Take a look at your parents’ wedding album. Or your grandparents’. Chances are, they’re filled with pages of formal, staged photos featuring the bride and groom (and their respective families) awkwardly posing with big, plastered-on smiles. Well, times sure have changed. Today’s brides want pictures that effortlessly capture the love, romance and humor of their special day. Here’s how to create memorable moments without forcing a grin.
1. Choose a photographer you’re comfortable with.
“I can’t stress this enough,” says Philadelphia photographer Cliff Mautner, “If you find someone whose approach, demeanor and style fits with your vision, it will come across on camera.” Remember, this person will be trailing you for hours on end, often capturing some very private moments. “I want the bride to really be herself around me,” says Mautner. And you can only do that if you have a good rapport with the person on the other end
of the lens.
2. Don’t face the camera head on. Unless you’re posing for a mug shot, staring straight into the camera is a huge no no. “No one has a perfectly symmetrical face,” says New York photographer Peter Buckingham. “If you turn your head a little to one side or the other, you create dimension and any asymmetry becomes less obvious.” Buckingham suggests looking at old photos to determine which is your better side (everyone has one!).
3. Tilt your body too. Angle your body 45 degrees. It will make your hips look narrower and your whole silhouette appear slimmer.
4. Bring your chin down. If you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model, you know one of the keys to taking a great photo is to “bring your chin down just a hair.” Not only does it eliminate the dreaded double chin factor, says Buckingham, it forces you to look up with your eyes, so they look bigger and brighter.
5. Don’t stress about staging group shots. “Rather than worry so much about the height and juxtaposition of each person, let people stand next to who they want to. The photo will look more at ease and the people will have more fun doing it,” suggests Mautner.
6. Let go of your emotions. A lot of feelings surface during a wedding. Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve even as the camera’s clicking away. “Some of the most flattering images are the ones a photographer captures when least expected, during the most intimate moments throughout the day,” says Mautner. Whether you tear up as your dad gives a toast or crack up as your husband stumbles through your first dance, let your feelings show–ten, twenty, fifty years from now, you’ll be glad you did!