The photographs from your wedding are one of the few permanent mementos of the day (other than your own memory, of course!). Everyone advises investing in a very talented wedding photographer, but rarely do they mention that there are several things that the bride can do to ensure that her wedding photos are worthy of gracing the cover of a bridal magazine. Learn how to look amazing in your wedding photos.
The right hair and makeup will make a big difference in your wedding pictures. Even brides who normally prefer the natural look should plan to wear cosmetics for their wedding day. The reason is not to look “made up” or artificial, but to ensure that you look well rested, your eyelashes look amazing, your forehead does not shine, and to enhance your natural bridal radiance. Looking that good requires a little help! It is generally advised that brides at least wear a foundation primer, a sheer foundation, mascara, blush, a soft lipstick, and a little powder on the nose. While this may sound like a lot of products, the right ones will not give you a heavily made up look, they will just make you look like you are naturally a ravishing beauty!
A great way to ensure you get the quality of wedding photos that you want is to do a sample photo shoot. It is smart to schedule it for the same day as your hair and makeup trial run. That way you can see how well they photograph. You might discover that your nose looked shiny or the hairstyle you thought was “beachy” just looks messy. On the other hand, if the results are perfect, you will have images to bring along on your wedding day so that the stylists can recreate the look exactly. Traditional brides can do a classic bridal portrait wearing their full regalia: wedding gown, veil, bridal jewelry, the works. If that doesn’t sound like your style, opt for the more modern custom of having engagement photos taken of yourself and your fiance together.
Have you ever noticed how fabulous celebrities manage to look on the red carpet each and every time? It is not that they are more beautiful than a lot of other women, it is simply that they know the tricks of looking great in pictures. Start by striking a figure flattering pose. Turn your shoulders and hips so that they are at a three-quarter angle to the camera. It presents the most slimming angle to the camera. Always be sure that your arms are held slightly away from your body to avoid the upper arm squish that makes your arms look heavier than they are (especially important when wearing a strapless bridal gown!). And while this may sound silly, practice your smile in the mirror until you settle on one that looks joyous but not too toothy. Your own real smile will be seen in all of the candids, but the practiced smile will come in handy for those endless formal wedding pictures.
Great lighting equals great photographs. Direct overhead noontime sunlight is very harsh and will produce strong shadows that will either give you dark circles under your eyes or obscure important details of your wedding dress and beautiful bridal jewelry. Try to take your pictures in the softer light of the morning or late afternoon. If that does not work with the timing of your wedding ceremony, at least ask your photographer to shoot your pictures in slightly more shady spots. For gorgeous indoor photography, stay away from strong overhead lighting and take advantage of the romantic glow of candlelight. Remember that your photographer can also work his magic with diffusing lenses and other tricks of the trade.
The final tip for getting the best possible wedding photos is to have them professionally printed (not at your local drugstore). A good quality lab (or your photographer, if he does his own printing) will be able to enhance the images through retouching, adjusting light and shadows, and tweaking colors. Very artistic photographers can create true works of art using interesting effects. Even if you only plan to store your wedding pictures digitally, a good photo lab can make the touch ups that turn good pictures into great ones. And isn’t that what every bride wants?
Bridget Mora takes her years of experience in the wedding industry and uses it to give brides advice on shopping for bridal jewelry wedding gowns, style, and more. Sign up for the free Silverland Jewelry newsletter to read more of her articles on wedding trends, society, and culture.