Wedding Photo Advice: For Camera Shy Couples


The Secret to Natural Wedding Photography

without imposing on your wedding day

Over the past 12 years I have photographed over 300 couples, so I feel that I hold some experience on this subject now! I often find the biggest compliment I receive from my clients, or their families and friends and even other photographers, is that they love how natural my couples portraits are and often ask how I make sure that my couples feel relaxed when having their photo taken.

I actually don’t think it’s anything to do with me at all, I just am myself with my clients, I laugh and joke and reassure, but I very rarely pose them, I ask them to find their happy place, their own comfort zone, together. It is completely ridiculous to stand with a couple who know each other better than anyone and tell them where to place their hands and what to do with their feet! We are grown ups right? So what I do is find the location I want, where the light is lovely and we are away from guests or any unwanted audiences and I chat about how your day is going and make sure you are enjoying it but then I mostly let you have some quiet time to yourselves, I step back.

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Photographing Weddings For My Clients

The single most important thing I need you to do is to ‘buy in’ to the idea that these photographs are for you, not me.

Whilst I love to share my work on my website and social media accounts to prove my abilities and what I am able to create for other couples who might like to book me to photograph their wedding, these pictures are yours and yours forever.

For your grandparents, your parents, your brothers and sisters, distant relatives who couldn’t make the wedding because they live abroad and can’t travel for health reasons and also for future generations, the children that haven’t been born yet, but who will be curious about the family weddings from 2019!

If you are happy to take ten minutes or so after the ceremony, but before dinner and then again another ten minutes later on in the early evening for some beautiful and romantic shots of you both, then you will find that it does not impose on your day. If anything it actually gives you both a few moments away from everyone, just to go “waaaahhhhhh, we did it!!” and just reflect and take in the day.

You will appreciate that for me most of the wedding day is fast moving; switching from light to dark from individuals to groups, from architecture to details, to people, to moving objects (children mainly), to landscapes to guests various hilarious antics, experiencing every single emotion throughout the day! This ten minutes with just the two of you, allows me to stop for a moment and take stock, allowing me to put some thought and creativity into what I am doing, it’s the one part of the day where I can stop and think about what I am creating and it is one of my favourite parts because I love photographing people and what’s more I love photographing people in love.

Image By Helen Howard
Image By Helen Howard

Natural and relaxed photographs on your wedding day 

So why might the idea of posing for photos totally freak you out?

I love couples shoots, also known as pre wedding shoots or engagement shoots, I believe they are an important part of the process of working together to get awesome wedding photos.  They are great if you are particularly camera shy and dislike being in front of the camera, as the process we go through on the shoot is about making you feel comfortable and relaxed with my camera. It also gives us a chance to get to know each other, chat about your wedding plans and we just have some fun, making some really lovely photographs of the two of you! It’s not scary, honest and I would bet money that it would take you all of 5-10 minutes to relax and enjoy the whole experience.

I get it, I honestly do! I would never force a couple to spend hours having posed photographs, you would hate it, your guests would hate it and even though I bet I could photograph you all day, there is so much more to photographing a wedding that just focusing on the couple! No offence I am sure you will be awesome, but what about all the details and your family and friends enjoying your day? Where there are memories to be made I will be working some magic with my camera capturing your wedding day from the bridal/wedding prep in the morning through until your first dance and all the laughter, tears and shenanigans in between.

My biggest tip for ensuring you have some beautifully relaxed portraits of you on your wedding day, is to just spend an hour with me before the day to understand how I will work with you on the day. It basically gets the nerves out of the way, resulting in much less time spent on the day, so that you can enjoy the celebrations with your nearest and dearest! Then on the day like I have said before, ten minutes here or there is all that it will take and the rest of the day will be captured without any direction from myself.

Don’t look at my camera

It’s easy peasy to be relaxed in a photograph if you are focusing on the person you love instead of on your photographer and their rather intimidating lens! So don’t ever feel like you need to smile at the camera and say cheese (That’s posed, right?)

Shustoke Barn Wedding Photography
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Just look at each other and be together, be happy, be yourselves and I promise that is all the ingredients you need to make those photographs lovely and definitely not feel like a chore. It’s honestly ten to twenty minutes of your day which can last up to about eight to ten hours and longer and these photographs will be with you for a lifetime, so I would always say it’s well worth spending the time to nail it in those ten minutes!

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Sound like we would be a good fit?

Documentary or photojournalistic wedding photography relates to the unposed, natural moments that occur over the course of the day, I like to work in a way that does not interfere with how your wedding day unfolds when you are particularly engrossed in getting ready, saying your vows and interacting with your friends and family.  The real, heartfelt, make you cry sort of moments will be cherished for generations to come and I would never compromise on these throughout the day as the moments that just happen as the day unfolds can never be repeated or replicated by anyone else.

If you are looking for a relaxed, documentary style photographer who will capture your wedding day, all the candid moments, a few family formals (but only a handful of those most important) and a few intimate portraits of you in your first moments as a married couple, then I would love to speak to you about your wedding plans. 

My wedding photography office is in Lichfield (in rural Staffordshire) and I would love to invite you for a chat, a cuppa and to view some of the wedding albums that currently offer.