Why Wedding Photography Can Feel So Awkward (and what I do to Fix that)

April 5, 2022

“My fiancé is going to think this sucks. And I kind of feel the same way. We’re going to feel so awkward!”

Yes, you might. But only for a minute. 

Listen, I get it. Being in front of the camera is weird. Especially when it’s something other than a phone camera, and there’s a stranger attached to it, and that stranger is snapping photos of you being all googly eyed.

But part of my job as a photographer is to put you both at ease.

So let’s start here with this blog post, where I’ll go over why wedding photography is such an awkward thing (and your feelings are totally normal, by the way) and what I do to ensure you have a fun experience.

You’re Not a Model 

I’m assuming that you’re like 100% of my couples who aren’t professional models. If you are one, please disregard this and move on to the next point. 

For the rest of us, posing in front of the camera isn’t something we do on the daily, so there’s this nervous energy that comes with being in front of a lens. Models are paid to be models for a reason. It’s a skill. And not a lot of people ever have professional photos taken.

Maybe you went to Sears for a family portrait when you were a kid. Or maybe you had senior pictures taken during high school. But that’s really about the extent of most people’s professional photo-taking experience. 

Take a look through my Instagram feed or website portfolio. None of those couples are models. They were are people who came into the sessions with the same fears and anxieties. But we worked through it. And 20-30 minutes into the session, they felt more comfortable being themselves. They laughed, held hands, kissed. 

And just to be clear, I would NEVER go into a session asking you to kiss. Because…awkward, right? You just met me, and I get that you don’t want some dude instructing you to be intimate within the first five minutes of being on camera. 

When and if you feel comfortable, lean in for a smooch. Or don’t. It’s all about you two and what comes naturally. Because my goal for each session, whether it’s an engagement shoot or on your wedding day, is to have you feel like yourselves. So that when you look back at your photos, you actually recognize the people you see in the pictures. 

I’m a Stranger (but only at first)

Wedding photography can feel awkward when you don’t actually know who you’re working with. Some person just shows up and starts taking pictures? Hard pass.

I don’t just get to know the two of you because it’s my job. I get to know you because I understand how important this whole wedding celebration is to you. It wasn’t so long ago that I planned my own wedding and counted on the vendors to do their thing. And like you, I wanted to work with people I felt connected to and enjoyed being around. 

From the beginning, I’ll get to know you and what I need to do to make you feel comfortable and taken care of. We’ll talk about random stuff too, laugh, and just hang out, so there’s not so much pressure. Along the way, you’ll find that I’m pretty laid back and easy to talk to. 

Do we have to be best friends forever? Nope. But I want you to feel like you can be yourself around me. That’s when the best photos happen. When you’re just doing you.

Also, on your wedding day, I try and get there about 30 minutes early to get settled in and ease into it. I come in, talk with you, make a connection, and let you know that I’m there for you. I’m very couple-driven, so whatever you need, you’ve got it. If you see a group of friends you want a photo with, grab me. I’m not gonna be like, “That’s not on my list!” 

I buffer the timeline so that we can do things like that. And besides, stuff happens on wedding day. Unexpected things, good and bad. So I always make sure the timeline has some padding. If anything, I strive to be a stress relief on the wedding day. Not another stressor. 

It’s a Big Deal in Your Head

Brains are like magnifying glasses or IMAX theaters. They can make things look really, really big. Including our flaws. Or what we think are our flaws. 

So before your engagement session or wedding day, you’re thinking about how your nose scrunches or what your chin looks like. You’re thinking about how you’ll stand and what to do with your hands. You’re overthinking, and suddenly, all the little things become big things.

Then, you find yourself in front of the camera, stiff as a board and worried about your non-existent double chin.

I know it’s easier said than done but don’t fall down that rabbit hole. Just act natural! Don’t worry about doing things perfectly. Maybe I suggest one of you spin the other around, or you wrap up in each other’s arms. Don’t overthink it. Just do it like you would if you were at home and no one was watching. 

If something looks strange (doubtful), I’ll let you know. The point is to get out of your head and into the moment. Be present. Hang out. Enjoy the experience. I’m not gonna take photographing you too seriously. That’s not to say I won’t do an excellent job. It just means I’m not gonna make you feel like this is a do-or-die situation. Let’s just relax and have fun. It’s a celebration, after all!

Trust me when I say it’s normal what you’re feeling. So many couples I’ve worked with were worried, nervous, and stressed before their engagement session and wedding photos. They thought it would be the scariest thing ever, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. Most times, they forget I’m even there. 

If having a goofy dude with a camera turn your fear into fun sounds cool, how about getting in touch