Natural wedding photography – 5 top tips for the camera shy getting married.
You want those natural wedding photographs and you want the best day of your life documented however, for most, the thought of ‘all eyes on me’ and a camera in our face fills us with dread….but we all know wedding photography is part and parcel of a wedding day. So how does one balance the fear of the camera and the desire to cherish photographs of the best day of their life? Well read on and you may just find the next 250 words the handiest you have read in preparation for your wedding day and getting natural wedding photography.
I get told a lot that my wedding photography is very much natural and story telling in style. I am as pleased as punch when this is said and graciously accept the compliment whilst I say that good natural wedding photos are a partnership between the couple and the photographer. We work together to get those gorgeous photos. We work together on ignoring me. Yes, ignore.
But how? How do you ignore a ‘stranger’ with a massive camera shoved in your face?
1) Don’t be a stranger
I pride myself on taking the time in getting to know my couples and allow couples to get to know me! This helps in abundance on the day so you are comfortable around me, I can blend in with you and your guests because you have built a relationship with me. I don’t need to know all your deep dark secrets or be invited to Sunday dinner once a month but I like it when we can talk about common interests or funny stories. A small email here and there, a bit of banter on social media or tuning in to my Instagram stories, are a great way to interact with me and vice versa. I am not like the florist or venue dresser who will do a fab job and leave my creation on the day. I am going to be with you and your guests all day. I feel utterly privileged to be there and for me to capture those natural photos, I sort of loosely, need to know what makes you smile and tick.
2) Please, please, please get a pre-wedding shoot
It’s not a con or a ploy to get more money. It really isn’t. You may have heard of a pre-wedding shoot, couples shoot or engagement shoot. They are all the same thing – basically a photo shoot before your wedding day with your chosen photographer. I just said about not being a stranger, right? Well, what better way to get to know me and how I work?! Often, ladies, it’s the blokes that need the convincing here. I am often told that they are the camera shy one. I urge the camera shy to have photos with me before the big day. The wedding day will probably be nerve wrecking as it is, don’t add to it with nerves about the camera. It’s a big risk. You won’t get to do that day again and if you look back through photographs finding you looked and felt awkward in front of the camera, you’ll regret it. Getting natural photos is all in the feeling – it’s about feeling natural and relaxed. A pre-wedding photo shoot takes 45 mins to an hour where we get together in a picturesque spot (often the wedding day venue) and have walk, chat and play with the camera. The better our rapport, the more comfortable you will be with me on the day. The more comfortable you are, the more natural the wedding photos. If you want to know more, check out my blog on my pre-wedding photography in Rutland, why, where and when.
On the day I am so pleased to find that those who invested in a pre-wedding shoot know just what to do and do it incredibly naturally. Bingo! Natural wedding photos. Double bonus if we are strapped for time. Which leads me nicely to my next tip.
3) Give yourself time on the big day
Natural wedding portraits happen in a slot that you have dedicated for yourselves. When planning and organising your day I recommend slotting in half hour for the couple shots. Try and slot it in after you have greeted folks and had a glass of champagne post ‘I do’s’. At this point people would have congratulated you, complimented you (SOAK. IT. UP.) and are mingling – the perfect time to make a quick escape.
If you under time pressure then it will show in your photos. It is your day and you get to plan and prepare it beforehand. About 4-6 weeks before the day I am in touch with you and send a questionnaire out (or meet for a pre-wedding shoot) to gather as much info about the day. It is at this point we can plan when the natural couple portraits can happen. This half hour for the natural couple portraits will be an absolute god send. The days goes super-fast – SUPER fast, and often you barely have a minute with your new husband as you're mingling with friends and family. This half hour is not just about the romantic natural wedding photos, it’s about taking time out together, holding each other, laughing with one another and celebrating the fact you have just got wed. Do this and you both will look picture perfect.
4) Accept the compliments
Hands in the air if you just….can’t take a compliment? Anyone else get super awkward when receiving a compliment?
Them: You look nice
You: Happy birthday.
Is it the British way? Maybe, but whatever it is, leave it at home on your wedding day. This is your day, yes, you’ll be nervous but use those nerves and enjoy being the centre of attention for one day. Just one day. Take the compliments, believe them and try to avoid being self-conscious. Have a bloody tequila shot if necessary. You have to make the most of it, it really does go SUPER fast (I think I may have said that already, because #fact). It’ll matter when you look back at those natural looking photos. You’ll be stunned by the absolute stunning natural smiles on your faces rather than the untucked shirt or the double chin (which we ALL HAVE WHEN WE LAUGH, another #fact). And again, this leads me nicely to the next point (I’m getting good at this…..)
5) ‘Baby, you should go and love yourself’...yes, I just quoted Justin Beiber
Natural photos look natural. I do not do Photoshop. Why? Because I am against it and the message of always need to look perfect or wedding industry standard (whatever the hell that is). Love yourself.
I remember when I got my wedding photos back, I sat and went through them. No, I mean I analysed them…..okay, I mean I analysed me. I didn’t see the whole photo but instead focused on my arms, my double chin and the lip liner that was slightly overdrawn because I insisted on doing the lips myself and not by the MUA.
I did love my photos, but I didn’t really love me. My hubby kids set me straight they pointing out the gorgeous smiles, the fun and the love. They were right. We look at the wedding photos a lot (they are all over the house, framed and in a photo album the kids adore) but for me, I now look through them with very different eyes. My kids just see a 'beautiful lady' and I now just see the bundles of smiles and love in the photos. When you get your photos back – look at the photo as a whole. Don’t focus on you and analyse yourself like I did. Look at the story of the day, look at the moments. That is what matters! That is why you decided to have natural wedding photography that told a story of your wedding day.
I am of course a professional and experienced in low self esteem (takes a bow) and will absolutely take photos that will flatter you and show you off. Again, a pre-wedding shot is an absolute ideal opportunity for me to get to know you and your feelings towards photos. We can work together on this and I can recommend a good motivational ted talk on self-love...(tee hee!)
So there you have it. My top 5 tips for achieving those natural looking wedding photographs. In essence, keep in touch, be prepared, enjoy the day and love yourself. Simple, right? If you are now convinced on getting that pre-wedding shoot booked in then get in touch pronto. Spring is coming.
Right, sign off time. I apologise for lying about the 250 words of reading. It was in fact 1311 words. But all good advice, no?
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