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 bride and groom, do to help calm the nerves before your wedding and be comfortable in front of the camera? Well, lots of things.
Let’s dive in…
It makes perfect, right? Do an engagement photo 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.
Schedule the portraits for after the ceremony.
This is an easy one. You’re most likely going to be nervous before your wedding. But once you’ve said your vows and sealed the deal with a kiss, all of those nerves will magically fade away. This is the best time for photos.
On the flip side of that coin, there tends to be more time for photos before the ceremony. And maybe you’d rather enjoy your cocktail hour with friends and family than spend that time taking photos. There’s no “right” way to do it; you just have to decide which is more important to you.
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/wife.
Do something goofy first.
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 get over that initial social hump. 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 loose for your couple’s portraits.
Trust your photographer.
Posing for photos isn’t always the most natural activity. Sometimes, it can feel downright awkward. But most of the time, it looks great on camera. Trust that your photographer knows what he’s doing and that he has your best interests at heart. Remember why you hired this person. 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 photographer 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. Well, the best photo there was 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.
Feel free to throw out an idea or two. Maybe it’s something your photographer wouldn’t have come up with. Collaboration can lead to great things. When the creative juices start flowing, you’ll lose yourself in the moment and forget about any jitters you may have had earlier.
More on this in a future post…
Picture your photographers naked.
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 inspire you to do the same, at least during the course of our 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. Just don’t get too sloppy. That’s what the reception is for.