I stood there stiffly, an inner monologue going round and round in my head:
“Am I slouching?”
“Do I look stiff and uncomfortable?”
“Should I smile?…”
“Where should I look?”
“Am I doing this right?”
“What if I’m the first bride that they can’t make nice pictures of?”
“This feels so awkward”
But of course, I should have known that I’d feel a bit uncomfortable. I’d never done this before.
We hired our photographers because their portfolio was fully of beautiful, natural looking portraits. And our photographers were great. But we’d never been photographed before and until now I can say that I hate almost every photograph of me that exists. So during our wedding day, I put so much pressure on myself. I wanted photos I was proud of. I wanted to look like beautiful and feminine, two very alien concepts to me.
There is so much stress and emotion flying around on a wedding day, and the time you take out for your portraits should be your time to relax and enjoy what’s just happened.
But when you don’t know what to expect, feelings of awkwardsness and anxiety start to rear their ugly heads. Everyone wants to look amazing in their wedding photos. After all, these are the pictures that will grace the walls of your home, your family’s homes and social media for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps you’ve heard people make sarcastic comments about engagement shoots. I know some media outlets have. They mock the couples need to “flaunt their engagement”. They dub it as the latest fad for loved up couples wanting to rub their relationships in other peoples faces.
But what they don’t realise is that these couples are not doing this shoot out of vanity. They are smart.
They are doing it as a “trial run” for their wedding day. They are meeting their photographer before the day so that they can get to know them and see how they work. Have you ever tried stading in front of a stranger with a camera on one of the most important days of your life and being told to look in to someones eyes and kiss them? Um, AWKWARD!
But that is what an engagement shoot is for. It’s gets the awkwardness out of the way. It’s to see how your photographer works, if you feel comfortable around them, and to see that even though you may have felt slightly stiff during the shoot, the resulting images will put your mind at ease that you can look awesome in photographs.
And on your wedding day when it’s time for portraits, you’ll be feeling excited because you know that the result will be amazing!
Ignore the critics and go ahead an arrange an engagement shoot. Be proud to show off your love and get the wedding photographs that you’ve always dreamed of.