Why You Shouldn't Worry About Looking Perfect in your Wedding Photos
This topic has been on my mind for a while now. The longer I am in the wedding industry, the more often I run into brides who are not excited about photography because they are insecure about some aspect of their looks. Hearing that breaks my heart, to think that some of the joy of their wedding day could be taken away by the internal fears of their photos coming back and their eyes immediately being drawn to their insecurities. I want to scream it from the heavens that you will look the most beautiful in your photos by showing the real you and not holding back a laugh for fear of a double chin showing, or not relaxing as you walk alongside your partner during couples portraits, worried about your stomach or arms looking larger.
But I know from experience that those insecurities are almost impossible to silence, especially on a day where all eyes are on you.
Here’s a little vulnerability moment about myself: in high school I was taken out of school and put into an outpatient program for anorexia. I will skip the grisly details, but I was so concerned about having what I perceived to be perfect body shape that I completely missed some of the joys most people experience at this stage of life - I skipped those late night adventures to Whataburger, didn’t go out to socialize in fear of encountering unknown caloric intakes in my food, etc. I basically became a hermit in pursuit of what I thought would make me happy, and, spoiler alert, no matter what measurements I hit it did not suddenly make me happy. I only found happiness when I began to let go of that perceived perfect and found love for my body at whatever size it was. And it is something I still very much struggle to remember on days where my mind slips into those negative thoughts from long ago.
Above are three photos I see as “unflattering” of myself but still love nonetheless for the emotions and moments they remind me of.
I know that reading a blog post and hearing someone else’s story will hardly make insecurities disappear overnight, but I hope to at least convey that our preoccupation with looking flawless in every image will only lead to stress. At the end of the day, life isn’t flawless, nobody is flawless, but that is what makes it all so beautiful. I guarantee that your partner looks at what you perceive to be a flaw and sees it as a part of what makes you perfect, and I am sure you see the same in them. We are always our harshest critics, and nobody else notices the things we see as a physical flaw.
Now yes, of course, as a photographer I am always trying to show the best side of my clients. I will never deliberately shoot from an angle that is just objectively unflattering on any body, but I will also not remove an image from the final gallery that may not be the most flattering if it tells part of the story of the day and shows the powerful, amazing emotions you have throughout it. Even if that image isn’t something you are able to appreciate now, it is something you will be able to look at 10, 20, 50 years down the line, and get the same feelings of joy and love that you felt on your wedding day.