Photographer Kirsten of Kirsten Ann Photography has years of experience making clients feel at ease in front of the camera, and she has some tips for you.
The biggest hesitation people have about engagement sessions or their wedding day is how they'll look in photos. Cameras have the magical ability to either make us love or hate how we look. Angles, positioning, lighting, and facial expressions all contribute to how you will appear in a photo. Not to worry, though — you CAN do some things to be more chill in those photos. And that makes all the difference.
Bend like Gumby
You have joints, bend them! Stiff legs and arms and sometimes even torsos look awkward. But when bent, you look natural. The words “Be natural!” confuse clients sometimes because if you've never had your picture taken professionally how do you know what that means? But bending joints is a simple way to “Be natural” it helps you look like a real, non-mannequin person.
Don't say “cheese”
Since we're little kids, we're taught to smile and “Say cheese” or another goofy phrase. It's natural instinct to put on your biggest grin when a camera or phone comes out. But when it's forced like that, it LOOKS forced.
Natural smiles and especially laughter are the best way to show your happiness and make you look damn good. Happiness flatters everyone. How do you achieve this? That's usually the job of the photographer. I act like a corny weirdo, ask you to jump, talk, joke, and sometimes even ask for fake laughter which always gets people laughing for real.
Unless you're having your portrait taken, most photos have more than one person in it. When you both just stand there, it doesn't make for a very interesting photo.
When two people can show their relationship in a photo, it tells a huge story. Whether it be kissing, hugging, tickling, laughing together, jumping, running, doing an activity, or even just looking at each other.
And if you are taking a portrait, interact with the camera! Look at the camera, close your eyes, than open them again to look engaged and awake. Smile at the camera like it's your best friend or someone you love, or look directly into the lens to get an intense effect.
Turning your body and/or head to the side, even just a little, creates a much more interesting and flattering shot.
Don't Try too hard — just have fun
You know those awkward photos of people with HUGE fake grins, posing their body to look non-human, and looking super uncomfortable? Don't do that, guys.
The simplest advice: pretend the camera isn't there. Have fun, smile, and follow poses as naturally as you can. My most favorite shots usually happen when you aren't “ready” for the camera anyway. And that's how to act natural on camera.