partner, it’s not normal, it’s pretty weird and it gets awkward really quickly
If you’re an aspiring photographer reading this guide then check out an article I wrote on ShootDotEdit about how I treat my clients, it’s pretty extensive and you’ll get tonnes of great info