Wedding days are meant to be among the happiest in our lives, yet there are so many details and worries that it becomes far too easy to get bogged down in worrying about them. Naturally, one of the biggest worries we have is looking less than appealing in our wedding photos. After all, these are the images we'll have with us for the rest of our lives and while we want them to be a good record of the day, we also want to look our best in those images. Because of that, I offer ten fail-proof tips for looking your very best in your wedding photos.
1. Do an engagement shoot
Though you might not have thought about an engagement photo shoot as part of the wedding day photography, it can actually be one of the best ways of looking your best in those important images. How? Check my blog post 10 Tips for Better Engagement Photo Session Poses and consider a few important points. If you take the time to find an engagement photographer, you have also found a good wedding photographer. They will be able to help you look your best in both sets of images, and they reduce your awkwardness or worries. After all, if you have someone you've already spent hours with, shooting photos for your engagement, on the wedding day, you'll be an "old hand" at it and likely to have much better experiences. The photographer will also know exactly how best to shoot your photo, getting the most flattering angles, if they've already done a lot of work with you.
2. Ignore the camera
Unless the photographer specifically asks you to look into the camera, do your best to forget that it is there. Instead, try to engage with your partner or even talk to the photographer rather than freezing in place and staring into the lens. While you may worry that the photographer will catch in a less flattering way if you are not holding a pose, they are actually far more likely to get great images if you are letting your happiness show through as you look at, speak with and kiss or hug your new spouse.
3. Small smiles photograph better
If and when you are going to look directly into the camera, your smaller, sweeter smiles will actually work best for your wedding day. Enormous grins are easy when you are so happy, but they also take on a forced look as the day proceeds. Instead, it is best to be natural, and often it is a smaller smile that appears – and reaches all of the way into your eyes.
4. Know the pose
Do you know "the pose"? Take a moment to search for red carpet poses and you'll see it over and over again. It is done by standing with your lower body angled away from the camera, with one leg much closer to the lens than the other. You turn your upper body to face the camera and let your back leg take most of your weight. This makes anyone look much taller and leaner through the lens.
5. Where's the chin
Both people in the wedding party should practice a bit of "minding their chin". This means knowing how to hold their chin in a way that gives the face good balance. For instance, someone with a pronounced forehead or receding hairline may want to lift their chin up a bit when being photographer. The person with the oval or round face, on the other hand, slightly tilts the chin downward to elongate it. Just know that whatever area of the face is closest to the camera is going to look the biggest – so put that area towards the lens.
6. Suck it in
No, I'm not suggesting you suck it in all day. What I am suggesting is that you suck in your chin. How is that done? It is actually very easy. Just push your tongue tightly against the roof of your mouth. Automatically, it pulls up on the chin area and can help to reduce or even erase a double chin. Practice this in the days or weeks before the wedding because it can be tricky to smile comfortably and naturally while doing it.
7. Be aware of your arms
Did you know that most people automatically press their upper arms against their bodies during photos? This can make the arms appear much larger than they are and it can be very unflattering for a woman in a sleeveless dress. The way to avoid this is to use "the pose" (see above") and put the hand of the arm closest to the camera on your hip. This accentuates the waist line and slims down the upper part of the arm. If you don't want to make this flirty and/or casual pose, you can always just keep the arms lifted a bit off of the body.
8. Posture is important
One of the finest ways to look good in wedding photos, or any photos for that matter, is to use your best posture. Stand straight, chin up, shoulders back and belly pulling upward. This should actually tilt the pelvis forward a bit rather than over-arching the lower back. Practice your posture in the weeks before the wedding and it will become second nature.
8. The eyes have it
There are different ways that people describe smiles that reach the eyes, however, Tyra Banks nailed it when she said that you should always smile. What she meant was smiling with the eyes – even if you are not smiling with the mouth. Think of something funny or happy and note what that does to your eyes. Try to do this in your wedding photos and you'll be astonished at the effect.
9. Teeth whitening
It may seem like a cliché, but it works. Nothing says vibrant, healthy and attractive like the dazzling white smile. Why not include a visit to the dentist before your wedding day and get a gorgeous white grin to pop in all of your photos?
It is not rocket science or an unsolvable mystery to look good in all wedding photos. These tips are sure to help and you should really spend a bit of time practicing if you are worried about this issue.