As wedding photographers we get this all the time. Every week I meet with people that tell me they don’t like the way they look in photos. “We are really not photogenic” or “I don’t like my fiance’s smile in front of a camera” or “I find it very hard to relax and feel very nervous in front of a camera”. Well, fear not. The truth is, being photographed for hours on end is not something any of us are used to. But what you have to realise is that while being in front of a camera is foreign to you, being behind a camera is nothing new to your wedding photographer. As wedding photographers we typically shoot 2000 people per year over the course of our weddings and other events and by now we know how to make people relax and look their best – this is what you are paying us for, right? And this is why you are not getting your family friend with a good camera to shoot your wedding. What you fear is going to happen normally never does and you will be pleasantly surprised with how good you look in your portraits.
If you had a good meeting and you “gelled” well, chances are the same thing will happen in front of the camera. Don’t bulletproof your shoot before it evens happens. You have to trust your photographer’s abilities to bring out the best in you. I know all the objections: “My arms are fat, this is not my best side, I don’t look good being shot from the side, below, above, I blink a lot, my skin tone is too dark and you have to use flash to lighten me up, etc. etc”. The list goes on and on. I urge couples not to think about it too much because you are actually more than likely going to sabotage your own shoot starting out. The best way to approach it is to show up and enjoy the process!
Of course it is a good idea to work with your photographer beforehand. There is no harm in showing him/her your mood board or examples of their work that you like. But realize that wedding photography is a spontaneous life event and no photographer worth his/her salt will force a specific pose if the elements are not right on the day. You have to trust them. A good photographer have enough ways to pose you and make you look your best, crack a few jokes and make you smile. And we have good equipment, so you needn’t worry about the way you normally look in photos that are taken with point-and-shoots or cell phone cameras. Our lenses are of the highest professional grade so problems you normally identify when looking at a photo of yourself will be eliminated. Again, relax and trust your photographer.
When I do a pre-wedding shoot with any of my couples we probably do more talking and walking around than actually shooting. Of course on the wedding day things are a little more structured and timed but it should still be fun, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I thought it a nice idea to show you a few images of some of my couples that were very nervous beforehand. I think you will agree that there was no reason to be – they all look like models from a fashion magazine!