Whether you are a bride about to walk down the aisle, have an upcoming engagement photo shoot, or your are attending a wedding this year, many of us feel clueless when it comes to posing and looking our best in photographs. You do not have to be 5’9” and 130 lbs to look fabulous in your wedding photos. As a professional photographer I can assure you that for every great photo of a model you see in a magazine, there were twenty or more not-so great images, and the ones that make the final cut went through extensive retouching and Photoshop maneuvering to eliminate blemishes, bulges, and enhance the model’s features. You can look absolutely ah-mazing on your photos by following a few simple tips and letting your photographer create magic
- The #1 piece of advice I can give all brides or anyone about to have a major photo shoot is to have your hair and make-up done by a professional. These people are trained specifically to know facial structure and color theory to compliment your natural beauty. Most reputable hair stylists and make-up artist can do a complimentary trial run so you can rehearse your look before the important date.
- Do your hair in a way that looks elegant and polished, yet it is not a complete departure from your every day look. Remember you are supposed to feel confident and beautiful. Ditch super-rigid or slicked back do’s or tight, corkscrew curls in favor of soft, silky waves and more relaxed up do’s. Avoid an over-abundance of mousses and sprays that can weigh your hair down and make it look stiff and unnatural.
- Use enough makeup to enhance your features, without overwhelming them.
- Go for foundations that have a yellow or beige-tinted base rather than a pink base. We all have some yellow or beige in our skin and choosing foundations in this color gamut gives us a healthy glow, while pink foundations cast a dull, unhealthy look to our complexion.
- Avoid overly-glittery shadows and lip glosses, especially if your event is in daylight, these can make you look garish and reflect light unfavorably. Go for soft shimmery or matte shadows and lipstick instead. Another reason to use lipstick rather than gloss, the latter seems to be a magnet for loose strands of hair at the most inopportune times, like while saying your vows. Stay away from lip liner that is darker than your lipstick and use a nude liner to keep color from bleeding into your skin instead.
- Line and define your eyes with a soft liner or dark shadow; brown, plum or navy look best. Stay away from black as it can look too severe, unless you are going to a rock concert
- Blend, blend, blend the contours.
- If your wedding is outdoors, keep your makeup as natural as possible.
- Avoid alcohol the night of and before your wedding, it can make you look flushed and make your skin and eyes look tired, and your body bloated. Instead, drink plenty of water during the two days prior to the big day and get rest. They call it beauty sleep for a reason 😉
Posing for the camera
- Posture is crucial. Stand up straight; it takes pounds and years off your appearance. Wearing heels has a very positive effect on posture; they automatically straighten your back and help you look more streamlined and elegant.
- Turn at about a 45 degree angle to the camera, with your weight on the front leg. Bend your front knee slightly in front of your other leg and relax into this stance. Give your arms something to do that bends them at the elbow, like holding your bouquet or placing your hand on the groom’s chest.
- Tilt your head sideways ever-so-slightly while pushing your chin out and down SLIGHTLY. This eliminates double chins and gives your face a flattering angle.
- Don’t smile ALL the time, you will end up with a frozen, artificial expression and your face will start shaking after about half an hour of doing this, trust me, it has happened to me. Some of the most beautiful, dramatic, and emotive photographs are of peaceful, relaxed brides. Part your lips very slightly or for a natural smile, think of your last romantic date with your beloved.
- And the most important thing: RELAX, you are at your most beautiful and this is a fun experience! If you feel stressed or nervous, try this: close your eyes, and take a deep breath by inhaling while counting to three, and exhaling for six counts. I call this, smelling the roses, and blowing out the candles. Repeat for as long as necessary. It calms you nerves and leaves you feeling reenergized.
Practice these posing tips in front of the mirror several times. On your wedding day you may not remember this article, but standing and smiling for the camera will be more familiar if you have practiced. I offer lots of guidance and direction during a photo shoot, and I tailor and stylize the shots specifically for the couple I am working with, so no two images are the same, but knowing these basic tips will help you feel more confident while being photographed.
Next week’s article will focus on different photography styles and how to choose a wedding photographer. I will also be having several featured guest bloggers about other aspects of planning your wedding. Stay tuned!
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