UPDATE: Welcome to our Posing Guide! This is our 2011 guide – we’ll be re-booting this again for 2014 so keep your eyes peeled!
Things we hear from brides and grooms all the time:
‘I hate how I look in photographs’.
‘I don’t like having my photo taken’.
‘I hate my smile’.
‘I’ll have to practice how to smile’.
(and variations of the above…)
We also hear ‘Can you make me look good?’ a lot. The answer is YES.
This is our Posing Guide for you to refer to before your upcoming photo shoots to help you understand how we’ll make you look and feel better during your shoot which will result in gorgeous photos of a relaxed and stunning (or dapper) you! The photos in our guide show you what people generally tend to do with their bodies and faces and then what you can do to make things look better to make your best bits even better and how to hide the bits you don’t like. So welcome to our guide on ‘How To Look Good On Your Wedding Photos’.
Everyone complains about double chins and how they want to avoid them being in the photo. Even if you’re a slim bride, the wrong expression can lead to the extra crease under the neck. The good news is it’s all about angles.
- Don’t tuck your chin in as this leads to widespread double-chin action.
- Do extend your chin – this creates a shadow under your chin and eliminates our extra chins.
If you’re a curvier bride, extra chin definition can be achieved by just taking a knee and letting us get above you for your portrait shots like so:
This adds even greater definition by throwing your neck and body out of focus (so it becomes all blurry) so any extra creases appear nice and soft rather than as harsh, obvious lines…and it’s dead easy to do! There’s lots of options for playing around with this angle to get some beautiful flattering shots as well so don’t think you’re stuck with a ‘standard’ pose!
If your beaks a little bigger and you want to slim it down, it’s easy to de-emphasise it in your photos.
- Don’t turn your head side-on to the camera. This shows your nose at it’s biggest.
- Do angle your head to a 45 degree angle or less to make it appear much smaller.
It’s too easy to pull what you think is a big cheesy grin but in reality it’s not going to be a keeper photo. The closed-lip smile leads to a very creased face and the older you are, the more obvious this is going to be in the photo. So here’s how to avoid it and not only look beautiful but younger as well!
- Don’t scrunch your face up into a closed lip smile – it’s a recipe for crows feet.
- Do have a parted lip smile. It’ll make you look demure and youthful as it’s much more flattering on the lines. It also looks much more natural!
Similar to smiles, it’s about looking natural, not forced. These two photos might look similar but the one on the left is a forced grin, whereas the one on the right is caught with Lianne mid-giggle. The difference is huge! A laugh or a giggle puts your face into a position it would naturally fall into, rather than that forced look with the corners of the mouth being a tell-tale sign of a forced grin.
- Don’t force it – it’ll look forced.
- Do laugh at our jokes (no matter how bad)! It’ll make you look better in your photos (and give us an ego boost)!
You may have heard of the term ‘smile with your eyes’… well it’s a good bit of advice. This is a lot like the genuine grin versus the forced grin. Wider, ‘smiley’ eyes complete with a smile equals pefection!
- Don’t allow yourself to force a smile – dead eyes, come as part of the package.
- Do enjoy your wedding day – having a laugh during your photos will give you big bright eyes rather than a dead stare.
Unless you’ve hired a make-up artist and hair stylist for your whole day, your hair will no doubt need freshening up during the day as strays become loose. This is just something to bear in mind during your photos although we’ll always be checking you’re looking your best whilst we’re photographing you.
- Don’t forget to check yourself in the mirror – tuck stray hairs back in and wipe the cake off your mouth.
- Do remember that ‘If you can feel it, move it’. Stray hairs can turn an otherwise good photo into a bad photo.
Rest assured though that we won’t keep snapping away at you with hair stuck to your forehead and cake on your chin!
So with how to angle your head and smile properly covered, lets move on to what to do with your body starting from the ground up. We’ve already given you a lot to think about but everything we’ve covered so far boils down to: look natural by having fun and think long! We’re going to carry on with ‘thinking long’ which will give you a much more flattering figure.
With feet, you don’t want to look like your body is sat on scaffolding, all rigid and equidistant – instead, you want to introduce some curves and interest to your stance.
- Don’t stand feet forward, shoulder width apart – you’re not a soldier.
- Do bring up a heel, point your toes in and bend a knee. It might feel a little odd but it’s much more flattering.
You don’t want to look like you’ve eaten not only your wedding breakfast but also the grooms too so don’t stand there like a lemon thrusting out your tummy.
- Don’t adopt the ‘hanging frog’ pose.
- Do push your hips back and bring those feet together or point those toes in. Push back what you don’t like and it’ll look smaller – simple.
What did we say about those feet? You’re not in labour so don’t sit as though you are. Remember, we’re thinking long to make our bodies look our best and hide the bits we’re not so fond of.
This is a simple matter of tidying up those legs and sitting up straight. Sitting down, we tend to slump which gives us the tummy we’re trying to avoid. Instead, ‘think long’ and your back will straighten, your toes will point and it’ll all come together. Also, note how hands on top of each other looks so much more neater than clasped hands!
- Don’t slouch – your grandmother probably told you that one!
- Do think long – straighten your back, raise your chin, point those toes and tuck them slightly under and to one side to complete the flattering posture. It also makes your dress look better as it drapes over your legs rather than sags in the middle.
More on hands, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what to do with your hands but there’s any number of solutions – just don’t make it look awkward as in the image on the left.
- Don’t put your hands on your thighs. This just emphasises your nervousness.
- Do put your hands on your hips, one higher than the other creates a more natural look and less of a Wonderwoman look!
‘I must, I must, Improve my bust’. Thrust them out and it’ll make your waist look smaller. It’ll also make your back straighter and help you get into the ‘think long’ mindset.
- Don’t allow slouching to take over. It can happen standing up just as easily as it can sitting down.
- Do throw those shoulders back and push your bust out – just don’t make it comical. It’ll vastly improve your posture.
Arms and Shoulders
Another big problem area we hear of is arms and shoulders. Be it bingo wings or rugby player delts, they can easily be sorted out. Remember what we said about whatever you don’t like, just push it back away from the camera, it’s easily done with arms and shoulders too.
- Don’t do the peering-over-the-boulder-shoulder look. Your shoulder will look bigger than your head.
- Do relax your shoulders and adopt the hands on the hips stance. It’ll also bring your chin into view which you’ve already learned how to make look great.
Sometimes, interacting with the scenery can make a photo look much better (we’ll be telling you what and when, don’t worry), but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The key when leaning against walls, posts etc is not to lean on them, but to merely look like you’re leaning on them.
- Don’t lean against walls – it’ll squash your body out against it which will spread in the direction of the camera.
- Do suggest you’re leaning against it and use it simply as a prop. By just gently making contact with the wall you’ll eliminate the squashing effect.
We’ve armed you brides with some helpful tools now to look your best for your wedding and pre-wedding engagement photos but you grooms need a helping hand too; we hadn’t forgotten about you. A lot of what applies to brides applies to grooms too (although the hands on the hips might be a bit controversial for you gents) but here’s a few extras for you to practice.
Just like with the girls, a closed-lip smile just doesn’t look good. At 24 I’m already seeing the onset of crow’s feet so why make yourself look older than you need to. I’m not a big fan of my smile so it’s always tempting to do the closed-lip thing but a part-smile is always going to look 10x better.
- Don’t give yourself a wrinkly face by doing the closed-lip smile.
- Do smile with parted lips and make it look natural – it’ll look so much better in your photos.
It’s tempting to think thrusting out your chest makes it look bigger. Wrong. Thrusting out your chest will probably thrust our your stomach too which isn’t what you’re after. Pull your shoulders back by all means but don’t let it lead to chest-thrusting – it just looks stupid.
- Don’t pretend to be Superman, the hands on the waist and big chest don’t look good if you don’t actually have a big chest.
- Do pull your shoulders back and relax, it’ll stop your stomach bulging out along with your chest and actually make you look more proportionate.
Gents tend to make fists. Why? I don’t know; but don’t do it – it makes you look angry. Instead, if you’re struggling with what to do with your hands, put them in your pockets, behind your back or somewhere more comfortable that works for you.
- Don’t look like you’re in a bar room brawl.
- Do find somewhere for your hands to go. It’ll make you look and feel more relaxed.
Likewise, if we’re shooting you from above, it’s best not to leave your hands hanging. The limp-wrist isn’t a look every man goes for. Instead, clasp those hands or rest them on your thighs.
- Don’t rock the limp-wristed look.
- Do clasp your hands or rest them on your thighs. Busy hands look better than those limp hands.
Last but not least, those pockets. You’ve spent your money on a bespoke suit, picked up a one of a kind vintage gem of a tux or rented out the nicest morning suit you could find; no matter which you want to look good in your attire. So why let the junk in your pockets ruin the line of your suit? Phones, keys, room cards, cigars… whatever it is, they all bulge out and make your trousers sag on one side. Get rid and look better.
- Don’t let pocket-junk ruin the line of your suit.
- Do empty your pockets before your photos, give it all to your best man to look after or leave it in your hotel safe if you don’t need it.
Well, that’s it for now kids. We hope you’ve found this useful and that it improves your photo sessions with your photographer even if you’ve not booked with us. We’ll be putting together a guide for how to look good as a couple in your wedding photos in the near future which we’ll be shouting about as soon as it hits the blog.