6 easy ways to look good in photos at a wedding, even when you're not the bride
I don’t think there is a wedding photographer around who couldn’t retire happy if they got a pound every time they get told by someone they don’t like having their photo taken.
Over the past 10 or so years, I’ve worked with a number of brides, grooms and wedding guests who hate being in front of the camera. I once had to coax a guest at a wedding to appear in just one photo as the bride and groom really wanted them in it. As someone who can sense a camera heading their way at a 1000 paces and go into stealth mode, I completely understand.
Most of what I personally hate about having my photo taken is the posing - what exactly do I do with my hands? How can I stop my chest being the centre of attention? Holding a fake smile while the person taking it either struggles to take the photo until you can’t hold the pose any longer and your Cheshire Cat grin starts to morph into a Joker-like smile or something much more sinister.
I think BuzzFeed hit the nail on the head with its list of 19 things only people who hate having their photograph taken will understand.
Here are a few simple ways to move you from number 12 on BuzzFeed’s list to focus more on number 19 as whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid or guest, you are going to be photographed several cough 100 times cough, throughout the day, so do it on your terms.
How to look good in photos tip no.1: Pose like a pro
There is a reason this pose is seen up and down the red carpet. It’s the best and quickest way to feel 5 pounds lighter without dieting. That aside, it is also incredibly flattering.
Try this: Stand with your hips at 45 degrees to the camera - basically slightly sideways to the camera with one shoulder closer to the camera. Put one foot in front of the other and shift your weight to your back foot. Place your hand on your hip and flash your best smile.
How to look good in photos tip no.2: Smile with your eyes
Tyra Banks said the art of smiling begins with mastering the smize - smiling with your eyes. Anyone can use their mouth to smile, but smizing brings your photo from drab to fab.
Try this: Convey emotion in your eyes by thinking happy thoughts. Think about something that makes you laugh for a smile that’s totally you. You want the resulting photograph to show off who you are and how you look so you can remember the time as you get older.
How to look good in photos tip no.3: Chin out, not up or down
This may be one of the biggest mistakes I see people make in photos. Many people want to avoid having a double chin so lift their chin up. All that does is show the camera more of the neck you’re trying to hide. Occasionally, people will do the opposite and tilt their chin down. Unfortunately, this can emphasise any extra neck skin.
Try this: Pretend you’re a turtle and pop your head out of your shell. Try to create as much space as possible between the front of your shoulders and the back of your jaw, almost like a chicken does when doing a head bob. Bringing your face closer to the camera while keeping your body and shoulders where they are may feel completely weird, but it will make you look amazing! This tip sounds weird but trust me, I’ve used it several times myself as well as with clients and it makes them laugh at the time, but they also love the result.
How to look good in photos tip no.4: Fake sleek arms
If you’re planning on going sleeveless or wearing short sleeves, don’t be tempted to keep your arms close to your body or clasp them behind your back to camouflage underarm jiggle as this can actually make your arms look bigger and your shoulders broader.
Try this: Keep a slight bend in your elbows and bring your elbow towards your back rather than out to the side either when you put them on your hips or, if a bridesmaid when holding your flowers.
How to look good in photos tip no.5: Stand tall
The first thing most people do when they feel self-conscious is to slouch which isn’t a good look for anyone.
Try this: Pull your shoulders back, chest forward and pull belly button in. As well as looking slimmer you will look more confident. Remember, you can still relax while maintaining good posture, so don’t forget to take a few deep breaths and let the tension out of your neck, shoulders and jaw.
How to look good in photos tip no.6: Dress to impress
If your outfit makes you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable is it going to show in your photos.
Try this: Wear an outfit that makes you look and feel great. An outfit that fits you perfectly can take off 5 to 10 pounds. Don’t wear something that you don’t feel 100% beautiful in when you leave the house. You don’t want to be caught on camera fidgeting with your clothes.
Being photographed shouldn’t be about you worrying about the details. It’s about how your family and friends feel about you when they look back on the photographs. They don’t see the tiny imperfections that we convince ourselves are much bigger. They see someone they love, and they think more about how much we mean to them more than anything we can imagine.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and you’re ready to strut your stuff at the next wedding you attend either your own or as a guest! And remember, a natural smile trumps a fake one every time and will ensure you shine in any photo.