Like a wedding photographer, I go to and photograph weddings almost every other week . In San Francisco Bay Area and the sun drenched California, the wedding season allows for year around weddings which means there are plenty of weddings to photograph all the time. And after a while one realizes that there are commonalities between all weddings: Every brides wishes for a happy wedding and to look great on their wedding photos.
This comes to no surprise. Many brides have been planning their weddings for years and are expecting nothing else but the best. When it comes to wedding photography, discussing the locations and poses for the bride & groom portraits, the poses for the family formals, deciding on adding a secondary photographer for the ceremony, etc are just few of the ways photographers and brides prepare for their weddings.
But even the most elaborate planning and preparation efforts, can fall short sometimes. In many cases, the missing ingredient for better wedding photos is simply the facial expressions and postures of those being photographed. While many wedding photographers fill their portfolios with staged, themed wedding images featuring experienced and very pretty models, posing in front of the camera is not something many brides have experience with. And while the themed photo sessions can stretch for several hours and are the result of elaborate preparation, weddings on the other side, no matter how carefully planned and rehearsed, are still non choreographed and feature “every day” brides.
So what, brides can do to look better on their wedding photos?
I have compiled a list of eight easy tips to keep in mind (or even share with your wedding photographer). These tips, which I gave to all the brides I have worked with, did make improvements into the way how the final images turned out, so I hope they will be helpful for other brides as well.
1. Slow Down:
No matter if you walk down the aisle, kissing your husband or wife for the first time during the ceremony, leaving the ceremony as a married couple, remember to slow down. Holding your first kiss for few seconds rather than a quick one second touch on the lips, means you will have much more images to picks from for your album later.
Same when walking: the slower you walk down the aisle, the more images your wedding photographer could capture. This is the best day of your life, so try not to rush through it. There are so many pictures your photographer can take while you are on the move. Slowing down really helps to capture the moments.
2. Look Up, Ideally at Your Photographer:
The most telling and exciting part of a human face are the eyes. They speak about how the bride and groom fell during their wedding, so it is important for your wedding photographer to get a good sight of them while photographing you. Remember to look up and towards your photographer when:
- walking down the aisle
- during the ceremony
- especially during the formal group portraits
- first dance
- cake cutting
While many photographers nowadays capture candid images during the wedding as part of their photojournalistic style photography, capturing images of the bride or groom looking down or away during the formal pictures, looks bit unnatural and disengaging. It is much better to capture an image of the bride looking upon her groom while walking down the aisle rather than at her feet. Or in the camera during the group formals. Believe me, I have seen many pictures which otherwise would have been perfect only if the eyes were pointed at the right direction: towards the camera.
Related: Wedding Photography Styles Explained
Wedding day if both stressful and exciting for the bride and groom. The emotions are running high with so many things happening or the whole program running behind schedule. So with all the stress and rushing, brides and grooms often forget to enjoy the moments of their wedding and crack a smile.
Smiling faces are what makes great wedding photos, especially genuine laughs and unpretentious display of joy. It is what every wedding photographers looks for and dream of capturing.
So if there is anything you should remember for your wedding day, it is to SMILE. A lot. Be happy, smile often and look at your photographer from time to time. He or she will be around and expecting your smiles and laughs. Believe me, later you would love these joyful pictures of you smiling and having fun on your wedding.
4. Relax and Enjoy the Moment:
Don’t let your nervousness ruin your wedding pictures. Feeling relaxed deep inside yourself, would make you look and appear more relaxed on your wedding photos. Try to breathe deep and not to rush through the moments. Enjoy the day and take your time.
Keep on eye on your wedding schedule but don’t let it control you. It’s your day and yes things will get off track, but it is more important for you to have fun and look relaxed rather than stressed and nervous. Remember, no photographer in the world can make you look relaxed and smiling on your photos, when you are actually not. Sadly, no Photoshop can fix this either.
5. Get Great Looking Arms:
There is a simple tip I like to give my bride clients for great looking arms: Try to lift out your arms out slightly to the side of you body. Leaving some room between your biceps and triceps, helps in two ways:
- it reduces the appearance of broad shoulders when the arms are down and tightly pressed against your body. The opening between your arms and body would make you look slimmer and shoulders looking less bulky
- it makes your arms look slimmer not bloated by simply not pressing them against your body
So instead of trying to camouflage the underarm jiggle, slightly lift out your arms when posing. It would make your arms look much better on the wedding pictures.
6. Keep a Good Posture:
Ask a psychologist what contributes to a good posture and he will tell you the answer: Self Confidence. When you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, you tends to shrink into yourself. It is a natural survival instinct: smaller body is the defensive mechanism our brains are instructing us to take, when we don’t feel confident. So we tend to slouch and bring in our shoulders. And for brides it makes it even worst: it exaggerates the appearance of a double chin.
So do yourself a big favor and remember not to slouch during your wedding. Instead, put your shoulders back, push your chest forward and pull your belly button towards your spine. This will not only make you taller but will make you look slimmer too.
Standing up straight would make you look tall, confident, and more photogenic. It has worked for many brides I have coached before their weddings and would work for you as well.
For a great looking chin and to conceal any sightings of a double chin, extend your chin slightly. It is easy to do and it makes a huge difference in the final images.
The last thing for a great looking posture is to reduce the tension out of your jaw, shoulders and neck while taking few deep breaths from time to time. And voila! You will have a great looking posture on your wedding photos.
7. Pose Sideways:
For a slimmer look on your wedding pictures, remember to pose sideways instead of straight towards the camera. You will be amazed by how much slimmer you would look if you remember to turn your body slightly left or right when posing. The camera would capture your body at an angle and this will make you look much slimmer than you actually are. And lastly don’t forget to turn your upper body and head towards the camera.
8. Pop The Hip Away From The Camera:
Most people like to stay balanced when posing or standing on their feet. It feels natural and safer, so that is what we all do when asked to pose standing.
But this results into a straight body line which doesn’t make as visual impact as curved body shapes. The viewer’s eye would go from top to bottom in a straight line instead of wandering and exploring your wedding photos. And the less time someone’s eyes spend on looking at an image, the less time their brains have to get excited and remember it.
So here is a simple tip to remember: When posing in a standing pose, shift the weight of your body onto the back leg (the leg which is not facing the camera) and pop your hip away from the camera. This will add curve to your body posture (more interest) and also make your hip appear smaller on the photos. Or as photographers like to say: Whatever is closer to the camera, it looks larger.
There are so many things a bride can do to look better on her wedding pictures. From keeping fit before the wedding, to having plenty of rest the night before the wedding, to having the best hair and makeup she can afford. And this is what most of the brides do. But by adding the steps above to your wedding preparation, you can look even better on what matters the most: your wedding pictures and album. This is what you would pick later and show to your friends. These are the memories you would pass to your children so they can see your beauty and excitement on your wedding day.
But these tips are not brides only. They could be used by wedding photographers as well to remind their clients on how to look better on their wedding day. So if you are bride, share them with your wedding photographer. Or if you are a wedding photographer, educate your bride. Everyone wins!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and found it useful. If so, feel free to share with anyone who is planning their wedding or would be interested. Weddings are such an amazing and exciting event and everyone deserves to look at their best on their pictures.
About the Author:
Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.