A big part of my philosophy as a wedding photographer lies in the belief that how you are feeling the moment your picture is taken plays a huge role in how you will feel about the final image. If you are feeling uncomfortable or nervous, you will be reminded of those emotions weeks, months or even decades later whenever you look at your wedding photos.
When meeting couples for the first time, one of the things I most often hear is “My partner and/or I get really nervous in front of the camera and don’t like having our picture taken”. And I totally get it – I don’t like having my photograph taken a whole lot either! I know… it sounds weird right, a photographer who doesn’t like having their picture taken.. I mean, “Is this guy some kind of sadomasochist?” 😉
But feeling self-conscious in this situation is natural if you think about it… having to stand there with someone staring directly at you watching your every move. And then despite the discomfort you have to try and force a smile and look like you’re enjoying the experience. I mean, I’m pretty sure that would make most people feel a bit uncomfortable.
Now imagine, looking back on an image from your wedding day on your Golden Anniversary and remembering the way you’d laughed so hard because your husband had just told you the funniest, filthiest joke you’d ever heard. Or how you’d beamed like you were going to explode as he’d just whispered the most romantic thing into your ear, and how in that precise moment in time you’d never felt more loved in your entire life. For me, this is where the power and the magic of photography truly lies. This is what it means to truly capture moments.
I believe that in order to get the best images of the two of you as a couple, you shouldn’t even be looking at the camera. You shouldn’t be ‘posing’ or actively trying to do anything for the picture. You should simply be focused on each other, enjoying the moment and loving each other intently. Because, whilst it is possible to fake a smile or a laugh for a picture, it is impossible to fake a moment of pure joy!
A lot of articles in magazines or blogs dealing with ‘How To Nail Your Wedding Photography’ discuss how to pose or stand and tell you to practice – or even watch a few episodes of ‘Next Top Model’! But really, how and where you stand should be left to the photographer in order to best compose the shot and fit the couple within the frame.
I believe the best way to get an amazing image is to simply explain to the couple “I’m going to pose you in so far as tell you where to stand and roughly how to be, facing each other etc. Then once you are in position, just feel free to be together. Laugh, talk, hold each other and simply enjoy the moment”.
And then, I simply step back and watch… from experience, I know how to anticipate the moment so that I’m ready to capture the frame just as a natural smile graces your face or your lover holds you that little bit tighter.
Sometimes, earlier in the shoot, or with couples who have expressed feeling uncomfortable in front of the camera, I might step back a little further or use a longer lens. This allows the couple a little bit of extra space to really focus on each other.
At this point, you shouldn’t be thinking about me or the photograph. There shouldn’t be anything else in the whole world except the two of you.
If you share a kiss, kiss with all the passion that your wedding day deserves. Hold each other close in celebration of your love.
Having already stood in front of your assembled guests, declared your love and had them witness your first married kiss, this moment should hold no nerves – just joy!
Because out of your entire wedding day, this is quite possibly the only opportunity you’ll both have to be alone – so is truly a moment to be cherished.
My five top tips to help you totally ROCK your wedding photos:
1. Don’t fake it, be real.
2. Remember how you feel when the pictures are taken will affect how you feel when you look back on the images in years to come.
3. Focus each other and enjoy the moment, let the photographer worry about the pictures.
4. Enjoy it.
5. And of course, love the SHIT out of each other!!!
Words and images: Ben Wyeth Photographer