In addition to exchanging vows and celebrating at the reception, taking formal portraits is one of the most important activities on your wedding day. You’ll look back on wedding pictures for years to come, so it’s necessary to dedicate enough time in your schedule for photos with your family and bridal party. But if getting in front of the camera makes you feel nervous, you’re not alone.
Hire a photographer you trust
The first step to feeling confident while posing for wedding portraits is hiring someone you trust. It’s important to work with vendors that align with your values and your wedding vision. They’re the ones who will help bring your special day to life, so it’s essential to hire people who make you feel understood and supported. This is a key consideration to keep in mind when searching for all vendors, but especially your wedding photographer. Posing for photos doesn’t always come naturally, but a great photographer will help you feel comfortable and capture you and your partner in a way that feels genuine.
Take some time to browse through photographers’ portfolios and galleries during the hiring process. This is a great way to make sure your wedding photo vision aligns with their photography style, and it’ll make you feel confident during all of your wedding photoshoots.
Take engagement photos
You might feel a little nervous taking photos at your wedding if it’s your first time in front of the camera. To help eliminate wedding day portrait jitters, book an engagement session with your photographer (all my packages include a complimentary engagement session). Consider this a test run for the photoshoot on your actual wedding day. Not only will you learn more about your photographer’s shooting style, an engagement session is a perfect time for them to observe how you and your partner act together, which will help them capture stunning wedding portraits.
Just like you might schedule a make up trial with your makeup artist or stylist to finalize your look before the wedding, an engagement portrait session will help you plan a few poses and get comfortable with your photographer. By the time the big day arrives, you’ll fall into a natural rhythm that you established during your engagement shoot.
Prepare a shot list
Your wedding photographers are masters of their craft, meaning you can rely on their expertise throughout the planning process—but that’s not to say you shouldn’t do some planning on your end too. Preparing a shot list is one of the best ways to maximize your time together on the wedding day. Your photographer will guide you through common wedding and bridal portrait poses, but take some time to bring a few ideas to the photoshoot too. In fact, gathering inspiration beforehand will give you enough guidance so that you don’t feel lost when it’s time to start taking photos.
Avoid over practicing
While you should come prepared with bridal photo ideas, try to avoid over-practicing before the big day. It may seem like practicing your poses is the best way to boost your confidence, but it can actually be counter-productive if you think too hard about nailing the shot in the moment. Experienced wedding photographers will have their own master shot list to make sure they don’t miss any details.”
Your photographer will be able to guide you and your partner throughout the day to capture photos that fulfill your shot list and feel natural.
When it’s time to start smiling for the camera, you’ll be grateful to have a few wedding and bridal portrait pose ideas on hand—but don’t underestimate the power of talking and laughing naturally with your partner. Even simple movements like walking together or putting your arms around each other will result in genuine wedding portraits that don’t feel overly posed or forced.
If you do feel yourself tensing up for close-up shots, take a minute to refocus your energy on your partner instead. Allow yourself to relax in their presence, and your photographer will work their magic to produce heartfelt candid photos that you’ll cherish.
Tip: Photographers will usually ask you to do poses that sound and feel funny. Trust us, those are the favorites. They get you to open up, move, and smile naturally.
Designate enough time for photos
Making a timeline is a must. While it’s important to allot enough time for the big moments, like your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, reception speeches and dancing, setting aside time for portraits and bridal photos is a must. After all, feeling rushed may impact your confidence throughout your photo session. Give yourself ample time to take group photos with your wedding party and family members, but set aside time for solo shots too. You might want to consider doing a first look along with a private photo session, before the ceremony. Or, dedicate part of the photo schedule just for you, your partner and your photographer so the three of you can cross off all the portrait ideas on your shot list.
The ideal photoshoot time isn’t one-size-fits-all, but there are some general guidelines to follow. “Every wedding timeline is different and determined by multiple factors including the sunset, the location and the ceremony time,” explains Wenzel. “For a tight timeline, I include a minimum of 30 minutes of shooting time for wedding portraits. Sixty minutes is my preference though, especially if there is more flexibility in the day. Work with your wedding photographer to create a timeline that works best for you.”
Communicate with you photographer
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to feel confident while posing for pictures is to communicate with your photographer. If you’re feeling nervous about any aspect of your wedding photoshoot, ask to see one or two shots to confirm that you’re on the right path.
And, as with any other wedding pro, it’s important to trust their expertise. Understand that it’s is completely normal to feel awkward or uncomfortable when you get in front of the camera. Trust your photographer though and don’t be afraid to communicate what you do or don’t like.
- Emma H.
"110% recommend Lisa Marie Cason for all your photography needs. Her photos are so gorgeous - they’re bright, airy, and just flat out perfect! She did our engagement photos and they are stunning and cannot wait to have her do our wedding photos as well. She has very reasonable pricing for amazing quality photos!"
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- samantha b.
"Lisa did our wedding invitations and the turned out perfect! I literally had no idea what goes into wedding invites and she walked us through it and answered all of our questions. Unfortunately we had to postpone due to COVID but you bet we will be meeting with her again for new invites for our new date!"
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- katie r.
"We are so incredibly happy with the engagement session that we had with Lisa! Not only did the pictures come out more beautifully than we could have imagined, Lisa was truly professional and made us feel comfortable, special, and celebrated. I highly recommend her services!"
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"Lisa was very professional throughout our whole experience! She sent friendly reminders and thank yous after our session. our pictures came out wonderful and she worked well with our two boys! Thank you Lisa!"
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"Lisa did our maternity pictures and we loved how they turned out! Lisa is very easy to work with - professional, responsive, and has a quick turn around time. I would recommend her to anyone! Thanks again, Lisa!"
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"We hired Lisa for our invitations. She was so accommodating and never kept us waiting. Her response time was almost always same day! We had our invitations very quickly and they are PERFECT!"
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- stephanie e.
"I have known Lisa for years! She is one of my best friends and I found it only fitting for her to capture my maternity photos. She did a session for us in 2016 and then when I found out I was pregnant again I already knew she was the one to do another maternity session for us in 2017. She is really great at what she does and always captures amazing photos and picks wonderful locations! I love having these memories to look back on! I would recommend her to anyone!"
"She is really great at what she does!"