Some people are natural extroverts who love the limelight. The vast majority of us, however, can be a little self-consciousness in front of the camera. So what can you, the newlyweds-to-be, do to help calm the nerves before your wedding and be comfortable in front of the camera? Lots of things!
It makes perfect, right? Do an engagement session with your photographer first. These are low-pressure shoots with no time crunch. Pick out a location that you enjoy spending time in, wear an outfit that you feel comfortable in, and embrace the experience. This is also a good time to get to know your photographer and how he or she works.
If you’d rather not do an engagement session, spend an afternoon with a friend or family member taking pictures at home or in a park. Go through the images afterward to see which ones you like and which ones you don’t, and why. This knowledge will come in handy on your wedding day.
Do a first look.
Instead of trying to cram all of your couples’ portraits into the small window of time between the ceremony and reception, consider doing a first look before the ceremony. This way, you can do your photos ahead of time when there isn’t as much of a time crunch. Having more time allows you to relax and get creative without having to rush through things.
Try not to get caught up in wedding-day frivolities. Don’t worry about the weather. Don’t worry about the centerpieces. Don’t worry about who doesn’t want to sit next to whom. Just focus on one thing. The only thing that matters: your new husband or wife. A happy couple = a photogenic couple.
Do something goofy.
Have you ever had to do an “ice-breaker” for a college class or for a project at work? The general idea is that, when meeting new people, doing something goofy right off the bat can help you to break down those initial social barriers. The same goes for wedding photography. After the ceremony, Moira and I usually start out with a few bridal party portraits and try to incorporate something that will get everyone laughing. Even if these aren’t the kind of photos that you have your heart set on, it’s a wonderful ice breaking exercise that will get you nice and will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera for your couples’ portraits.
Trust your photographer.
Posing for photos isn’t always the most natural thing to do. Sometimes, it can feel downright awkward. But most of the time, it looks great on camera. Trust that your photographers know what they’re doing and that they have your best interests at heart. Remember why you hired them. You’re in good hands.
Embrace the “in between” moments.
Do what comes naturally and forget about that fact that you’re being photographed. Yes, your photographers will give you direction here and there, but it’s your individual quirks that will really make the shoot.
For example, maybe your photographer asks you to kiss, so you go in for a kiss and bump foreheads. You laugh about it, recompose yourself, and do it again. The best photo in that series was probably the shot of you two laughing. You weren’t posing for that photo; you were just being yourselves. It’s difficult to fabricate that kind of raw emotion. Most of the best photos come from these “in between” moments.
Picture your photographers naked (figuratively).
Hear me out, now. I mean this metaphorically. Your photographers are professionals, but they’re human too. Just like you, they have hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities. Just because you’re in front of the lens doesn’t mean you’re the only one on stage in this situation.
For example, Moira sometimes likes to tell corny jokes during our shoots. And I mean really corny jokes. Like, “Why shouldn’t you play poker in the jungle?” (Answer: “Too many cheetahs”). Sometimes this makes couples laugh, which is a good thing, but it’s not the ultimate goal. Telling corny jokes shows that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and hopefully inspires you to do the same, at least during the shoot. You know how when giving a speech, you’re supposed to picture the crowd naked? Well, telling bad jokes is akin to being naked. And when your photographers are naked, you don’t feel so self-conscious. You can quote me on that.
Have a drink (or two).
No judgment here. A little liquid courage on your wedding day is well within the realm of good taste and can help you to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Just don’t get too sloppy. That’s what the reception is for!