Personally, I am all about those big smiles on a wedding day: soft smiles, toothy smiles, cheeky grins or mid-laugh grins. Nothing beats the look on a groom's face when he first sees his bride, or the bride's grin when she sees her husband-to-be. Whenever the smiles happen, it's a beautiful moment. But by the time you’re taking family photos, your cheeks start to ache, the smile becomes strained and you’re just trying to make it through the remaining dozen friends and family waiting to hug and have a photo. So how do you keep those smiles natural and full through photo time?
Think happy thoughts. It sounds simple enough, right? Remembering fun, silly or good moments in your life will bring a natural smile to your face. You might remember a time when you laughed so hard your sides hurt, or something sweet your new spouse said recently. Maybe it’s a corny joke that always makes you giggle - like the one about two muffins sitting in an oven - or a silly video you watched last night when you couldn’t sleep from excitement. Have a funny moment you can go back to, remember and genuinely smile from for that long photo line.
You can also feel free to get goofy! If you’re a goofy, silly person (or not) bring that out of yourself! Try making motorboat or raspberry sounds with your lips; you can’t help but laugh at yourself when you do. Maybe do a silly dance or sing a song that brightens your mood. This will help you to relax in front of the camera.
Another way to relax is to not look directly at the camera while waiting for the photo to be taken. Look to the side or at the people you’re taking the photo with. Let your mind wander slightly or chat to those with you so that you feel comfortable rather than awkward. Awkward feelings lead to awkward photos, so take the pressure off by smiling right before the photo is actually taken.
To dodge those awkward too-toothy smiles, say “Honey!” instead of “Cheese!” The latter stretches your face unnaturally whereas something like “honey” is a more natural facial movement and softens the look. Plus, you can practise saying “Honey, I’m home!” for those cliche homecomings!
If you’re really unsure about photos and smiles, take some time to practise in a mirror prior to the big day. Throw on your favourite comedian on Youtube or another video that makes you laugh and get giggling. Note the way your face feels when you smile naturally and see which smile you like best. Some will be huge, some rueful and sarcastic; find your favourite and practise forming it without the comedic inspiration.
Ta-da! You’re photo-ready!
Until next time, keep making your special moments unforgettable x