Don't you hate when people say that right before they take your picture? As if you're going to stand there with a giant frown when you know a lens is honed in right on your face. Still, despite the reminder, the smile isn't really what you're thinking about - you're more focused on whether or not there's a bit of spinach stuck in those teeth. Is your mascara under your eyes? Is your bra strap showing? Do your pores look huge? And while you're posing stiff as a board going through your mental checklist, the photographer is just clicking away.
"Done," he or she announces. Then you have that brief moment of hope that maybe you still looked natural through all that....until you get the pictures back. No dice.
Don't lie, you know exactly what we're talking about here. We've all been through it. But here's the good news -- our friend Michelle, VP of Operations over at Mike Staff Productions, broke down how to get that natural look for your engagement and wedding day photos. Here are her top tips on taking the perfect photo:
Relax. Your wedding day photos will capture any stress that you are carrying. First, and foremost, relax before starting wedding day photography. Your wedding photographer works for you, so if you need a moment to collect yourself – do it! When you are ready to begin your wedding day portraits, take a deep breath, tilt your chin down, raise your eyes just above the camera and smile.
If you find that having the focus on you gets to be too much, have a seat, walk together or just spend a few moments talking. Your photographer can shoot from a distance, capturing genuine, intimate moments.
Slimming Tips. Before your wedding day, practice standing in front of a full length mirror. Look at your reflection and then stand up straight. You’ll notice the instant slimming that takes place as you lengthen your spine. Try to get into the habit of practicing good posture.
Whenever you angle your body, you reduce the amount of yourself in the camera lens. Practice angling your body 45 degrees from the camera, but continue to turn your head towards it. By pointing your front leg and shifting your weight to your back leg, you maximize this thinning effect.
Work the pose! When you hold your bouquet, pose next to someone or alone, be sure to leave a little room between your arm and body. When your arms are held tightly against you, the arm muscles spread, which will make them look heavier. Bending your elbows helps to diminish this effect.
Ask for photos that show movement, which allows the body to be shown in a natural way. Walking, running, dancing, and twirling can all be incorporated into dynamic, flattering poses.
The Perfect Smile. “I hate my smile” is something photographers often hear. The reason for that is most people don’t know how to give a pretty, but fake smile. Look at pictures of yourself that you find flattering. Were they shot from the same angle? Is your smile similar in each? Share some of your favorites with your photographer so he understands what you think is the best for you.
When smiling for your wedding day photos, try these tips for the perfect smile:
- Most people prefer a smile that shows the upper teeth without too much gums.
- Tilt your head a bit as you pose. Most faces really do have a “good side” as faces are not perfectly symmetrical.
- Keep your top and bottom teeth slightly parted. If they aren’t your smile may look forced.
- Take frequent drinks or run your tongue over your teeth to keep them moist and sparkling.
Kissing Shots. This is a fun one to practice! Practice almost kissing; much more flattering than pursed lips, smushed faces or the dreaded “duck face”. Slightly parted lips brought in close give you the look of a kiss, but still allow your face to be soft and relaxed.
Additionally, not every kiss needs to be on the lips. A kiss on the cheek, neck, forehead or hand can be actually be more intimate than a standard kissing photo.
Hire A Professional Photographer. Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event – and there is only one chance to capture the look, feel and memories. Select a professional wedding photographer whose work you’ve seen, reviews you’ve read and comes referred by people you trust.
Go Pro With Your Look. There are many ways you can save on your wedding day, but don’t cut costs when it comes to your wedding day look. Pamper yourself with a professional hair and makeup session on your wedding day – just be sure to go for a trial run at least one month in advance so you’ll have time to adjust if necessary.
Get the right dress – for you. You will feel confident and look great on your wedding day when you have a wedding dress that fits well. Whatever your body type, pick a dress that you feel comfortable in and make it yours! Be sure to have professional fitting and alterations – no bride wants to spend the day adjusting her dress or looking uncomfortable in pictures.
Engagement Sessions. Most couples have never spent a day being professionally photographed. If your schedule allows, consider an engagement session with your photographer. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your photographer, practice poses you’ll use on your wedding day and generally get comfortable in front of the camera. Not to mention all the great images you’ll get!
Schedule Time. An often overlooked aspect of great looking wedding photos is the time it takes to create them. A photography plan can prevents you from spending too little or too much time on your wedding photos. A photographer will likely have suggestions from their experience, but can only understand your unique wishes by developing a plan with you. Generally, you’ll want to allot one hour for your romantic photos as a couple.
Partner With Your Photographer. Your photographer will have creative ideas and can draw upon their experience to help pose and guide you for your wedding photos. But it’s also important that you share how you are feeling. Do you need more or less direction? Does something feel uncomfortable? Do you have a great idea you were hoping to try? Sharing this information with your photographer helps to create wedding photos you’ll love. Don’t be shy – this is your wedding day!