A childhood friend of mine is getting married next month! She is marrying the man of her dreams and the father of her child, sharing the moment with all of those most dear. She says to me, I am not nervous about the wedding, but I am dreading the photographs.
This is an all too common statement for us to hear. The pre-notion of what it must feel like to have your photograph taken when most of us have little more experience of the thing than sitting for a school photo, awkward and stiff, or posing for pictures with friends on a great night out, poorly lit, badly composed and completely unflattering. So what can we say to convince you that the experience will be nothing like that.
Anxiety is simply the unknown, a concern perhaps that your photographs may not show you in your best light. These feelings are normal and exist in all of us, multiplied when the pressure of the wedding itself is added into the equation. But what can you do about it? Firstly prepare yourself as much as possible. Get to know your photographer as best you can before the wedding, creating a relationship can do wonders for your confidence. Get to know their work - every photographer has a different shooting style, really study it to make sure that you adore their work, and finally have trust.
Mentally preparing yourself for the experience is a huge turning point. Allow yourself to have fun, give your self permission to not take it too seriously, relax, be yourself and the result will be naturally beautiful images that show you to be you. Furthermore, you don’t always need to wait for instruction, we love it when a couple improvise a bit.
I want to share a little story with you. As someone myself who chose to be behind the camera, not infront of it, I used to hate having my photograph taken. Anxious that I was not as good looking as I would like to be, perhaps a little overweight and even a little awkward - then I fell in love and married a photographer. The realisation came to me that I didn’t have much choice about being infront of the camera anymore. Nigel wanted to preserve our own moments and journey through life together, as did I. He wanted to create meaningful images of us together and record times with our children as they grew. If I shied away, not only would I be depriving him of his enjoyment of capturing these moments, but I would also be depriving myself and our children, not allowing us to relive these precious moments and share them with one another in the future. After a reluctant acceptance came, and a fair few awkward moments for me being photographed, one day I simply just decided to start enjoying myself. I took these mini photoshoots less seriously, I laughed, played and had fun with our family. Now a fair number of years down the line, I have the confidence in myself that I was lacking before along with thousands of precious, beautiful images of us and our children enjoying life and loving one another.
I know how it feels to feel the anxiety of the camera lens upon you, but I also know that it is possible to turn things around to make the experience a truly memorable one. You just need to allow yourself to do so!
If after all this, the nerves are still plaguing you, we have a solution that will work wonders. Book in for a pre wedding shoot. The resulting images from the shoot are a lovely reminder of your time as an engaged couple, however the revolutionary part is the experience. Eradicating the fear of the unknown. While the experience is a little different on the wedding day, it is not so far removed as to be completely different. You will learn how we work as photographers, and get to know us in a much less formal way. You can test your own boundaries, discover what makes you feel comfortable and learn how to have fun when you are having your pictures taken.
So try and relax, let yourself enjoy the experience and have faith, it will be worth it!
To my dear friend Emma, you are and always have been beautiful. Have faith, relax, give yourself permission to have fun and you will have the most wonderful reminders of your first day as your husband's wife. I wish you all the luck in the world.