Hey wedding photographers: today’s blog is just for you!
A Guide to How to Make the Wedding Party Feel Comfortable While Photographing Them
Weddings are wonderful occasions that naturally come with plenty of memories you are meant to capture. As a photographer, it’s your role to get right in the mix and get these moments while understanding how to move so that you don’t cause any discomfort. After all, not everyone feels comfy moving naturally when there’s a camera and some people get very anxious about posing for photos. I want the people in the wedding party to have fun, feel comfortable and let their personalities shine through their photos!
Aside from that, a survey of over 1,500 wedding guests indicated that 42% feel stressed about attending weddings these days because of how many there are in the wake of the pandemic. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can get those perfect shots while getting everyone to feel at ease.
Know the Most Common Wedding Stressors
Since you’re likely going to be covering on the fly, you will need to make certain adjustments based on the vibe. It’s important to read the room as you figure out when to take both candid and posed shots. A complete guide to taking care of mental wellbeing during a wedding notes that the most common stressors at these events are family expectations, wedding party members not getting along, supplier issues, and unruly children at weddings.
If you read up on these stressors, you have a better chance of managing these situations well. Even though it’s not necessarily your responsibility to act as a mediator, having a good grasp of these situations will inform your approach. Although if I’m being totally honest – over the years, I have basically added “mediator” to my list of wedding day jobs, though – sometimes it’s okay to step in and really be there to support your bride and groom!
Get to Know the Wedding Party Before the Wedding
The best thing to create a comfortable environment is getting to know the wedding party. After all, people are naturally more at ease with people who aren’t complete strangers. This will also give you a good picture of how everyone’s dynamics are. This is part of the reason why I always like to photograph engagement sessions with my couples. Why? Becuase if the couple knows me and is comfortable with me, that will set the vibe when I meet the wedding party!
It may be easier to spend extra time pre-wedding with wedding parties at extended destination weddings, but you can easily take some time to meet and greet everyone during dress rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. If this isn’t available to you, you can also chat with them in the hours before the actual wedding while everyone is getting ready. It opens up great photo ops for the prepping phase and immediately creates a more welcoming environment as you bank on those giddy nerves.
Make the Photo Sessions Fun
It’s easier for people to feel relaxed if they’re having fun. Establish that you are just here to make an enjoyable experience easier to remember, and this lets them bask in the moment more. Try to incorporate some small games the wedding party can do to get those interactions in a fun way. It’s an engaging method to make them enjoy and get some nice candid shots along with some planned photos you may have in your back pocket.
Having something fun to focus on can also be a good way to get both extroverts and introverts in the wedding party to feel included without too much pressure. Studies also find that the environment holds a lot of power when catering to different personality types, so choose a nice space or area that feels welcoming and chill.
Remember to Be Patient and Give Space
The last thing you want to do is get all up in the personal space of the wedding party. This can make them feel more self-conscious and even potentially hurt their perception of you. If you’re not getting the best poses from your direction, patience is the key to executing your vision. Making anyone feel rushed or pressured during such a major occasion will only result in less flattering or enjoyable photos.
You will also need to be mindful of when to call attention to yourself, as the main goal is to simply capture the party comfortably throughout the wedding. When people forget there is a camera lurking about, they tend to reveal more of their true selves for the perfect photos.
If you keep these practices in mind, you should be able to trust your skills and be able to capture amazing photographs of the wedding party. If you grow your catalog, you may even be able to take it to the next level and become a blogger. This can expand your network and allow you to earn more covering weddings.