Wedding season has started.  If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s your weekends are probably starting to line up with weddings.  More than likely there will be a professional photographer at the wedding.  In the digital age many photographers, including myself, share all the edited files with the couple.  Meaning after the wedding they can send a link with all the photos to their friends and family.   It might not be your “day” but it’s still an opportunity to get in front of the camera and get a photo you love.

1.Cocktail hour is your time.

Cocktail hour is usually the time that the photographer captures snapshots of the guests.  I hate photographing people when they are eating (most photographers do).  So often I feel awkward walking around during cocktail hour because most people are eating.  I do however love it when a couple or group taps me on the shoulder and asks me to take a photo of them.  Don’t be shy, take advantage of the opportunity to have a pro take your pic, especially if the venue has poor lighting or it’s in the evening.  (poor lighting=your iPhone pics look bad).

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2.  Hold the Line.

When people line up for a group photo they often make an inverted semi circle.  In this formation whoever stands on the end looks larger than the person who has claimed the coveted middle position.  This is because a photograph is two dimensional, it flattens what your eye sees, and whatever is closer to the lens will appear larger.  Make a straight line, don’t curl the line towards the camera,  and if space is tight grab a couple chairs or make 2 rows.

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3.  Feet apart and hips back.

A bit of a repeat, but it’s an important concept to understand.  Whatever is closer to the camera will appear larger, so whatever is further away from the camera will appear smaller.  To create a slimming look separate your feet a bit, put your weight on your back leg and slightly push your hips back.  If the photo is being taken from the side you might look a little funny, but if it’s straight on it’s quite flattering.

4. Up Top.

It’s flattering to be photographed from a slightly higher angle.  Position yourself either slightly below the photographer, or on the same level.  Don’t squat, but if you are on a hill or steps don’t stand uphill/above the photographer.  In the selfie age I think many people have figured out the higher angle trick, but it’s an important one to grasp.

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5.  Think of your favorite things while being photographed.

Being photographed can feel awkward.   While someone is taking your photo think of something you love.  It could be a person, a favorite food, an activity, a pet, often the simpler the better, but make it specific.  Recall the image/memory in your head, and focus on it.  It helps to think about something other than yourself while being photographed, and if it’s a pleasant thought it usually translates to your face/eyes.  (Meaning you end up looking good…bam).

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6.  Breathe.  A lot.

Lately my family formal sections at weddings have turned into a bit of a yoga class where I ask the group to breathe before most pictures.  Why?  It immediately relaxes your body and your face, which makes you look more natural and relaxed in a photo.  If you ask a person to smile they often stop breathing deeply because their mouth is closed.  After about 3 seconds this grin starts to look like a strained grimace.  Take a breathe before a photo, you’ll look (and feel) better.

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Alright.  Time to get your suits and dresses cleaned and tackle this wedding season.  Good luck and have some fun with being photographed!

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