Today I’m thrilled to bring you the brilliant advice of Liz Teich – a top stylist in New York City. She also happens to be the elegant-fashionista-bride from this Newlywed Session – which is one of my favorite photo shoots. Ever.
Liz’s job is to make sure people look good for the camera. Her impressive client list includes Macys, Maybelline and Boston Weddings Magazine. And because she’s a recent bride (and fashion blogger), Liz knows what its like to be in front of the camera too. It’s no surprise that she was a natural at our photo shoot!
I was impressed by how she moved and posed. Not that I expect any of my clients to know these things – after all it is the photographers job to direct the shoot and make beautiful photographs. But sometimes brides ask me for advice beforehand. So I asked Liz for some simple modeling tips for brides and grooms-to-be. Whether you’re getting ready for an engagement session or your wedding portraits, this advice will give you that extra edge in front of the camera. Take it away Liz….
I’m a fashion stylist with a background in fashion as well as art direction. I’ve had many years of experience on photo shoots, so I know what looks good in front of a camera (which is the goal of my job). I’m always behind the scenes, but last summer when I got married, I was the one in front of the camera. My knowledge from my career helped me greatly in figuring out what works – and does not work – in front of the lens.
What have you learned? What tips do you have for brides who are preparing for photos shoots?
1. Be Natural
The biggest thing is that your typical person – someone who isn’t that familiar with modeling – freezes up when they get in front of the camera. My husband Josh for example, he’s not familiar with photo shoots. We actually got photographed a few years ago by Travel and Leisure Magazine at a café, and he just looked at me like what do I do??
He didn’t really know how to act in front of a camera, and it looked unnatural until I told him to pretend we’re in a real moment, without the camera. I think the biggest thing to remember is to not be pose-y and just be natural in front of a camera. I think that’s when the best pictures come.
2. Make each other laugh
Being as that I’m not a model, I always have a tough time when I try to smile. I think if you can smile in a natural way, it looks so much better. Even if you make the other person laugh – you’ll both just get into these moments, and that’s where good pictures come from. When Josh would make a joke, or I would make a joke, that would make us more natural instead of just “Ok-here-I-am-awkwardly-smiling”.
It shines through in a picture that you’re happy and excited. Same thing when you’re nervous. So find a way to enjoy the moment.
Sometimes we just made the acknowledgement that its kind of awkward taking pictures in our wedding clothes while a bunch of people are staring at us. Just laugh at the moment and enjoy it!
3. Move and play
A lot of people stand stiff and straight and don’t move. I think if you play around with props, and create movement in your dress, that’s really great. You become more alive in the photos. When I work with models, they don’t really know what to do unless they have a prop, or another person to interact with or something to do, usually with the wardrobe. Otherwise they can look just as awkward as we can.
4. Find someone who puts you at ease
I’ve noticed that the photographer can make all the difference. If you don’t have a photographer who makes you feel comfortable, that could make or break the photo shoot. I’ve been on a lot of fashion shoots where the photographer just clicks the camera, doesn’t say anything, and the model doesn’t quite know what to do with themselves. It really helps to have a photographer who not only makes you feel comfortable, but who also gives really good direction and actively guides you.
5. Listen to your mother
Stand up straight! When you stand up straight, it automatically makes you look thinner and more put together. Nobody looks good slouching. Literally if there’s one thing you should remember, it is to stand up straight.
The other thing is that a lot of brides I know will wear flats or flip-flops under their dress because they don’t think anyone else will see it. But I think wearing a little heel automatically lifts your whole body and gives you better posture. On my photo shoots, when I style models, even if we crop out the feet in the photo — I still put heels on the model. It doesn’t matter how tall they are. If I give them a little heel, it just automatically makes their posture better.
Thank you Liz! These are tips are simple and powerful. Put them into practice for some gorgeous wedding photographs!
To see more pictures from my Newlywed photo shoot with Liz and Josh, please click here.
For style tips from Liz, please visit her blog Dear Andi // Diary of a Fashion Stylist.