You ARE good looking enough for your wedding photos – even if you don’t feel like it right now.
Dear future brides and grooms, raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You’re scrolling through Instagram trying to get some inspiration for your wedding outfit. Your body, bless it’s sweet love handles, has never really been the standard body type. And now you’re faced with loads of choices regarding your, to be honest, rather rude physique. You think: “Am I a pear? Or am I an apple? When I’m naked I might even be more of a spoon, but with clothes on, my body takes on the consistency of green slime, either too long, too blobby, too skinny or just an unspecified glob of sadness”
You start panicking and scroll faster through your timeline. You see all these happy, smiling couples, bodies perfectly proportioned, with excellent white teeth (and friends, you know life is just a treat for people with white teeth).
You whisper: “fuck”. Deep down in your stomach, you feel that inky, black ball of insecurity growing bigger.
It’s all going to be okay
I know you might not believe me right now, but I promise you it will. See friends, for years and years, decades, centuries even, we’ve been fed a certain type of wedding. Archaic traditions, same-sex restrictions and body stereotypes have been forced upon us, without us ever questioning “WHY THE HECK do we succumb to this misery?”. Luckily it’s 2019 and we’ve made huge steps towards breaking the tradition bubble, especially when it comes to the old school idea of “I MUST LOSE 30KG’S FOR MY WEDDING OTHERWISE MY PARTNER WILL NOT SAY YES”.
Lols. As a wedding photographer, I can say with a huge amount of certainty that no one will care about your weight/zits/growths, because you will look A-FUCKING-MAZING on your wedding day. And do you know why? You will be happy. You will be committing your life to your best friend in the company of all your other friends and family, languidly basking in the gloriousness of their love. Thank you, next.
Don’t disappear from your history
If you’re still not convinced by my excellent writing and gift of persuasion, let’s look at it from a different angle. Photography is still a modern concept, seeing as one of the first actual wedding photos was taken of Queen Victoria and her Albert in 1840. In the grand scheme of things, photography actually hasn’t been around for that long a time. It seems that we need a few more years of evolution to make normies like you and me truly comfortable in front of the camera.
But here’s the thing, photography is probably THE greatest tool to document your life. To show who you really are, to make YOUR history! Without good photos, how would you know that your nose (the one you might think is way too big for your face) is actually the nose of your great grandfather who fought in a great war, freed slaves or invented Oreos? What would’ve happened if your great grandfather had refused to go to picture day?
Actual words of your actual great-grandfather: “I say, Martha, this is quite the predicament. I seem to have burst a button on my newly acquired flowery vest and am henceforth unsuitable to attend my portrait session, for fear of looking like a ninny.”
This is you! Only about a hundred and fifty years in the past…but this is still you! How will your children’s children know where they got their beautiful curly hair from, or those full lips, or (heaven forbid!) slightly smaller/bigger than average thighs?
An interesting fact
(You may use this in conversation to sound smart.) We are so used to seeing ourselves in the mirror and having this set idea of who we are and what we look like, it’s only logical to feel totally confronted (and maybe a little offended) when we see a photo of ourselves taken by another person. That’s why selfies are so popular. We can manipulate the way the world sees us, by taking the photo exactly the way we want to and (at least try) to project the way we see ourselves onto the world.
Your wedding photos will be better than selfies
Selfies are great. I take them all the time with my cats. But you have to admit that a carefully posed selfie while saying your wedding vows can seem…a bit insane? Let’s explore this a bit more: can you take a carefully posed selfie while hugging your grandmother? Will you have your phone ready when you’re sharing an ecstatic post-ceremony congratulatory moment with your friends? Or how about those gorgeous sunset photos with your partner? Your faces are both squished into the frame, but your eyes are deep dark pits of gloom.
Is this the way you want to remember your day? With a bunch of awkwardly posed, poorly lit, bad quality photos?
As a professional photographer (Lawd, here we go) I can vouch for the following: Your dear, sweet wedding photographer knows what they’re doing. They will not give you photos that are anything other than pure joyful bliss or deep undying love. When I shoot weddings, I always search for the best angle and the best way to photograph my clients. When I select the photos, I’m very conscious of only including photos that I would want to see of myself (ie. no closed eyes, no awkward face, and limiting the chins to two – because even though chins are beautiful, you don’t want too many stealing the spotlight).
You will end up LOVING your wedding photos because unlike selfies, they will show the fun, unique, amazing person you really are.
It’s okay to not like parts of yourself, but try to love the rest
It’s hard to look past our imperfections and actually see something good. We would rather talk about our faults than actually admit that we might be beautiful, or sexy, or just plain hot as fuuuuuuck.
Accepting what you have. Accepting that this is you, in your truest form, is a step towards loving yourself in photos. I think it also makes a difference how you approach having your photo taken. I like to think of photos as my legacy. Something I’ll leave behind for my children’s children to look at and think: “dang, great-grandma sure did some weird stuff, but she seemed fun as hell.”
Let your wedding photos become a conduit to show who you are. You deserve to love your photos and yourself too. Leave a legacy worthy of yourself.
Written by Nadine van der Wielen. Photographer, cat-lover and top-notch human being.