While helping our couples prepare for their wedding pictures we hear a lot of criticism about their face, body, smile, etc. While we always encourage them to be kind to themselves and love who they are, we know that insecurities are a part of daily life for most. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can employ to embrace your looks and have great wedding pictures.
1 Arms away from your side
It doesn’t matter if you are a size 0 or size 16, anyone will have the dreaded arm fat if you press your arms to your sides. It creates a squished look that even we will admit is unflattering. But you don’t need to go so far as to do what celebrities do on the red carpet by putting a hand on your waist in every shot. Honestly, that is one way to make everything look stiff and posed. Instead, we suggest taking an more subtle approach by turning your elbow a couple inches away from your body. This simple adjustment allows you to stand in almost any position while losing the weird looking armpit area.
2 Avoid dangling hands
We all remember watching Talladega Nights as the newly famous Ricky Bobby gives an interview and can’t figure out what to do with his hands. Funny enough, this same phenomenon happens at weddings as well, mostly to men. Women are lucky because they have flowers to occupy their hands but these men aren’t used to wearing tuxedos or suits feel uncomfortable so they face the dilemma of what to do with their hands. The answers is, as long as they aren’t dangling like zombie hands, you are probably good to go. Put them in your pockets, around the waist of another person, or folded in front of you. We do not suggest holding behind your back, like you are standing at attention, because it pulls on the jacket in an unflattering manner. By occupying your hands, you instantly look more pulled together.
3 Chin up
Since we were children we were told not to stare at our feet. While teaching acting students, in my former life, I would always say “The next line isn’t on the floor” to get them to look up. The same is true on the wedding day. When we look down, additional chins magically appear that weren’t there a moment ago. It can also create some very unbecoming angles that just look awkward (more on that in #4). As much as you can remember to do it, keep that chin up. It conveys confidence in a way that little else can.
Fashion magazines constantly tell women to “know their angles”, but what happens if you don’t know your angles? Never fear, there are some quick and easy rules to make sure that you are creating a visually interesting, flattering image without having to do much work. In fact, there is basically one rule: don’t stand straight on with the camera. When facing directly into the camera you are giving the widest version of yourself and the light will hit you straight on. By angling yourself slightly and turning at the hips or facing off the side of the camera and bringing just your eyes back, you create a more interesting subject for the camera to capture.
5 Accentuate your strengths (use images from that gig harbor wedding that Robert shot in 7/2016 and the up close image of a bride behind her bouquet to highlight eyes)
Stop worrying about what you don’t like about your body and focus on what you do like. This advice will probably fit well when dress shopping too. If you don’t like your arms, then find a way to highlight your legs, or smile, or whatever feature you like most. If you have something you are very insecure about, talk to your photographer. Let them know that you would like to avoid that part of you being highlighted and talk about ways you can highlight that parts that make you feel good.
6 Smile (and actually mean it)
We say this all the time, but it doesn’t matter what you look like, it is how you behave that will dictate what your pictures will look like. If you are a big ball of stress and freaking out every couple minutes, then it is going to show in your pictures, even if you are smiling. At some point you will need to accept things for what they are on the day of the wedding and focus on enjoying yourself. No one is going to notice if they flowers were white or off white or that it was penne pasta instead of rigatoni. What they will notice is if you aren’t having a good time. So try to truly enjoy yourself and that alone is the best way to get your pictures to look great.