As you can see from the picture above, we know ALL about being awkward in front of the camera! Also, yes there is a short answer to this question in our FAQ section. The topic comes up so often from our couples and prospective clients that we wanted to do a deeper dive into why being awkward in front of the camera is not a photographic death sentence nor is it a reason to skimp on your wedding photography or - Annie Leibovitz forbid - not have a photographer at all. The thing we all need to remember is there is only one type of person that's not massively awkward in front of the camera; professional models. For them it's all pose - click - pose - click - hair toss - click. BORING! For us, and I'm referring to both brides, grooms and wedding photographers, our job is way way more of a mystery. How do we - as photographers - create an environment where couples feel comfortable enough to be themselves and act how they truly would if nobody else were around? How do you - as the bride and groom - look your best when you feel like you're getting root canal surgery from an orangutan? Never fear! That's why you hire a killer photography team who knows how to make it fun, and get you looking your best every time! We're going to look at all the ways that you can feel less nervous about your wedding photos, and ensure that you look your best while NOT feeling your worst.
The very first thing is you need to pick wedding photographers that you click with. If you don't feel like you could, at the very least grab a coffee with your photographers, then you're going to amplify your uncomfortable feelings all throughout your wedding day. That's going to mean awkward looking photos. I assure you, nobody wants that - especially us! So, number one is find a photography team that is cool. Find some people that you can laugh, and joke with. Don't forget that your photographers are with you literally all day, every step of the way. Comfortability is the most important thing when choosing a wedding photography team. When you're comfortable with the people around you it means you let your guard down and have more fun. It means you're not paying as much attention to your photographers as you are the person you should be paying attention to - your partner. Ultimately it means your photos will come out way better and you won't feel like you're having a panic attack on your wedding day - win-win!
The next most important thing is finding photographers whose style lines up with your style. We don't mean style in the sense of fashion here. What we mean is that if in everyday life you are pretty natural with your posture and physicality, and not often thinking things like, "where do I put my hands right now?" then you probably want to hire a more candid, or photojournalistic style photographer. If you are a little less natural and do often feel like you don't know what you should do with your body at any given moment. Then you probably want a photographer that wants to pose you, and give every direction down to the last detail. Most photographers land somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. We personally really like to just let people do their own thing and get super natural candid shots of them. For more posed romantic type shots, or when we encounter people who are a little less comfortable, we may set you up in a general stance or arrangement and then prompt you to talk about something like the first thing you noticed about each other when you met. Cute right?! Understanding your own personal style, then finding photographers who are going to compliment your vibe gets you a big part of the way to dissolving most of the awkwardness you might feel.
After you've found photographers that A. You like, and feel comfortable around, and B. whose style is complementary to your own. Then you need to do the unthinkable...embrace the awkwardness. Even if you find the perfect photographers for you, you're not going to completely eliminate any and all awkwardness you feel because - as we reviewed before - you're not professional models! This is where having really good professional photographers comes in handy. We will also embrace the awkwardness and use it to our advantage. What do people do when they feel awkward? They may smile, joke, giggle, wisecrack, point out the awkwardness, and even straight-up laugh out loud. These reactions are a photographer's best friend. If I told my subjects to, "laugh out-loud in 3, 2, 1, annnnd...." maybe they'd fake a laugh, but nobody's buying that. Also, it's not very fun for you as the client to have to pretend to be happy and in love on your wedding day. So instead, we'll tell you to do cute little things like whisper in each other's ears and tell a secret or we'll even just crack a joke about how momentarily we’re going to ask you two to make-out hard (completely optional). There's a quick moment of feeling weird, then inevitably someone smiles or laughs. It is in that very instant that we capture a real moment between you. Sometimes we'll even tell people to get super serious - knowing that if you can pull off a dead-face stare it'll only be for about three seconds before you both burst out laughing. Then we grab that magic shot of you two having so much fun and looking so in love.
In summation, there is a lot you can do beforehand to set yourself up for success. Find some photographers whose work you dig, who are cool, and you'd enjoy spending eight hours plus with. After that, it is simply a matter of acknowledging that there is going to be some awkwardness. But, if you embrace it, and your photographers know how to harness it you can take a series of slightly awkward moments, and turn them into a huge gallery of incredible memories that really capture the essence of your personality and your love. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty fun too! So who’s ready to play the awkward game?