Whatever you do — DON'T SMILE

By on Sep. 14th
serious yay

Seriously, Yay, we're so happy. No really. Yay. Photo by Leah LaRiccia Photography.

What is it with the trend of people purposely not smiling — sometimes looking downright miserable — in wedding photos these days?

It's such a shame, especially when the bride has such a beautiful and radiant smile!


Oh Indra, this question has plagued me for YEARS! It was actually the reason I ended up firing my wedding photographer between the ceremony and the reception. No, seriously…

There I was with my brand spankin' new husband, deep in the "we just got married–oh my god wtf — so crazy — I love you" times, and our photographer kept telling us NOT TO SMILE during the portrait session. Dude, are you fucking kidding me? I don't know if you just saw what happened back there, but I kinda married this guy I really like, and I have that goofy perma-smile on my face right now and, well, just photograph that! Kthnxbye.

Our photographer was actually getting frustrated by our apparently unwelcome smiling. So, to appease the photographer, (and to get the portrait session to end faster) I cut the smile from my face. Now I have over a dozen photos of me glaring at my husband in my best Megan Bitch Face. Ah the warm fuzzy memories, ready-to-frame, of the time Aaron and I stood face to face, all blank stares and angry expressions, on the beach. Good times.

Anyway, to answer your question, I present to you two options:

  1. If a couple is staring at the camera or each other with completely blank looks on their face, it's probably because their photographer made them do it. (Maybe they think it looks sexier than a goofy smile? Maybe it's because it seems more editorial? Maybe they just want a well rounded portfolio of wedding day looks? I really don't know the motive. As a photographer myself, I've never told a newly wedded couple to "wipe that damn smile of your face.")
  2. Perhaps the couple wanted to take a serious photo for whatever reason. I mean, that "serious YAY!" photo is freaking genius. Worth the struggle to not smile, amma right?

But the fact is, it's a bit of a wedding photography trend at the moment. Is it my favorite trend? Not at all. Is it sometimes kind of cool? Sure (as demonstrated in the photo above). But should it be up to each couple if they want to forgo their blissed-out smiles? Of course (unless you booked our photographer and have relinquished all rights to your facial expressions).

Tell us, what current photography trends aren't a good fit for YOUR wedding photos?

UPDATE: Because I got a couple requests (and because I love you very much), I dug back into the hidden archive of crap wedding pics to find you some of my favorite Megan Bitch Face photos:

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About Megan Finley

Megan Finley is the Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire. When she's not slaving away for the Empire, she's sharing her dork side on her own blog, Twitter @meganfinley, and Instagram @meggyfin.