Overcoming awkwardness: advice from the heart for camera-shy brides and grooms
If you’re super confident having your photo taken, you can read something else instead. This one’s for the rest of us: we’re just a teeny bit nervous we’ll feel awkward having our photos taken. Am I right? You’d be surprised how many couples mention Chandler from Friends in chats with their wedding photographer… loads of us think we freeze up and go weird in front of the camera. The good news is, that’s not going to be the case for you when you’ve read this blog post. We – ie me and lovely Jordanna Marston Photography – are here for a friendly chat about how YOU can enjoy your wedding day, forget about the camera and LOVE your photos!
Old school wedding photos were all about smiling at the camera. Faces directly to the lens, fixed grin, eyes wide open (no blinking!) and ‘click’! Just enough time for a Chandler-style face-freeze to kick in… But did I say old school? Yes I did – because there’s a BETTER way now. Wedding photography isn’t just about portraits of the two of you. That’s not what you want to remember, trust me! You want to remember your whole day: the guests, the atmosphere and the general vibe of it all… and you want to see yourselves having the time of your LIFE, bang in the middle of it all.
Here’s how to make that happen.
1. Choose the right wedding photographer
You’re looking for two things when you book a wedding photographer: you want the photos to look amazing, and you want a really nice, authentic, friendly happy human being. And those two things are of equal importance. So look at portfolios and websites and instagram grids. Find images which jump out at you: photos you can imagine yourselves in. But read the ‘about’ pages too. Check the comments on instagram – how does your photographer sound? Nice? Or awesome, even? Go with your instincts. Give them a call, have a chat on Skype, ask all your wedding photography questions and see if you hit it off… and the awkwardness will fade!
Because basically the more comfortable you are around your wedding photographer, the less they’ll feel like a photographer and the more they’ll feel like a friend. And having a friend around isn’t going to make you grimace at the camera: you’ll be more relaxed and it will show in your photos!
2. Choose the right photography style for YOU
Did you know wedding photographers come in different flavours? There are the documentary style photographers (Jordanna’s one of our faves!), the fine art photographers, the traditional photographers and the fashion photographers. Top tip: if you’re worried you’ll feel awkward having your photos taken on your wedding day, the fashion ones aren’t for you. The traditional photographers can be quite techy and formal; the fine art guys are very modern and capture details in a light and airy style. But for couples who are a little nervous about wedding photography? It’s the documentary wedding photographers who have your back.
Documentary wedding photography means no posing, no cheesy direction – just capturing the happiest, most fun, authentic, emotional and special moments of your day. You’ll barely look at the camera – and while you hardly know she/he’s there, your photographer will be getting your very BEST moments! That means no awkwardness, just joyful celebrations with your loved ones, beautifully captured on camera.
3. Have a pre wedding shoot
Having a Skype chat or conversation with your photographer will go a long way towards overcoming your awkwardness with them. But I guess if you’re reading this you’re nervous about the camera itself. The pointing and clicking… and your absolute belief that your face will go weird at all the wrong moments? So I absolutely, totally, wholeheartedly recommend you have a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer.
It might sound a bit nerve wracking at first, but trust me on this one: the more time you spend in front of the camera, the more relaxed you’ll be with it. And if on your wedding day you’re familiar with how your photographer works, how he/she speaks and acts around you and so on* you will be much less awkward when you’re having your photos taken.
*There’s a great little bit on Jordanna Marston’s website: “I am handy with a buttonhole; always carry immodium, tit tape and paracetamol; love kids; drive a fuel efficient car; (apparently) happy to kneel in goose poo to get the shot; very willing to talk absolute rubbish to keep you calm pre ceremony; am always smiling and never stressed.” I love this because it says so much about her personality and how she works. How could you fail to giggle beautifully when your photographer’s kneeling in goose poo?
4. Be yourself
The awkward face you make (or imagine you make) in photos? That’s not your normal, usual, all-day face. Someone would have mentioned it. Your usual face is really lovely! And it’s especially lovely when you’re with that person you’re going to marry. It’s smiley and full of love and happiness. When you look into your favourite human’s eyes, which of those faces are you wearing? I already know: it’s the beautiful, bursting-with-love happy face. So son’t think you have to do anything different or special for the camera – just be yourself.
Jordanna told me even when she’s shooting couple portraits with just the two of you on your wedding day, all she asks is that you be yourselves. You’re unique, your relationship is unique and that’s what makes it so very special. “I’ll be looking for those inbetweeny moments where your personalities are shining through and I can see that genuine connection between you.”
5. Chill – forget the logistics
A great photographer isn’t one who just points and clicks when they’re told to. A wedding photographer’s work involves so much more… and means you shouldn’t be worrying about the logistics of it all. Rounding folks up for group shots, finding the best spots for your couple photos… all of this should be left to your awesome wedding photographer. Relax. Feel that ‘just married’ feeling and let everything else fall into place around you.
6. Keep your photographer in the loop
Jordanna told me she really gets to know her couples, and together they complete a detailed plan of the day before the wedding. This means she doesn’t have to check details or plans with you on the day itself. All of these little things will help you relax generally as well as in front of the camera. The result? Lovely, natural images of your wedding day.
7. Remember how gorgeous you are!
Let’s add a little context as a final note about feeling awkward in front of the camera… because girl you KNOW you’re going to look good!!
Imagine it’s your wedding day…
You just spent a whole year or so choosing your outfits.
Someone maybe came in to do your hair.
You had your make up done – and before that, you had a make up trial done! (When’s that ever happened before?)
Your besties helped you get dressed, even!
You’re both the happiest you’ve ever been – you just got married!!!
So believe you me, you look AMAZING!!!
You’re both glowing, you’re alive and alight with the love around you. You’re the best version of you ever so enjoy it you QUEEN!!