You’re in the wedding party! How to look amazing in wedding photos!

by | Engagements and Weddings, Tips and How-to Info

Whether you love being in front of the camera or you’d rather run the other way, as a member of the wedding party you have accepted the responsibility for looking as awesome as possible in the wedding photos.

One of the (many) things we love most about being wedding photographers in Savannah, GA, is the wonderful diversity of brides and grooms (and bridesmaids and groomsmen) that we work with, from life-long Savannah locals to visitors from all over the world. Regardless of their origin, members of the wedding party are often anxious about wanting to look their best in the wedding photos…after all, the bride and groom will be looking at these photos for the rest of their lives.

Here then are a few tips (including some insider secrets) to help everyone look their very best in the wedding photos.

Section 1: Pre-wedding Grooming Preparations

Tip 1: “Pearlier” pearly whites: A visit to your dental professional for a whitening treatment before the wedding will yield the best results. If that’s not possible, many off-the-shelf teeth whitening treatments work pretty well too. Whichever method you use, a little attention to your smile will help you feel more inclined to show off your pearly whites for the camera.

Tip 2: Orange is not a skin tone: Depending on lighting and other factors, your apparently natural, sun-kissed spray tan may appear abnormally orange in photographs. If you do plan to get a spray on tan for the wedding, consider:

  • have your spray tan applied two to four days before the wedding, to achieve a more natural color balance on the skin.
  • airbrushing is generally a better choice than a spray booth.
  • choosing a subtle tone may minimize the “orange effect” in photographs.

Tip 3: Makeup magic: There are very few makeup rules that apply to everyone, but we offer the following advice for everyone to consider when planning their wedding day makeup:

  • A liquid foundation will photograph better than a powder foundation. Applying your foundation with a sponge is (much) better than using your fingers. A synthetic fiber brush is even better.
  • Use a primer under your foundation to help it last longer and photograph better.
  • If you use a translucent HD face powder, be sure to blend it very well or it will show up white under flash photography, and you’ll look like you’ve got talcum powder all over your face.
  • Guys, you do not need makeup. Even if undetectable in real life it will look unnatural in the wedding photos. If you’re worried about blemishes or skin issues, a good photographer will take care of it when retouching the images.

Tip 4: A “handy” tip: This one’s for the guys and the girls. You may not expect your hands to play a starring role in too many photos, but you never know what creative magic the photographer might come up with on the day. Treat yourself to a manicure the day before the wedding, and whether your hands feature prominently in the photos or not, you’ll feel more confident and it be evident in your photos.

Section 2: Pre-wedding Practice

Movie stars and other red-carpet walkers were not all born with a photogenic gene (there’s sometimes a big difference between being good looking and looking good in photographs). Just as you learn and practice the skills you use for your livelihood, so do the A-listers. Here then are a few of the paparazzi-worthy techniques to practice at home:

Tip 5: Red carpet posture: Practice this red carpet technique in front of a mirror before the big day and you’ll look your best for all the standing shots:

  • Turn your hips 45 degrees to the camera and stand with your weight on your back foot.
  • Ladies: Now, place your front foot in line with your back foot and the camera, point the toes of your front foot towards the camera and bend the front knee just a fraction.
  • Guys: Rotate your front foot slightly towards the camera, but not pointing directly to the camera. Turn your upper torso so your chest is a bit more square-on to the camera.
  • If you have a free hand, feel free to rest it on your hip or in your hip pocket.
  • That’s it. This standing position has the effect of narrowing the hips and waist, and for guys, making the chest look wider.

Advanced tip: Things (including body parts) that are closer to the camera will often look bigger relative to everything else. To make your hips look even slimmer, put your weight is on your back foot (as described above) and then “pop your booty” back just a little (don’t go overboard or you’ll look awkward). This moves your hips and butt an inch or two further from the camera, without moving your upper torso. It might seem a tiny thing, and might feel a little odd at first, but you just lost at least 5 pounds in the wedding photos.

Advanced tip: As you walk, stand, sit, etc. throughout the wedding day, imagine that you’re being gently lifted upwards by the head. This will have the effect of straightening the spine, pulling everything into vertical alignment and preventing slouching. The result: Ladies will look more elegant and guys will have greater presence…not just in the wedding photos, but throughout the day.

Tip 6: Will smile for food: A natural, easy smile can be difficult for many to achieve on cue throughout the course of a wedding day. With a couple tricks and a little practice, you’ll be ready to shine.

  • Find a photograph of you smiling that you like. If you don’t have a photograph of you, find a photograph of a smiling celebrity that you like.
  • Stick the photograph on your mirror.
  • Take a few minutes everyday to practice replicating that smile. This will help you fine-tune your smile and get a feel for the muscles you need to call into action.

Insider tip: Touch the tip of your tongue gently to point where your two front teeth meet the roof of your mouth. This helps relax your face and guides your mouth into a subtle, natural, smiling shape.

Insider tip: Practice smiling with your eyes, not just your mouth. In a natural, friendly smile, the muscles at the corners of your mouth and the corners of your eyes are engaged, which should cause the corners of the eyes to crinkle a little. The rest of your face should be nice and relaxed.

Advanced tip: Sometimes a more subtle look may be appropriate for the wedding photos, rather than a big smile. At these times, follow the movie stars’ lead. You’ll rarely see them caught on the red carpet caught with a blank expression or stuck in a deer-in-the-headlights stare. For movie-star cool, practice lifting your lower eyelids just a tiny fraction (without squinting the upper eyelids) while just turning up the corners of the mouth. Cool. Engaged. Inquisitive. Mysterious. This is a go-to money-maker for any occasion.

Vintage wedding image posted by Starland Portrait and Wedding Photography in Savannah Europe circa 1950s


Section 3: On the wedding day

Okay. You’ve taken care of the pre-wedding preparations and grooming, and practiced your posture and your smile. On the big day you’ll bring it all together, with just these few finishing touches to ensure photographic awesomeness.

Tip 7: Have a laugh: Even if you’re rocking your red carpet pose and smile, there will be moments when you need to break from the script. It’s a happy occasion. Have fun. Enjoy the photography process. Don’t be afraid to make a joke with your friends and have a good laugh along the way. Not only does it break any tension and help everyone have a good time, but spontaneous moments of laughter make for great wedding photos.

Tip 8: Remember, smile for the important bits: As a member of the wedding party, there are times throughout the day when you know the camera will be pointed at you. Not coincidently, these are also some of the most important moments the couple will want captured by the wedding photographer. The processional, the ceremony, the recessional, formal portraits, etc. These will be important photographs for the couple, so try to avoid letting nerves get the better of you…enjoy yourself and let your smile shine through.

Tip 9: Avoiding a double chin and define your jawline: Even the leanest guys and girls can be photographed with a double chin if caught by the camera with their chin tucked into their neck. To create a defined jawline in your photos and avoid a double chin, first bring your forehead ever so slightly towards the camera (it should feel like your extending your neck a little), and then drop your chin just a fraction. Some might advise instead that you to raise your chin a little, but this takes definition from your jawline and can make you look aloof or disengaged.

Tip 10: Alcohol and photos: It’s common sense, but it is worth a quick mention. You’re going to be the subject of photos all day, so do be mindful of consuming too much alcohol the night before the wedding and throughout the wedding day…at least until the reception party is well underway. At best alcohol will dehydrate you and you’ll look drained and tired. At worst…well, let’s just leave it there.

Tip 11: Slimming the arms (for the ladies): Ladies, there are many paths to slimmer arms and a slimmer waist, but we doubt any are as easily achieved as this next tip. When being photographed, avoid pressing your arms against your body. That’s it! Keeping your arms against your sides will cause them to flatten against your body, making them look wider. Instead, create a slight separation between your upper arms and your torso to slim your arms and define your waist in the wedding photos.

Tip 12: The magical bouquet (another one for the ladies): For most ladies, it feels most natural and comfortable to hold their bouquet up at waist height (or higher). This has the effect of hiding your waist, concealing your dress and widening your arms, shoulders and torso. Instead, force your hands a little lower, to hold your bouquet at belly-button height. This will elongate your arms, reveal more shape to your figure (including your waist, the smallest part of your torso), and show off your dress.


Looking your best in wedding photos is not difficult at all when you break it down into a few steps. A few grooming considerations before the wedding. A little practice on your pose and your smile. Then fine-tune with a few extra tips on the day. Follow these simple tips and you’ll look terrific in the wedding photos and you’ll have a great time as a member of the wedding party.

Of course, these tips will apply beyond the wedding. Follow them now and they’ll stick with you forever, and you’ll look fabulous in all your photos in the future.

Related: Click here for tips on how to hire a wedding photographer.

Interested in working with Starland Portrait and Wedding Photography for your engagement, elopement or wedding photography in Savannah, GA, or throughout Georgia and South Carolina? Give us a call at the studio on (912) 220-1971 or use the Contact Form to send us a message.

Have you be chosen to be in a wedding party? What are your biggest concerns about wedding day photographs? What great advice have you received to help you through wedding photo obligations? Go ahead and share it here so that others can benefit from your experience.

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Starland Portrait and Wedding Photography - photographers in Savannah, GA, Katerina and Damien.
Hi! We're Katerina and Damien, the photographers behind Starland Portrait & Wedding Photography. To read a little more about us, click here.

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