Yeah that’s right, I’m posting some pretty hideous (and ahem hilarious) photographs of myself today. I hope you’ll find this slightly scary post both helpful and funny…that’s the idea anyway! So, ready to see me looking haaawt!?
Looking naturally beautiful on your wedding day is something that’s often referred to by some as a bit of a given. “On your wedding day you’ll be so glowingly happy that you will look as stunning and radiant in the photographs as you did when they were taken” they say…and they’re right…right!?
Well yes and no. I’m sure you’re all with me in some degree on this one, that there are certain areas of your body that you’re never going to be happy with. No matter how often your fiancé says you’re beautiful, when you look at a photograph of yourself your eyes are always first drawn to your arms/nose/chin/stomach aren’t they? Yeah me too…
Let’s be honest with ourselves here and say that we are all a little bit worried about how we’re going to look in our wedding photographs. Looking at yourself in a photo can be seriously HARD if you have a hold ups about how you look, and actually even if you don’t. There isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t taken a bad photograph, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be praying that the happiest day of your life will be reflected as such in the photographs. Not to freak you out any more, but after all these are the photos that will remain on your parents’ and grandparents’ mantelpieces forever.
“Now come on…!” I hear you cry “Kat Williams we’ve seen you in hundreds of photo shoots and you always take a good picture.” Well I’m here to burst that little bubble for ya right now ladies (and gents.) If you could see the photos that end up on the proverbial cutting room floor after one of my shoots…well…you certainly wouldn’t be saying that! And before you say so, no I’m not just being modest. I can take a seriously BAD picture. Just ask all the photographer’s I’ve worked with!
However what I have learnt over the past few years of prancing about in front of the camera, is how to pose (and be posed) correctly. I now know how to position and angle my body to accentuate my good bits and hide my wobbly bits. Today I want to pass that knowledge onto you. The point of this post is not to make you dwell in the parts of yourselves that you dislike, but to celebrate the parts you do like and to learn how to look the very best you can. I am a firm believer that everyone can take a beautiful photograph – all it takes it the right photographer (for you) and some clever posing. I seriously hope you will thank me for it too, because sharing some photos of me looking well…awful…is quite a momentous thing for me!
So last week I met with my friend, photographer David McNeil to take some good and badly posed shots in order to show you what to do and of course not what to do in your wedding pictures or bridal/engagement/trash the dress shoot. Thank you so much for all your comments on last Friday’s post about this subject - we’ve tried to cover all the areas you asked for so I hope you get some ideas of how to look as smokin’ as you feel in your wedding photographs.
OK, deep breath…
Chin / Neck
I was both surprised and comforted that so many of you seemed to have the same most hated area as me! I detest my chin and neck area (what is it with my fat neck!?) It’s so easy to get that awful double and/or dimply chin look in photographs too… argh!
In order to combat this, raise your chin by a few degrees and twist your head slightly away from the camera. Then, either focus your eyes a point above your natural eye line or look back down the lens. Tilting your chin upwards will elongate the neck, pull the skin tight and smooth out any wrinkles/folds. Even if your photographer is shooting from a low angle (argh scary!) or straight on, this pose will look a million times better than looking straight at and directly down the camera. See…?
The most flattering angle for disguising an unsightly chin area is from above. Remember that famous ‘myspace pose‘? Teenagers didn’t hold their phones above their heads and take photos like that by accident! The high angle not only hides any excess skin but also makes the eyes appear to pop and look bigger/brighter. The face also looks softer.
God bless gravity.
Nose / Profile
My God I hate my nooky nose. Just so you know you are unlikely to see a straight-on profile shot of me ever again so count yourselves honoured right now! It is actually quite unlikely that a photographer will want to take a straight profile portrait, but just in case, twisting your face 45 degrees will improve even the most unsightly conk…yes even one as hideous as mine! This next point kind of contradicts with the chin/neck tips, but tilting your chin slightly down will also be more flattering to a bigger nose. Be sure to let your photographer know your problem areas so they can pose you in a way that makes you and your features look their best.
Another biggie with you guys was the not liking the tops of your arms. This one is actually pretty straight forward – simply keep them away from your body and don’t lean on them so they smoosh out! Having your hands on hips is an easy one, but even just keeping them slightly away from you body (but remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and down) will work wonders. This will stop the arms smooshing and looking wider. Observe…
Another obvious thing to avoid if you hate the tops of your arms is strapless dresses. Why oh why would do bride’s do this to themselves? Luckily for you lot, non-strapless dresses are a lot more readily available these days so there really is no excuse for this fashion faux pas.
Another thing to think about it your positioning in terms of the things around you – i.e. if you’re next to a wall don’t lean on it too hard. Again this will make everything smoosh out. Instead lightly lean on the wall – almost just brushing it with your body.
Stomach / Waist
Apart from the obvious advice of wearing a 50′s style dress to accentuate a smaller waist (hello, look at my outfit!) there are some things you can do to make you look tinier. Firstly twist your body 45 degrees (a good photographer should be able to tell you the exact point where your waist looks it smallest) and put each leg in a slightly different position (again, your photographer should be able to direct you toward which positions look good). Put all your weight on one leg (usually the back) and give it some wiggle (stick out those hips!)
Have you ever noticed how celebrities pose on the red carpet…they all adopt a similar pose and this is not a coincidence!
Way-hey slim arms, toned thighs and tiny waists!
As with slimming the waist, to have hot looking legs in photographs it’s all in the angles. Point those toes, bend those knees and position each leg differently. I like to think of these poses as ‘dolly poses’ or ‘awkward legs’ – weirdly with legs, positions that feel a bit unnatural or uncomfortable look really great in photographs! It’s all about shifting your balance from one leg to another…
Hips / Bum
Shake what your Mamma gave ya! Quite simply, lean forward and push the area you want to hide away from the camera (hence creating the illusion that it’s smaller - perspective at it’s best.) This tends to look better (and sexier) if you are at a slight angle to the camera too. Check it…
Please excuse my stupid face in this photo…I’m pretty sure it was funny at the time!
Smile (teeth) / Eyes
I was honestly surprised at how many of you said you hated your smiles and teeth! In a similar way to eyes, natural emotion is the number one trick here and a forced or closed-mouth smile to hide your teeth will never look good (seriously, we tried for ages to get a natural and nice smile out of me with me lips closed…impossible)
A good idea is to think happy/sexy/excited thoughts (hopefully you wont have to do this on your wedding day!!) and really commit yourself to these feelings. It sounds utterly ridiculous I know, but honestly if you are thinking and feeling sexy and confident it really will come through in your expression. Compare – a forced & unemotional eyes and smile vs a natural & confident expression. See the difference?
Keep smiles and eyes soft and confident. You know the expression ‘smile with your eyes’? well this is what they’re talking about.
As a side note, looking directly down the lens takes confidence but creates a dramatic image (when the emotion behind those eyes and smiles is right.) Looking down slightly will create a more demure effect, whereas eyes (and chin) up to the sky will give the impression of confidence.
Think loose, think relaxed, think soft.
On your weding day or in a bridal shoot you will often have something to hold (bouquet/husband!) to keep your hands busy, but it’s important to be soft and natural with your hands whether your holding something or not. It sounds simple, but when I do photo shoots I’m always getting told off for having stiff hands!
A good tip would be to shake them out and start again if you feel yourself tensing up. Relax your arms, shoulders and hands and move them where it feels natural – a slight curve of the fingers always looks better, and more natural than straight and witchy hands too! A good photographer should be able to spot this for you and call you out on any witch-hands.
Posture / Shoulders
Finally, and most importantly – commit yourself to the pose you’re being put in. A lot of the time an over exaggerated pose can feel ridiculous in ‘real life’ but looks great in photos. This is why it’s so important to book a photographer that you 100% trust.
David’s Top Tips
I asked David, who took these photos, if he wouldn’t mind sharing some of his top tips too. He’s as big a poser as me so he jumped at the chance! (ahem, I kept the out-takes in because they made me laugh. As I hope you can tell, this post is pretty much all about not taking ourselves too seriously!)
Oh and apologies for the background noise. We tried to find a quiet coffee shop, looks like we didn’t do so well on that one! D’oh…
My Top Tips
♥ The poses listed above are things that work for me and my body shape (although most are relevant no matter what your shape or size). For something a little different, taking a look at the models in fashion and wedding magazines. This is a good starting point to see what looks good and why. Of course not all of these high fashion poses will be suitable for your wedding day, but it’s certainly worth noting the shapes the model’s bodies make. Ask yourself why they’ve been posed like that and what the overall effect on their body is. Does the positioning make them look slimmer, taller or curvier? Does it accentuate or hide a certain feature?
♥ Another important thing to do is practice practice practice! You will feel silly (believe me) but it’s so worth it. Stand in front of a full length mirror (or if you’re really brave, ask a friend or your fiance to take some photos of you) and literally just get posing! It’s a funny thing about photographs, sometimes you think you look hot to trot in the mirror but when you see yourself in a photo, the result isn’t quite what you imagined! Your eyes work very differently to a camera lens which explains why most high fashion models look incredible in editorials, but in real life look a bit like lanky aliens…it’s all in the posing and the camera work baby!
♥ ♥ ♥
I really hope you’ve found this article helpful and I haven’t just subjected myself to ridicule by sharing my fat arms, wobbly chin and wide waist for nothing! Comments will be a million percent appreciated…
- Photography: David McNeil Photography