Wedding Photography: What to do if you hate having your photo taken
I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times someone has said to me "I really hate the camera", “I’m SO unphotogenic” or some variation (and the beautiful people above all said this).
I feel your pain, I have no idea what to do with my face. My lips go all tight. I don't know where to put my hands. Do I look at you, at the camera, is my smile too goofy? Wait, is this my best side?
I've written some, err, I don't know if you'd call this advice or just a stream of consciousness, but hey, it might help calm those photophobic feelings (not a song by Marvin Gaye, I checked) and get you prepared for what having your photo taken by me will be like.
If you have a Pinterest board devoted to posing tips, ideas and inspiration then I'm probably not the photographer for you. I'm not going to spend time getting you to adjust into a pose worthy of Kate Middleton. I'm more interested in the movement, the natural moments and the awkward “oops I think I just poked you in the eye” moments. That being said, you won't be left out in the cold! I do give a wee bit of direction but it's mostly to stop you standing at opposite sides of the room with your backs to each other. Sometimes I'll tell you to stand over there and get nice and close, sometimes I'll just let you do you to see what comes out. Face grabbing, licking each other and fart jokes are entirely encouraged. And even a kiss here and there if you’re feeling inclined, but I won’t force you.
Don't look at me!
Not in a Quasimodo, I'm hideous kind of way, but distraction is key! Look at each other, have a chat, make stupid jokes, talk about dogs, make that weird face you do to each other. You can look at me if you really want but if you have the photo fear, you'll feel way more comfortable if you pretend I don’t exist than awkwardly standing and staring down the barrel of the lens.
If you need a distraction/prop, like you have a dog or a child that you can bury your face in if things get a bit too much, have at it! (no offence intended by calling your dog/child a prop). We’re also going to do a lot of walking, so you’ll have to focus on not falling over too.
Time for some truth - there will be photos of yourself from your wedding that you don't like. This means zilch! It does not mean you are hideous, it just means I caught your face during the one millisecond it was doing something you don't like. That’s the nature of documentary photography, it’s imperfect sometimes.
Some of the most beautiful couples I've worked with have said the meanest things to me about their laughs, smiles, scrunchy noses and double chins in photos where I think they look the most carefree, happy and glowing (FYI if we didn't have double chins sometimes we'd all be dead of starvation).
Self-loathing, body image issues and unrealistic beauty standards are a huge problem everywhere in the world and affect us all. It's really, really hard and will probably take a lifetime of work but, before you jump on your tiny “flaws” (if you have to call them that) try to let go of some of that criticism that pops up every time you see a picture of yourself and just see the you that has their head thrown back, laughing at the speeches because in that moment, you were completely, incandescently happy.