For those who feel the camera's gaze more acutely, the thought of a wedding day photoshoot can initially seem quite daunting. But with a few thoughtful preparations and mindset shifts, it is possible to transform the experience into an enjoyable and even empowering part of your wedding day. We've reached out to wedding photographer Nina Wernicke, who shared her tips and advice on how to feel confident and relaxed in front of the camera.
Start with a Pre-Wedding Shoot
I would always recommend beginning your visual story with an engagement or pre-wedding shoot. This session, which can take place a year, a month or a day before your wedding, is less about rehearsal and practising poses and more about establishing a rapport with your photographer. It's an opportunity for them to understand how you interact as a couple, for you to discover how your photographer works and what techniques they use to capture those subtle, unspoken moments of connection. A less pressured environment truly is the best way to build comfort with the camera and your photographer, which is essential for beautifully relaxed, natural photos on your wedding day.
Remember, your wedding photos are about capturing the essence of your day and the joy you share, not just about posing for the camera, which is why getting a little practice beforehand is always worth making time for.
Professional Hair and Makeup
Investing in an expert hair and makeup artist can significantly boost your confidence in front of the camera. When you look your best, you naturally feel more relaxed and self-assured, which will translate effortlessly in your photographs. But much like my previous point, please ensure you have a trial beforehand. This step is crucial in ensuring that every element perfectly aligns with your overall vision, culminating in a seamless, stress-free experience on the day itself.
A Personal Sartorial Statement
This goes without saying, but your choice of attire should be a reflection of your personality, not just a fleeting trend. Choose a wedding outfit that reflects your personal style and, most importantly, makes you feel comfortable, beautiful and sexy. When you're not preoccupied with an ill-fitting suit or overly tight dress, you're more likely to relax and engage with the camera naturally.
Allocate Ample Time for Portraits
Allowing a generous window for your couple’s portraits, specifically at least two 20-minute sessions throughout the day, is pivotal for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it alleviates the pressure often associated with tight time schedules. Weddings are dynamic events with many moving parts, and a rushed photography session can lead to heightened stress and forced, unnatural photographs. Moreover, splitting the portrait sessions into two parts allows your photographer to capture the evolving mood and atmosphere of the day, experiment with different poses, compositions, and backdrops, and even adjust for unforeseen challenges like changing weather conditions. The bright, vibrant light of the midday offers a different aesthetic compared to the warm, golden tones of the evening; it’s this diversity that enriches your wedding gallery, offering a multifaceted narrative of your special day.
Curate a Personal Playlist
Curating a personalised playlist for your wedding portrait shoot is a subtle yet powerful way to infuse the session with intimacy and comfort. Music has the profound ability to set a mood, evoke memories, and relax nerves. I find a thoughtfully curated playlist of your favourite songs can serve as an atmospheric backdrop, subtly guiding your mood and movements during the photography sessions. This can help elicit genuine expressions, spontaneous emotions and natural interactions between you and your partner, resulting in timeless images that are visually stunning, deeply personal, and emotionally impactful.
Communicate Your Vision
If you have particular preferences or ideas for your wedding photographs, it’s crucial to communicate these with your photographer ahead of time. This open conversation ensures a collaboration where your photographer's creative vision can perfectly align with your expectations. Discussing specific poses you like or are comfortable with allows your photographer to tailor the shoot to suit your desires, making sure you feel completely at ease throughout the process. It's equally important to communicate any features you're self-conscious about or particular angles you prefer. This honesty empowers your photographer to approach the shoot with sensitivity and discretion, guaranteeing that the final gallery is a true reflection of you, your personal style and your preferences.
Trust Your Photographer
Whilst it's important to communicate your preferences (see above!), it's equally important to trust in your photographer's expertise. Their intuitive understanding of light, moment, and composition, honed through years of experience, is invaluable in capturing the natural beauty of your wedding day. Remember, your photographer is a professional skilled at making people look their best, so please have faith in their guidance and try to go with the flow of their suggestions. Often, the most captivating photos come from spontaneous moments that a skilled photographer can instinctively capture.
Focus on Fun, Not Perfection
Finally, approach your photography sessions with an open heart and mind and don’t forget to have fun along the way! The day is a celebration, a collection of fleeting, irretrievable moments that your photographer is there to capture. The most profound and soulful photographs are less about the technicalities of pose and composition and more about the quiet, authentic narratives they manage to tell; therefore, the more you can relax and be present in the moment, the more authentic, transformative, and resonant your photographs will be.