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What do you do as a wedding photographer when you have a bride tells you consistently upon meeting you that “I never look good in photos”?
Before I answer that, I’d like to share my thoughts on “photogenic”. Please note that these are my thoughts and are not representative of my employers, agents or any other person either real or fictional.
To answer the question, you look them in the eye and say “OK. I hear what you are saying and I’m going to stop you there. It’s not your job to look amazing in front of the camera. It’s my job to bring the amazing out of you.” The comments flowed throughout the meeting about not being confident and not looking good in photos and each time, I acknowledged her concerns whilst telling her not to worry, and informing her that we’ll make it work.
Hopefully, you can see from the presented photograph today, I made it work. I was very conscious of her fears and worked with longer lenses than I would normally for the situation, always giving her space. I also provided an early boost to her confidence by showing her a few killer photographs on the back of the camera (a reason to always get things right in camera rather than relying on post-processing!) as early as possible.
I would have normally reached for the 105 mm lens to get the portrait above, but as you can read from the photo information below, I used the 70-200 mm at its full reach.
As the day went on my bride (well not MY bride, but you know what I mean) slowly grew in confidence to the point of being able to follow all directions quite comfortably towards the end of the bridal portraits.
And what an interesting and totally unique wedding it was.
The wonderful wife was on makeup duties and the five-year-old was an invited guest to the point where when we decided that M and R were going to go home before the ceremony, the bride sent through the dreaded broken heart emoji!. So naturally, they stayed.
The day started for us at 6 am. Having packed the night before, I was up showered and doing final prep when I woke the others. We all got out of the house by 7 and into our two cars, why two cars? Reason one: It’s always nice to have a backup, just in case. Reason two: We wanted a car there in case the five-year-old (understandably) didn’t make it through the long day.
We arrived at the bride & grooms house before the appointed time and got to work, M on makeup and me on photos. Due to some Vietnamese horoscope, we had to leave the house before 9 am for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why but who am I to question a bride’s wishes on her wedding day?
At this stage, our lovely bride was in her “western” wedding dress, a conventional white dress. They wanted photos at their favourite café, Dolcetti of Kilsyth, only two minutes up the road and had actually provided them with a heads up, making the process easier for all concerned. Being so early and with the ceremony not until 2.30, we had so much time up our sleeves I could work at the most relaxed pace I have in thirteen years of photographing weddings. And this was only the pre-wedding shoot!
Completely aware that the couple was nervous about getting good photos, I kept them busy. Their drinks were paid for and bought out to them and they were told to enjoy the drinks and the time together. I would let them know if I needed them to do anything in particular. The bride was having a difficult time being the centre of attention which was cute as she was sitting at a café in a white wedding dress standing out like a sore thumb! People who saw them were all passing on congratulations and well wishes for the day.
Today’s photo was taken as she was talking to her husband to be. It was a most definite captured moment.
The lesson for any student of photography here is that not all portraits have to have the subject looking at the camera. If you know your subject is not comfortable, do not force them. Start with photographs of them looking away or even better, interacting with something/someone. Show them as quickly as you can any “bangers” and watch their shoulders relax and become more confident.
I’ll continue on with the day in later posts.
Have a great day and I’ll see you in the next post.
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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G II ED (VR) @ 200 mm
1/2500 | f/2.8 | ISO 800
Saturday January 22, 2022 @ 09:24
Olinda, Victoria, Australia
B&W 365 - 24/365 (6.5% complete)
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