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How To Look Good In Wedding Photos

Learn How To Look Good In Wedding Photos

By Jeffrey House Photography



What is it about a camera that makes so many people feel uncomfortable and lost?  

If you're like most brides-to-be, you want to know how to look good in wedding photos.  The first step is the engagement session and I like to begin a couples engagement session without giving much direction, if any.  It allows us to quickly get an idea how comfortable a couple feels in front of the camera.  Some couples will flow into a pose that looks natural and relaxed, but most couples are banging into one another as they try to find their positions.  And that's okay because this is very common.  The professional picture making process can be a little intimidating at first.  

Does Posing Really Matter?

Posing can have a huge impact on the success of a picture.  The wrong pose can make the couple and overall feel of the picture look clumsy and awkward.  We work with our couples in many different poses and sometimes it's brilliant, and other times it doesn't work at all.  Some people are surprised to learn that every shot taken by a professional photographer is not award winning.  World renowned wedding photographers have said if they get 3-5 shots over the course of a wedding season that are outstanding they've done a great job.  

Take a look at the two pictures below from one of our engagement sessions.  The picture on the left, while stunning in my minds eye, did not work out like I envisioned at all.  I can look at the picture and immediately pick out a minimum of 3 or 4 things I would do differently to make it a better image.  For example, rarely should females have their arms straight down by their side.  You want space between their sides and arms as this creates a slimmer and more flattering appearance.  Therefore, I would have had her place her right hand on the hip to create more appealing and flattering angles.  I also would have changed the positioning of her left hand on the head of her future husband.  The way we have it positioned in this photo tends to make it look more like she is just squeezing his head.  

After taking a few shots and taking a quick look at the images it wasn't exciting me, so we switched up the pose and moved the female to a more back position.  The end result was a picture that looks natural, relaxed, and beautiful.  

Should Every Shot Be Posed?

Absolutely not.  In addition to the posed shots we like to capture pictures of couples interacting naturally with one another.  Having a couple walk while holding hands is a great way to help them relax and get those more candid shots.  We simply have the couple walk towards us and tell them to just have fun with each other.  If they want to kiss, smile, talk, etc. - just do what feels natural.  If they want to stop for a moment and share a hug or kiss that's great too.  

It's Amazing How Many People Take The Same Rigid Pose

Walk up to someone (preferably someone you already know, otherwise it might seem a little creepy) and ask if you can take their picture.  It's truly amazing how many people will assume the same pose - that pose where we stand with our feet together, arms straight down at our sides looking all straight and rigid.  Not only is it the most award looking picture, but we don't even stand like this in real life.  If you were standing and engaging in a conversation with a friend how often would you stand perfect straight and rigid with your arms down at your sides?  Never!  

Next time you see two people engaged in a conversation while standing take note of how their bodies react.  We don't stand with our weight evenly distributed on our feet - we usually have one foot placed a little further behind the other with the majority of our weight on it.  Our arms aren't straight down along our sides - we have one or both hands in our pockets or we are leaning against something or we might even have are arms crossed.  This is how we naturally stand.  

Making even simple changes to our posture, stance, etc. can make a big difference to the quality of our pictures.  More natural stances will lead to more relaxed and natural looking pictures which is always a good thing.  

What Else Can I Do To Make Sure My Pictures Look Great?  

1.  Ignore The Camera

You have a huge camera in my face, how I'm supposed to just ignore it?  It's not as difficult as it may sound.  Our lives are filled with experiences - some are funny, sad, good, bad, exciting, etc.  Use these experiences to help draw your attention away from the camera.  Maybe we want a relaxed, genuine smile.  Immerse yourself in the memory of when you got engaged or the first time you said "I love you" to one another.  Whatever brings out that authentic smile is perfect. 

Lastly, don't stare at the camera lens.  Focus your eyes just slightly above the camera lens.  

2.  Elongate Your Neck

One thing that a lot of people worry about when having their picture taken is the dreaded "double chin" look.  There are several things we can do to help with this issue.  First, avoid looking down.  This causes the skin under the chin to "bunch" and create the double chin.  Second, elongate your neck.  I have two really great ways for accomplishing this:

  • Push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth - this method tends to work well with facial expressions that don't include smiling or smiling in which your're not showing your teeth.  When using this method while smiling be sure to relax your lips.  It might take a little practice, but you will get the hang of it quickly!
  • Give a slight push of your forehead towards the camera - this method can be used with any facial expression and works very well too!  Just simply feel a slight "push" of the forehead directly towards the camera.  

3.  Avoid Facing The Camera Straight On

This tip is more for the ladies.  Standing face-on to the camera is a more masculine pose; therefore, instead of standing face-on and perfectly square to the camera, turn your body left or right approximately 30-45 degrees.  This approach will create pictures that are much more flattering and feminine.  

4.  Watch The Makeup

If you're applying your own makeup try to stick to using concealer over foundation as foundation can look flat and pasty.  If you must use foundation make sure it's not too pale in comparison to your skin tone.  This will become very obvious once the flash hits your skin.  Also, make sure your neck and exposed chest areas match as well.  You may even want to add a touch more to the neck area as it tends to be a little more pale compared to the skin on your face.

Lastly, be sure to apply your make up evenly, avoiding obvious makeup lines or clumping around the eyes.

5.  Tissues Are Your Friend

Shiny skin is unflattering in pictures and can be challenging to resolve in Photoshop depending on how severe it is.  Bring some tissues with you to lightly touch up the nose and forehead areas where skin tends to be the most oily.  

6.  Your Attire Is Critical

We want pictures with contrast, texture, depth, and mood.  Therefore, avoid wearing one solid color (i.e. all white or all black).  Your attire should also avoid incredibly bright colors, bold patterns, large logos, and overly busy designs.  These will all lead to pictures that are very distracting. However, do feel free to add some color by accessorizing.  

One last tip when it comes to your clothing choice(s) - make them season appropriate.  That means your colors and styles should align with the time of year.  

7.  Have Fun

I know for many this advice is much easier said than done, but let's keep in mind we are only talking about pictures - It's not life or death.  When we feel nervous it's common to become tense, hesitant, and rigid.  None of these things will be good for your pictures.  Instead, I want you to make a choice to have fun with your photo session - enjoy the moment - embrace it!  

8.  Trust Your Photographer

Putting our trust in other people can be a very difficult request, but try your hardest to rely on your photographer to make you look beautiful.  That is probably going to require you to be flexible and open minded, but your photographer is an expert and that's why you hired them in the first place, right?  As professional photographers we want nothing more than for you to see your own pictures and love how you look in them.  When our couples look at their pictures and delight in how they look in them, it's another reminder of why I love being a photographer.  


Do you worry about how to look good in wedding photos?  Would you like even more tips?