No stains on my dress, no busting my butt in my white heels, no drama.
I am so happy about my wedding photos. We had a New York state of Mind when it came to our photos, when we got married on July 15, 2010. We wanted an eloping in our own city feeling. I started thinking about why I am so happy with the photos, and I wanted to share some insight on how brides can pose naturally and quickly, and in a pretty flattering way, and prepare for their photos-to look their best! Even if they have zero experience in front of the camera.
1. Pick a photographer who understands your personality, vibe as a couple, and photo-goals.
Wedding photography is a business for the photographer, but if the energy between the photographer and the bride and groom is stiff and only about how many shots you will get and how much it will cost, then the photos will look frigid. I feel lucky because I think the reason I liked our photos so much is because I did know the photographer beforehand. He is a friend, he understood the carefree eloping in the city vibe we wanted and had that day. However even if you are working with a person you've only met a couple times, I think you should look for more than the photography you like, but a photographer's personality you like as well. You want to mesh well with the photographer, have the same understanding, to get the shots you want.
Your photographer is more than a payment to make, make sure you communicate about the shots you want and already have seen something similar in their portfolio. Or if not, discuss in detail the shots you want, your goals for the day, your favorite ten-twenty shots that you really want to have despite the others, and see if the photographer understands and has the mindset for your photo-goals. Talk about the vibe of the shoot (are these shots conventional, are they more creative? What is the vibe of the wedding? Is it more anything goes, we are up for anything? Or do you have certain shots you have to have?) Make a list of the locations and ideas you have. Share this list with the photographer and bring it with you on your wedding day, along with giving it to the photographer. (We were in a limo and driving around the city, so we had our list of favorite places to stop at, we had our top ones and then the "if there is time" shots. It helped to keep the day moving smoothly.) Also, show the photographer examples of what you are talking about, show examples you rip out of a bride magazine or bring a similar photo. If you don't have experience in front of the camera, you will pose better and feel more natural if you look at some images before your wedding day.
By communicating well with the photographer ALOT of your stress will disappear. Many brides have never been in-front of the camera before this day, and your real smile comes out when you feel comfortable around the person who is taking your photo and feel like you are on the same page. Also real smiles come out when you and your groom are comfortable with each other. Not to forget, you also have more fun!
2. Kissable lipstick and touch-up powder, worry-free hair.
It is a must for brides. I wore Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Lipstick. Your groom will thank you because you won't be smudging makeup all over him and you can relax and be yourself with each other. You can kiss each other whenever you want without having to reapply 800 times. And you should kiss a lot! You don't want to spend the day worrying about your faces. Beyond lips, I had the long lasting foundation and mascara, still, each time in the limo I had a compact of CoverGirl powder that I would dab lightly on my forehead and under my eyes, and down my nose, since it was such a hot day. Also I love Bare Minerals, it lasts well.Even though I had my makeup professionally done, I kept a seperate "touch-up bag" in the limo with all my beauty supplies. If you are only shooting at a few locations or one, I suggest having a friend or bridesmaid carry in their bag some back-up-bride-beauty-touch-up items. Those beautiful but small bride clutches can only hold a lipstick and mascara-that's it! (And sometimes you will need a few more items to stay picture perfect.) For me my hair wasn't a big deal, just hair way up, it had been curled to create a wave, which didn't last, so I suggest sticking to a hairstyle that can handle a lot of movement, like dancing, for us we were running around the city for hours and I didn't have time or want to care about my hair so I kept it simple. Bring a travel size hairspray in your "tuoch up bag."
3. Get comfortable.
Practice kissing, even if you have been together for four years, and look at photos you already have of each other together. Notice what shots look best, how were you sitting, standing, how were your bodies angled, what expression are your faces? Then I would practice your posing, not forcing it, but for example: the next time he is brushing his teeth before bed, after he spits and cleans the foam off his face, give him a hug and stand together in-front of the bathroom mirror, kiss, hug, snuggle, notice how you look together in the reflection of the mirror. Lean against him, stand facing each other, put your arms on each other, watch what happens to your arms, your body, your chin, and his, as you move and change poses. The point is: you want to be able to quickly get into a comfortable, natural pose together and look stunning.
If you are naturally comfortable with each other the photos will show it. You want to be natural and yourself during your wedding day, and also knowing your faces and getting that natural real smile will make you happier with the results. And being comfortable with kissing in front of people, holding hands, looking at each other, are natural motions of love, - but having a camera in your face all day is tiring, so the more comfortable you are around each other, the better. I suggest brides practice their smiles in front of the mirror. I am serious. How we "think" we look when we smile can be different than the result.
4. Angle your body for your body type.
I am really short, however my photographer has experience shooting brides, celebrities, and people of all sizes, sometimes he was even sitting on the ground shooting up at us, to make the shot look more proportioned. Here are some easy changes you can make with your arms and body to look leaner, longer and more proportioned:
Here, in front of the Empire State Building with my groom, we took this shot while we crossed 23rd street, we didn't have much time to prepare the shot, we stopped to kiss as we walked, and looked at each other, this one stands out for me as the best one. I am slightly standing on my toes, and notice how I am slightly stretching my arm away from my body too, my arms look long and whole body looks longer. If I had put my arms straight down the shot may have been more about my arms than the great landmark.
Below, we are in Little Italy, in the shot I slightly pulled back my elbow, which created space between my arm and torso, and this space makes me look leaner and longer and more proportioned in the photo.
Here we are at Grand Central, my arm has a 90 degree angle, and I do this pose often in our photos, (at the Flatiron Building below as well) it is easy to remember and can prevent your arm from taking over the photo. First, I suggest keeping alittle space between your torso and upper arm, (squeezing your upper arm against your body can make your arm look bigger than it is), while you do this, I suggest slightly pulling back your elbow and keep your arm stretch towards your groom with it being as close to level to your waist as you can.
In front of the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street.
5. My favorite pose for brides is you facing your groom, but your faces are looking at the camera. However, this is an easy pose that can make your arms and body look larger than it is, so I suggest a few things for nailing this pose: Watch your posture and your shoulders. By slightly pushing your shoulders back you will also reveal more of the front of your gown. You photographer should know, but if not, suggest that the shot be taken from the camera looking up at you and your groom. Face each other, but slightly turn your body at an angle towards the camera, this could make your legs look longer. Also, I often stand with one knee bent which can create length as well for you when standing. Or you can put your weight on one leg as you stand, this will also create length.
When facing each other, your posture and where you position your arms really matter. You can also get good results by simply standing with your heels together, parallel, and while the shot is being taken inhale to get some length to your body and arch your back a little, as you look at your groom. If you are standing by yourself for a bride portrait, and are unsure about what to do with your hands, I suggest always creating space between your arms and your dress; place your hands on your thighs, or place one hand on your thigh and one behind you, and as you do slightly create space between your arms and your waist and torso. Mostly, I like his hands on your waist, and I think the 90 degree angle arm looks great when standing together, I think you will too!
(Yes, of course we stopped by the Apple store, since I wrote my modeling memoir Almost 5'4" there on the display computers.)
(My husband proposed at our favorite Italian spot called Carmines, at the seaport, we loved that hole in the wall but only months after we were engaged the place closed! We still went back for a photo outside of where it was location.)
(I love how this litle girl ironically in the shot adds to the story of the photo.)
Extra's to bring or have stored somewhere nearby:
travel size deodorant, (it was 90 degrees out so I used it many times)
bottle of seltzer water, cleans up white well if you get any stains
travel size brush or comb
lotion, for hands, feet, legs, whole body.
#1 thing to never do in front of the camera:
Put your chin down too much. The lower your chin the bigger your eyes can look, but you can create an unflattering chin this way. You may hear the photographer saying "lift your chin," this is a good photographer.
Overall, you want to feel beautiful and have fun, you want to laugh and enjoy the moment, and you want to create memorable photos that you look great in, and sometimes the "slightest" change in how you position your body can make a huge difference,
Long Live Love!
Photographers, Alex Kroke and Robert Milazzo
Dress: Alfred Angelo
Shoes: Badgley Miscka, rosiel
Flowers: City Blossoms http://www.cityblossoms.com/
Hair/makeup: Ion Studio, SoHo
Happy hour: Bourbon Street, Hell's Kitchen