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haring 06-07-2013 10:59 PM

How do you make bride and groom smile?
How do you make your bride and groom smile? How do you make them feel relaxed so they look natural on your photos? What is the secret?

Crapshoot 06-08-2013 04:32 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
Whatever you do don't ask them to smile! :)
You will get a few smiles then strange distorted smile like looks.

If I want an honest expression I ask the couple a pointed and directed question. For instance when was the first time you knew Johnny/Janey had a sense of humor? Where was your first kiss? Ask the groom when he knew he would marry the bride. Prepare to shoot a variety of emotions and facial expressions.
That sort of thing works very well mixed with asking one of them to close their eyes and relax their face as you pose them. After I grab that one I ask the bride o put away her whip or something silly.

You have to know the crowd and gauge your humor to your audience of course!

Steven G Webb 06-09-2013 04:40 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
Expression getting is an art unto itself there's no single method or answer. Expressions are based on mood, so if you are shooting the formals and the bride and groom are fatigued and now bored with the whole wedding day proposition they may not have that natural beaming sign of happiness. While you can't do anything to make the bride's aching feet feel better or the groom's wishing this whole mess could be over with so he can consummate those vows you can inject a momentary punctuation and they only have to look happy for the duration of the exposure. A variety of expressions is good, you asked specifically about coaxing a smile.

Find out fast what their smile button is. Some people can give you a nice pleasant smile simply on request, if that's all it takes, that's all you need to use. I usually ask people to repeat things, it's become a pretty standard way for people to know you're about to take a picture and it goes back to the mechanical method of "say cheese". I don't have them say words that mechanically turn the face is to a teeth bearing smile. I do have them say something appropriate to the situation. "Look right here and say, 'please hurry' (and I say those two words as if I'm anxious myself". It's a way to let the subject know that I have empathy, I understand and I'm working with them. I use other single words associated with happiness, but never anything that could be considered off-color.

Some people (a tiny minority so do use it as a cop-out) do not, will not, cannot smile and if they try the result is horrible. My mom is a prime example. She has emotional issues and suffers from depression; she's never happy. At times when it's socially acceptable to smile, like if someone gives her a gift, the expression is forced and unnatural. If you come across the person incapable or or dead set against giving you a smile, back off! You'll do nothing but annoy them and exacerbate an already big issue. Go instead with the most pleasant look. It helps to identify with these people, by saying we don't need a big ol toothy grin in these; or, Relax gang, I'm not going to make you smile. Once you remove the threat, you could get a smile. Play the ally not the adversary.

deluco 06-10-2013 01:15 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
Start out with general conversation while you are shooting and don't be shy about flattering them ("you're naturals at this...have you done this before?"). Make that you are communicating with them during the shoot. You will get natural-looking expressions by doing this. I recommend that you do NOT start out with a goal of getting them to smile. You will get some smiles naturally during the session if you just concentrate on conversation. You don't have to be proficient in story-telling or joke-telling...just be willing to converse with them.

I believe that natural expressions start long before the photography begins. If you have a positive relationship with the bride and groom (ie, chemistry), you will get good expressions because they will feel comfortable and trust you. Even if you are a contract photographer and just met the bride and groom that day (God forbid :']}) you can help the bride and groom to feel comfortable.

I don't recommend "off-color" comments unless you know the bride and groom VERY well...and even then you would have to know that they will accept that as funny...believe me, I learned this from experience...ugh !!

If you feel ok about this, you can ask them to make a face (mug for the camera) and the expressions just after the mugging should be priceless. Most clients want to smile naturally and will appreciate your efforts to make them feel comfortable.

Ed Shapiro 06-10-2013 02:17 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
I don’t wanna brag but I have NEVER had problems getting smiles out of a wedding couple or anyone else for that matter. All they need to do is look at my face and they laugh out loud and I just shoot them on the way down from an outrageous degree of laughter to a soft smile. I do have a few good one-liners that work when appropriate and I also have a complete stand up act for emergency cases. When I photograph babies and young kids- I just act like an idiot- it comes natural to me and I always get good laughs and smiles.

The main thing really: Approach people with kindness, caring, professionalism and enthusiasm and they will respond well. Your attitude will reflect from your subjects and show in their photographs. Be very gentle with folks on their wedding day- even the nicest people can be easily rattled on a day where a bit of nervousness and high emotion can take over. It is important for you to pre-plan all the timing and scheduling issues of the day- lateness causes stress and nothing is more counterproductive in capturing good expressions than rushing through things that really need a required amount of time.

Remember also that not every image has to have big grins- I love the more intimate and romantic expressions. During the ceremony and reception you must develop a 6th sense of being able to anticipate actions and expressions so tat you are able to grab those once-in-a-lifetime expressions and actions in a split second. Expressions are very fleeting and even in a formal portrait, you really need to be on your toes. Ponder this; when you see a perfect expression on your DSLR’s viewfinder screen, there is a 1/7 of a second human/mechanical reflex lag until the image lands on the sensor. To speed up this process requires that you practice.

Sometimes, in the olden days, it was easier for me to capture perfect expressions and not getting “blinkers” using a big bulky 4x5 press camera. We did rangefinder or scale focusing and framed the image in a wire sports-finder. I could see the expression coming and I could tell when the flash went off if I had a good shot, a blink or a bad shot tight off the bat. With reflex viewing, I oftentimes shoot with both eyes open to monitor the results when there is not time for “chimping”!

I hope this helps!


shroti 06-13-2013 03:48 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
Ed Shapiro....well explained. I shd thnk for this on my behalf.

M. Worthington 06-13-2013 03:53 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?

Originally Posted by haring (Post 1891366)
How do you make your bride and groom smile?

Tell them to imagine the honeymoon night?

wildmaven 06-15-2013 06:51 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
One of the ones I photographed, I said, "pretend you like her," and both of them cracked up.

StudioZanetti 09-26-2017 07:09 AM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
They feel comfortable when you interact with them, the tone should be friendly. Do the things what they find funny during the photo shoot. If you get success in this area then you can get the best pictures to capture.

Golem 09-27-2017 07:42 PM

Re: How do you make bride and groom smile?
1 Attachment(s)


Originally Posted by studiozanetti (Post 2369067)

they feel comfortable when you
interact with them, the tone should
be friendly. Do the things what they
find funny during the photo shoot.

If you get success in this area then
you can get the best pictures to

Attachment 263867


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