Your Best Portraits Ever! Part Two

On our last post we talk about ways for you to Capture the Best Portraits Ever!  This post continues with more ideas for you to look your very best on the big day.

Couple 1


Don’t point your body directly at the camera. You always want to have one shoulder closer to the camera. Not too far, don’t give the photographer the cold shoulder. Putting your shoulders at about a 45 degree angle makes you look slimmer where you want to look slimmer and rounder where you want to look rounder.

Don’t point your nose directly at the camera either. You always want your head turned just slightly, then look at the camera with your eyes.

Keep your head just slightly tipped down. You don’t want to look down your nose at the camera unless you want to look stuck up and full of yourself. But don’t tuck in your chin either. Even the skinniest twig of a person can have a double chin with their chin tucked in enough.

Your smile – Teeth? Closed lips? No smile at all? It’s different for every person. The most important thing to know is that the “big wide stripe of teeth” smile that is pushed on us since childhood rarely looks good on ANYONE. It’s not a natural look at all.  Smiles are a partnership between the mouth and the eyes. Even with a nicely formed smile on the lips, if it doesn’t reach the eyes it looks insincere. Smiles vary based on the specific mood and situation. Sometimes the happiest smiles are the most subtle. An amused smile is small, lips together. A hearty belly laugh drops the jaw, opens the lips, and exposes the upper teeth with space beneath. A light chuckle may show the upper teeth, but only the tiniest sliver of them pressed lightly against the lower lips. UNDER NO CERCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOUR BOTTOM TEETH BE IN VIEW – EVER.

A subtle smile, or none at all, is far classier looking than a big fake looking smile. Frankly, smiles are vastly overused in portraiture. We don’t walk around with a smile pasted to our faces, even on our best day. It is very possible to NOT smile at the camera without looking grumpy. Again, it’s all about the relationship between your eyes and lips.

The best way to achieve a genuine smile is to be genuinely happy or amused. I know that standing for photos can be tedious, but try to think of a funny story or event during the day. Joke around a little bit. Make faces at one another.

The wedding day can be stressful, but while you’re doing photos don’t let anyone stress you out. No questions from family. No worries about who came and who didn’t. If you make photo time a stress free time, you’ll be more likely to have a genuinely happy expression.

Couple Together

Don’t copy Pinterest! This is the most controversial, even off-putting, piece of advice I give, but I stand by it. Your photos should express something about who YOU are and the story of YOUR day. You are unique and special, and your photos should reflect that. Remember, if you’ve seen it once, a hundred other brides have already copied it.

• Finally, remember that every photo should tell a story. You don’t want your wedding photos to look like a high school yearbook where everyone has stopped whatever they were doing to stare awkwardly at the camera. It’s also not a model shoot where you’ve been reduced to the role of a dress maker’s mannequin just to show off what you’re wearing.

Even staged photos should feel like a story. What is this photo saying about who you are or the events of the wedding day? Don’t settle for a photo that says “I was here. I wore this dress. This person showed up…” Instead, go deeper. Try to capture a mood or feeling.


Special Thanks to Patrick Pope of Patrick Pope Photography for these fabulous tips.  Patrick is available for your wedding and he can be reached at  Be sure to tell him you found him on

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