How to overcome awkwardness: 7 super helpful tips for camera-shy couples

May 29, 2020

Hands up if you’ve seen Chandler from Friends’s slightly awkward photo session? Hands up if you think that’s going to be you on your wedding day? OK hands down (in case 1% of you actually physically raised hands - I can’t leave you like that). So my point is, lots of you bring this up when we talk about your wedding photography. And I want to talk it through, because you absolutely don’t need to worry.

Some thoughts to Overcome Awkwardness

How to overcome awkwardness in front of the camera // First off, you’re not alone in thinking you’ll freeze or pull weird faces in front of the camera. It’s a whole new experience and with all the nerves and excitement on your wedding day, you might think you’d be more conscious of it than ever – but no.

Because we’re doing this differently, and we’re doing it better.

Wedding photography isn’t about posing for the camera. Your wedding photos will capture the atmosphere of your day: it’s not just the two of you staring into the lens – it’s about you both having such an amazing time with your awesome guests you’ll forget I’m even there with my camera. Meanwhile, I’ll be capturing all of those once-in-a-lifetime moments so you can remember them forever – including your happiest ever faces and how gorgeous you look when you’re on cloud 9!

Here are those 7 common sense tips to overcome awkwardness in your wedding photos

1. Choose the right wedding photographer

Select your photographer with two really clear criteria in mind: you’ll want someone whose portfolio you absolutely love, and whose company you actually enjoy. Check websites, brochures and online galleries, and follow a few photographers’ social channels. If you can picture yourselves in the images a photographer takes, if they make you smile and catch your attention in the right way, it’s a win. But then look at the comments too – how does your photographer sound? Human? Authentic? Entertaining in a way you relate to? Trust your instincts. Arrange a Skype chat or phone call, ask questions and see if the three of you click… and if you do, some of that awkwardness will fade because you’re bringing that lovely human with the cameras right into your comfort zone.

Overcome Awkwardness and just enjoy yourself colourful confetti shot

2. Understand photography styles – and make this a key part of your decision

There are sooo many wedding photography styles out there: from reportage and documentary wedding photography through to fine art, fashion and traditional styles. If you’re worried you’ll feel awkward having your photo taken on your wedding day, rule out the last 3. These are the guys who’ll set up shots and ask you to pose a certain way for the camera. You’re left with reportage and documentary photography styles – and yay: they’re the same thing. (One’s French, that is all. Not sure why.)

Documentary wedding photography tells the story of your wedding day in an authentic, natural way. It’s about capturing moments: great big beaming smiles, that absolute sense of joy, as well as the nervous excitement and emotion of your ceremony. When it comes to feeling awkward having your photo taken, documentary wedding photographers are absolutely perfect: you won’t be asked to look at the camera, because a documentary photographer will be looking for your natural radiant glow as you engage with the people you love – and that’s where the most amazing, beautiful and joyful images will come from.

If you’d like to read more about my approach then look here.

Documentary Wedding Photography approach helps overcome awkwardness bride and groom laughing during speeches at Oxleaze Barn

3. Have a pre-wedding or engagement shoot should help to overcome awkwardness

The pre-wedding photoshoot was (probably) invented with couples like you in mind. Yes, you’ll get some gorgeous photos in a natural environment, all relaxed and in your normal Saturday clothes. But the photoshoot is about getting used to the camera – and actually, about realising how much fun you can have, and how you really don’t need to be nervous about having your picture taken!

It’s common sense: the more time you spend having your photo taken, the more you’ll get used to it. It’s that comfort zone thing again: even while there’s a camera pointed at you, you’ll find you can relax and be natural and happy. And remember that you’ll be with your absolute fave human in the world, too: they bring out the best in you, right? It’ll show in your photos, I promise.

On your pre-wedding shoot, you’ll get to see how your photographer works. When you’re familiar with how they relate to you, how they talk and act, how close they’ll be to you and how much (or how little) they’ll instruct you, you’ll feel much less awkward when it comes to your wedding photography. 

You can read more about my pre wedding photoshoots here. 

Natural Engagement Shoot image of couple laughing

4. Don’t perform: just be yourself

When you’re doing your Chandler Bing thing, it’s because someone’s put you under pressure. Relax: that’s not going to happen. Even when I’m shooting couple portraits with just the two of you on your wedding day, I simply ask you to be yourselves – and smiling down the lens isn’t a requirement for that!

You’ll be looking at each other, not at the camera. You’ll be talking quietly, or bursting into giggles at what auntie Mavis just did to uncle Roy, or holding each other and basking in the whole ‘just married’ feeling. These are the moments I will capture: when you’re looking at your brand spanking new husband or wife, when you’re wearing your beautiful, bursting-with-love happy faces. You won’t NEED to do anything special for the camera – because your happiness will make you look fabulous, darrrrrrrlings!

Relaxed documentary shot during speeches

5. Forget the logistics and relax into your day

Leave the logistics to your wedding photographer. Group shots, rounding up stray uni mates and worrying about timings are NOT your job now! Have a proper chat about logistics before the day, so you can leave organisational stuff to others. And trust your wedding photographer to take care of things while you relax and enjoy every just-married moment!

6. Plan, communicate and trust

Keeping your photographer in the loop means you can be confident of your plans on the day. I complete a detailed plan of the day with all of my couples before the wedding. Then when the day comes, I don’t need to run through any timings or details with you: we’re on the same page and you can focus on other things (fun, wine, the ring on your finger, all those happy people!) Being relaxed generally will help us get those lovely, natural images of you on your wedding day.

Lesbian couple just married at ceremony in Lisbon above swimming pool

7. Remember how gorgeous you are!

You’re about to get married to a person who sees amazing, beautiful things in you. They sure as hell don’t look at you and see Chandler Bing. And as if that wasn’t enough, to have a beautiful smile and eyes full of love on your wedding day…

You’ve got the amazing dress, gorgeous (maybe even professional) hair and make up, and fabulous accessories to make you shine.

Or you’re wearing the sharpest suit you’ve ever worn, rocking a little spring of leaves and stuff in your buttonhole and you’ve spent the morning being primped and pampered by your groomsmen.

What I’m getting at here is, with all that preparation you are a STUNNER! You are your best ever you. You’ve prepared for this for more than a year and there’s no getting away from the truth that you are going to turn all the heads on your wedding day!

So forget Chandler: be you. Be your best ever, gloriously happy, beaming, MARRIED version of you, and your wedding photographs will capture you beautifully. 

Bride in foyer of Townhall Hotel in London

If you like the sound of me; my work doesn’t make you want to vomit and you like the sound of my approach then give me a shout! 


Award Winning London Wedding Photographer. Photographing weddings all over London, UK and Europe for laid back & fun loving couples.


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