Some of the guest blog post ideas I’m sent for English Wedding are fabulous. This is one. Honestly written, funny and charming – and full of genuine advice for grooms. We’ve heard a lot about looking good in wedding photos from various blogs recently, but never a real focus on the groom. And I like to think I know what men need: practical advice, useful ideas and humour. The other thing men need is Tamara Kuzminski – a Hertfordshire wedding photographer full of great advice. She’s the author of today’s guest blog post – so welcome, Tamara, and thank you!
When planning your wedding, most of the advice focuses on the bride. Unsurprising really, when statistically, it’s the brides who do most of the planning and the grooms have (perhaps an unfair) reputation of just turning up, looking smart and saying “I do”. But just because the boys aren’t necessarily as motivated when it comes to collecting ribbon and drying out petals, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to look their best.
So here are my top 5 tips for you, the groom, to make sure you look just as gorgeous as your bride in your wedding photographs.
The groom’s top 5 wedding photography tips
1. Empty your pockets.
You’ve gone to the effort to look smart in a suit. You are sleek, cool, handsome. But what’s that bulging out of your pocket? That’s right, it’s your mobile phone! (That’s what you were thinking too, right?)
Your wedding day is one day when you won’t need all that with you. Everyone who’s anyone in your address book is either there with you or has apologised for not being able to make it (and therefore knows that it’s going on). Bulky pocket contents not only drag your suit down, ruining the lovely line created by your tailor (or the tailor who made it for your suit hire company) but will also be noticeable in your photographs. Especially when it’s such an easy fix. So as soon as you arrive at your church or venue, give your phone (and wallet and keys) to your mum, your sister or your best friend’s wife. If there is an emergency, they know where you are. Oh, and don’t forget to tell your best man and ushers to all do the same!
2. Undo your jacket buttons.
You’re having your photograph taken with all the guys. You know the scenario. Awkward standing around, nervously looking at each other waiting for someone to make the first move. Then someone dares to raise an arm over the groom’s shoulders and suddenly everyone joins in to form a big huddle. There’s suit jackets crowding around everyone’s ears and gaping in front of chests. It’s not really a great look.
Suit jackets are created to hang really well when you’re standing up straight. As soon as you try raising your arms, that great shape suddenly can become a hindrance. But with the simple unbuttoning of your jacket, the shape is allowed to flow again.
3. Dare to wear colour.
Why let the girls have all the fun in the fashion stakes on your wedding day? It’s a great opportunity to allow your personality to really shine, in a way that you perhaps don’t get to do during the working week. Don’t think that a groom’s suit is all about black. Or maybe grey. There’s a multitude of colours out there to choose from. Or, if you’re not feeling bold enough to go head-to-toe in another colour, how about just flashing it a bit with the lining of your suit? Or having a coloured waistcoat? Or a characterful tie or bowtie? Or even your socks or style of shoes. It’s all about letting your personality be seen. Tradition is great, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative too.
Don’t forget your ushers and best man either. You will look fabulous co-ordinated, but all wearing different shades of the same colour is the new black.
4. Stand tall.
We all know that you have the physique of a gladiator, but just in case you need some help showing it off to its full advantage (a.k.a. helping to hide the bits you don’t like) then these can make a big difference.
No matter how slim you are, tipping your chin down slightly is a trick used by all celebrities and is much more photogenic than raising it up. If you’re worried about your chin, the best way to minimise it is to stand tall and bring your chin forward slightly (even if it feels slightly odd). Your photographer will be choosing the most flattering lens and angle to photograph from too, so don’t overthink it. Remember that genuine expression and emotion wins over a stiff pose every time.
Men naturally stand facing the camera straight on but it’s not necessarily the most flattering pose. If you angle yourself slightly and put your weight on your back foot, it will look more natural, unless you’re going for a more graphic and stylised look.
If you’re not sure what to do with your hands, put them in your pockets. It’s easy when you’re with your bride, she’s so gorgeous you can’t keep your hands off her anyway! But if it’s just you, or you and your groomsmen in the photograph, they might not appreciate the same touchy-feely approach. If you’re feeling awkward with your hands, just hide them away in your pockets (opening your jacket button at the same time).
5. Be yourself, have fun and have confidence.
This tip is probably the most important of them all. If you only take one thing away with you, make it this one. Be yourself. If you’re relaxed in yourself, this will come across in your photographs, and most importantly, you will enjoy your day.
Most grooms are not particularly comfortable in front of a camera, so if that’s you, remember to tell your photographer this. Or even better, schedule in an engagement or pre-wedding shoot with them. This might sound like your idea of a nightmare (why would you put yourself through this more than once, eh?) but the confidence you’ll gain from seeing the photographs your photographer can get will mean that it’s not something you’re worrying about on your wedding day. You know and trust that they’ll get great images so you can just have a great time. Having no confidence in front of the camera is the biggest difference in terms of getting good versus great photographs. And I know you’re after “wow!”
If you have any more tips, all the grooms out there would love to hear them. Please do share them in the comments below.
Tamara Kuzminski is a Hertfordshire wedding photographer, photographing weddings in the London area and Scandinavia.