Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting some really lovely brides-to-be and their families at the Village Hotel in Bury...they were all so excited, each had their own unique style, many had just booked their venues and were just looking for their photographer, others were in the very early stages, only recently engaged and trying to get ahead of the planning so it wouldn't catch up with them later down the line. The couples drawn to our table were interested in something a bit different, a bit more relaxed, a bit more informal and EVERY SINGLE ONE said, somewhat sheepishly:
'I really hate having my picture taken!'
'I just want to relax and not pose for any photos'
'I look AWFUL in photos'.
Ok so we'll get to each of those concerns but the biggest one, as a photographer, that I hear is the age-old story of not feeling photogenic/comfortable in front of camera/that you don't look like yourself in pictures.
I totally get it.
And as someone more used to being on the business end of a photograph, I share your concerns!
HOWEVER. (that word seems to show up a lot on this blog!) As someone who has photographed weddings for the past five years and seen every shape/size/style/look of bride, I can categorically say that
EVERY SINGLE BRIDE DAZZLES on her wedding day.
You are completely aglow with the excitement and anticipation and sheer catharsis that is the culmination of hundreds of hours spent planning. Your skin is radiant, your eyes are bright, your energy bounces off of you in a way that is almost palpable to everyone around you. You are the most beautiful you have ever been because this day, this perfectly imperfect magical day is simply about JOY.
Roald Dahl once said that 'when you have happy thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.'
So you count on that love to illuminate you, you give in to nature and trust that you will look perfect because how could you not?!
'Yeah, Kate cheers for the hippie logic, but can I have some real advice please?'
Alright. On a practical side, there are a few things you can actually do in the time leading up to the biggest photo shoot of your life to make things more relaxed and help you worry a bit less:
1. Have more than one face-to-face meeting with your photographer, preferably at your venue. It's so important that we get a sense of each other, that I know what kind of photos you two are after but also what kind of banter you have with each other. Do not discount the three page wedding questionnaire either! The more info I have, including a rough itinerary for the day, the smoother things will go and the more relaxed you'll be knowing it is already taken care of. Oddly, it can also be nice to see each other in our eventual professional environment!
2. BOOK AN ENGAGEMENT SHOOT! I mean it, and this isn't a sales pitch, especially if you know you feel awkward in front of a camera, you get a sense of what kind of a photographer and director I am and I get an idea of what kind of couple you are: are you very tactile with each other? Not so much into PDA? More playful? Still shy (this is super sweet!)? Plus you get a set of some cute non-wedding photos! Win-win!
3. Pinterest like crazy! Send me photos of weddings that inspire you! Some photographers advise against this and on one hand I agree as we all do have our own individual style (which is why you chose us to shoot your wedding in the first place!) but if I can get a clearer picture of the types of moments you'd like captured, I can serve you better on the day. Whilst I would never copy a specific photo, we can find ways to emulate the vibe of an image so that it reflects your unique style!
4. Give in to tradition. 'We hired you because we wanted more natural photos, not a traditional posed photo shoot!' Yeah, I hear you. But you also have parents or grandparents or older relatives of some sort who will want a lovely smiling photo with the happy couple and rather than fight them, it's nice to just set aside an extra 5 minutes. We can always be a bit creative with these! Let's keep everyone happy!
So there you go! Some of this may not be new advice, some may not be exactly what you wanted to hear but no matter what, just think of those sunbeams. Take heed of the rom-com masterpiece, 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days': You are never more beautiful than when you are in love...or something like that.