The Unposing Guide, Part III: What To Do With Your Face

07 | 06 | 2009
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{as always, click any image to enlarge}

This is maybe the trickiest part, both of unposing and of posing.  For one thing, you can’t mind your face all the time.  But you can mind your face in intervals, and we’re going to offer you some tips for what to do with your face while you’re paying attention to it.  (So this post probably falls closer on the spectrum to posing advice than unposing).

I. Let Your Face Be Relaxed.

How often do I say “be relaxed”? But how often do we remember our facial muscles?!  There is a thing called smile fatigue.  Your face actually starts to hurt. And when that happens, you’ll start smiling these odd, frozen smiles.  So, don’t smile so much!  You don’t have to smile at the camera all the time anyway.  And you don’t have to smile super hard, either.  There are actually lots of kinds of smiles—everybody has them—and they vary from a slight turn of the mouth or a soft closed-mouth smile to a big gleaming toothy cheese smile.  Most of us are pretty self-aware by the time we’re of marrying age, but I don’t think it would hurt to practice your various smiles in the mirror to see what sorts of smiles you like on you.

When you can, relax your face between posed shots.  And stick to the really essential formal group photograph combinations.  The less time you are standing there, the better—for lots of reasons and not only because your face will tire.

II. Let Your Mind Be Present.

If your mind is elsewhere, it will show in the photographs.  I don’t just mean during formal group photos.  I mean all day long.  If you are thinking about how a bridesmaid showed up with the wrong shoes or a groomsman arrived an hour late; if you are annoyed your cake turned out to rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa or that your dress seems to pook out at the neckline; if you are devastated that somebody stepped on your train or are wondering if your caterer is having the napkins folded properly, let it go. Let it go. If all that goes wrong at once or if you are obsessed with wondering if it will or won’t, you need to re-focus.  Remember why you’re there.  I am speaking from experience: my husband and I had one of those weddings where all the superficial stuff went totally and completely wrong.  I probably won’t ever tell you about it.   But … and it was hard … I never—not for a second—forgot what we were doing.  And that helped, just enough. (Well, truthfully, I may have had a few lapses …) But my point is that if you have a blank stare or a worried look, it’ll show in photographs.

III. Look On Camera For Formal Group Shots.

I don’t care if you don’t look on-camera even once, even for the tiniest split second, for the entire rest of the day.  I’ll be happy.  But look on-camera for the group photos.  Sometimes there’s a lot going on in the background, behind your photographer (forty-five family members milling about with drinks, say, or kids climbing on chairs, event staff moving tables and chairs, groomsmen doing cartwheels, other folks snapping photographs, etc).  But—and trust me on this—you’ll feel pretty sheepish if you aren’t looking on-camera.  If there is one thing I say at almost every wedding, it is this!

IV.  Don’t Talk Too Much During Your Portraits.

If there is one thing I wish I could say at every wedding, but often don’t get the chance, it is to not talk too much during your intimate portraits.  Particularly if you have a very relaxed photographer who doesn’t do a lot of posing and who mostly wants you and your beloved to interact, this can be a challenge.  You and your beloved have lots to say to each other.  And that’s a good thing!  I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk at all during your intimate portraits, but try not to talk very much.  A wide-open talking mouth is rarely flattering.

V. If You Tend to Blink …

Tell your photographer ahead of time.  I come from a whole family of blinkers, and although I have little advice for the blinkers themselves, I can say that photographers tend to develop their own ways of shooting around the blinking.  A heads-up is always an advantage.

* Click {here} and {here} to read about other aspects of unposing. (Or just scroll down).

photo credit: Gia Canali

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3 Notes on “The Unposing Guide, Part III: What To Do With Your Face

  1. Gia Post author

    Thanks so much!! We really want people to get the most out of their weddings and their photographs!!

  2. Pingback: Collaborating With Your Photographer, 106: Getting Great Group Photos (Without Losing Your Mind!) « Pursuing the Picture Perfect Wedding :: a blog about weddings and wedding photography by Gia Canali

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