‘I can’t stand having my photograph taken.’
‘I always look awful in photos.’
‘I have a sideways smile!’
These are just some of the photography-related fears my clients have disclosed to me lately. If you can relate to at least one of these statements, you will not be alone. Being camera shy is an incredibly common phenomenon.
Photography and words by Cassandra Lane
The weird thing about being photographed is that it has an uncanny way of making you feel vulnerable. It’s therefore essential that you fully trust the person who will be wielding the camera on your wedding day. Building a relationship with your photographer is a great way of helping you feel more comfortable, and as part of this I highly recommend having an engagement shoot with them.
Each photographer will have their own way of approaching engagement shoots, but they are normally informal, taking place in a location of your choice. I like to chat to my couples during their engagement shoot, focusing as much on building a rapport as getting good pictures. Pretty much every couple I’ve worked with have started out nervous, but by the end of the shoot have felt much more confident and relaxed. A great example of this is Rachel & Scott’s engagement shoot. Would you guess from this set of pictures that Rachel & Scott were very wary of the camera at first? Engagement shoots are an absolutely brilliant way of facing your photography fears and you’ll also get some lovely pictures of you both. What’s not to like?
Of course, for many people their fear of being photographed is to do with their perception of their appearance. Many brides I talk to are concerned about skin conditions like acne scarring, for example. If this applies to you, it’s a good idea to be prepared on your wedding day by hiring a make-up artist. Being prepared by investing in professional help will help you to feel more confident in your appearance, as can wearing beautiful underwear and spritzing on your favourite perfume before your big day.
Another part of being prepared is letting your photographer know if something about your appearance really worries you. They can then be sensitive to the fact that you might feel uncomfortable and they can give you that little bit of extra encouragement during your portraits. Plus, as we photographers are blessed with the joys of Photoshop, that spot that bothers you is easy enough for us to get rid of…
A common misconception about wedding photography is that every image must be posed and polished. Well no actually, some of my favourite photographs are the ones where my couples just don’t give a wotsit about their appearance and they’re just lost in a moment of pure joy. Beauty is not just skin deep. The person you are marrying loves you and there is nothing more attractive than letting the love between you shine by hitching up your dress, letting your hair down and having fun together.
If you are currently planning your wedding and you’re feeling a little nervous about being photographed, today’s challenge is to face up to your fears. You’ve booked an awesome photographer to capture your day, you’ve found ‘the dress’ and you’re marrying the love of your life. To get the best out of all these wonderful things, make sure you fully embrace having your picture taken. Communicate with your photographer, be prepared, but most of all just let go – you’ll love it!
Cassandra Lane is a wedding photographer based in Manchester. She lives with her husband and cat and likes cooking, reading and vinyl records. Cassandra is a BA Photographic Arts gradate and wrote her final year dissertation on the subject of vulnerability in photographic portraiture.