5 ways to make your bride look like a model!

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Whilst taking candid pictures is very important, it is essential to understand that most brides also want to look like a model.

She has probably spent months looking at glossy wedding magazines and has become used to seeing pictures of professional models in wedding dresses looking absolutely stunning. She’s got the perfect dress, perfect make up and hair and feels amazing on her wedding day and if you can take some very “modelly’ shots at some stage, she will be thrilled.

All brides feel and look great on their wedding day, but it takes some planning to make sure she will like the way she looks in the photos too.

She puts a huge amount of effort into planning the way she looks – her dress, make up, hair, etc. but I’ve seen plenty of bad photos of stunning brides – from double chins to looking fat! It amazes me when I see a stunning, slim bride, looking less than perfect in a picture, when if the photographer had only turned her slightly, it would have made all the difference.

So how do you make sure you capture all the effort she has made, and make her look like a model?

The most important thing is to be on her wavelength, and focus on making sure she looks good in your pictures. Be aware of double chins, and body positioning – people can forget how they look when they are standing in a certain way. I don’t take a photo if I think she won’t like it, because I don’t want to spoil her self-image if she sees a bad shot of herself! I either wait until she repositions herself (in candid shots) – or make it happen, with subtle hints or moving my own position to get a better angle. In the arranged shots, I position her myself so her figure looks perfect.

To be able to work with her like this, she needs to trust you, then she will relax with you, and that will ensure you get great shots of her. The best wedding photographers have a great rapport with their brides. Nothing makes a bride feel less relaxed than a bossy photographer or an indecisive one!

Here are some tips to help you:

1. You need to relate to each other in order that she trusts you, and understands how to look good on photos. This means working together before the wedding. Do a pre-wedding shoot in normal clothes – to get her relaxed and understand how it feels to be photographed. This will give her much more confidence, and establish a good relationship between you, which is vital on the actual wedding day. Your wedding photos will improve dramatically if you start by understanding the way the bride feels. She has probably never had a photo shoot before, and may even think she looks bad on photos normally – so practising before the day, can make all the difference. Good photos taken without the pressure – will give her loads more confidence and help her relax and do whatever you ask at the wedding!

A pre-wedding shoot is the perfect opportunity to "train" the couple to look their best and enjoy being photographed! Feeling good about themselves in photos makes all the difference to the pictures you will get on the actual day.

A pre-wedding shoot is the perfect opportunity to “train” the couple to look their best and enjoy being photographed! Feeling good about themselves in photos makes all the difference to the pictures you will get on the actual day.

2. Good positioning is essential. Check out the 5-minute “perfect bride” shot for ideas on doing this at the start of the wedding. And the 3-hour “fabulous bride” shoot for ideas to use in a quick shoot at the reception. Really study the last video on this shoot, because it will show you what a difference it makes if you keep moving the person around until she “looks right”. Check out “How to position women 1” and “How to position women 2” which will show you how to direct people.

3. On your pre wedding shoot, show her how to push her chin down and forward so she gets a great jawline. (Check out the video on “workitgirl” from 2:00 which shows you how). Even the slimmest people can get a double chin when laughing on a photo. If you practise this on the pre-wedding shoot, then on the actual day when she is chatting to people outside the church for example, catch her eye and pat your chin from below – and she will know what you mean – and instantly lift her head while talking – resulting in a much more flattering “candid” shot. She wants great shots, so she will want to work with you! (But if you don’t do the pre-wedding shoot, she won’t understand what you mean).

4. Try not to take pictures with the bride facing straight on to you. Unless she really does look like a model, which can work occasionally, then this will make her look wider. Ask her to stand slightly sideways on, and bring one leg slightly across the other, and then turn her shoulders back to you. Check out the video on “workitgirl” from 1:42 which shows you how to do this – and imagine her in a wedding dress! If you are shooting candid shots, position yourself so you are not always shooting her straight on – move to the side slightly and shoot from there. Working with an assistant shooter can really help here, as for instance if you are shooting pictures of the couple coming down the church path you are likely to be shooting her straight on, but if you ask your assistant to shoot from the side, then she/he can provide those shots to create variety.

5. Try to photograph your bride in soft flattering light. In candid shots, if the sun is on her face – move to the other side of her, and shoot from that direction – if you have established a good relationship with the bride, you can even go up to her and ask her to turn the other way, and then let the guests chat to her there! She will appreciate that you are making sure the “candid” shots will be flattering. If you are doing some arranged (rather than candid) pictures at some stage during the day, choose a location with good light – under a tree, the shade of an arch, in overcast light, or with the light from behind her. If it’s bright sunlight, it will be fine so long as she is not looking directly at you, which will make her squint. If she’s looking away from you, but into the sun, ask her to close her eyes until you are ready and then tell her to open them when you say “now!”

The art of great wedding photography is in capturing how the bride FEELS, as well as how she looks!

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Left: A real Cinderella moment – image by Alexander Whittle.
Centre and right: Capture how your bride FEELS in her dress as well as how she looks – images by Sandi Friend.

Annabel x


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