The Big Question: How can I look fab in photos?

Apart from a fortunate few, most women sadly shriek when they see pictures of themselves. It’s either “AH, look at the size of my arms”, “I hate my nose – that’s definitely not my good side”, or simply “Delete that now, or I will throw your camera in the sea” [one of my personal favourites].

While it doesn’t usually matter, the last thing you want to do is look back at your wedding snaps and howl with discontent. Thankfully, well seasoned and talented wedding photographers will be able to put you at ease and bring out your best side, so that you are bound to look gorgeous in photos from your big day.

But is there anything you can do to help things along the way?

I caught up with wedding photographer extraordinaire Julia Ford, co-founder of Modern Photographic and art director of Wedding Magazine, to pick her expert brains on how we can all look fabulous in photos.

CB: What is the best way to relax in front of the camera?
JF: You have to pick a photographer you feel comfortable with; you will spend a lot of time with them. Beforehand make sure you have at least had a recce, but in an ideal world an engagement shoot would be a great way to get used to the camera. On the day for informal shots try and think of them as a friend and don’t worry about the camera, they aren’t expecting you to pose for every shot. If you’ve sent a few hours with them in the morning you will have hopefully got used to them by the time the formal shots start.

CB: I never know what to do with my arms/legs/etc. Is there a way to stand that will help me to look more confident and flatter my figure?
JF: Definitely. I always say everyone has a different way they prefer themselves – a side or a look. You can try different stances at an engagement shoot or look at old photos you love and look at how you are holding yourself.

If in doubt stand at a slight angle with your shoulder angled towards the camera, then turn your head and lower your chin slightly. A GOOD photographer art directs. If they say they just do reportage and they won’t do any art direction, then be cautious. While you don’t want to spend hours being posed, a good photographer can spot this in a matter of seconds.

CB: I’m short, he’s tall. Does it matter?
JF: No of course not!

CB: Is there a better way to position your head?
JF: Try not to tilt down or up too much both are unflattering. Personally I like a chin slightly downwards.

CB: Smile – teeth or no teeth?
JF: Again this is pretty personal. I love teeth showing in smiles, it’s genuine and the smile is so big, but if you don’t like photos of yourself that way, it’s up to you. A photo with your teeth showing can be very natural, I love laughing shots to.

CB: Does the sort of make-up you wear affect your wedding pictures? Will more make-up show up better? Or is it best to tone it down?
JF: Be yourself. Don’t do something you don’t feel comfortable in, if you never wear makeup than too much will make you feel odd, but a little is good. I would suggest just a more polished and a tiny bit extra to what you normally do. Sunshine and flash can bleach out makeup and make you look like you’re wearing less.


About the expert

JuliaIan 467Clueless Bride is incredibly grateful to get the advice of Julia, who really is a bridal photography expert. Not only is she the art director at Wedding Magazine – so knows the industry and the latest trends like the back of her hand, and is able to offer brides informed and up-to-date advice – but is the co-founder of Modern Photographic, which she set up with her husband Ian in 2004. As a celebrity photographer, Ian himself has a pretty exciting CV to date, having shot the likes of Hollywood power-couple Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt, and home-grown TV talent Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins.

Julia says: “We’re both obsessed with photography. We are an award winning pair – Ian won Nikon’s Celebrity Photographer of the Year, and one of my wedding shots was named top three wedding photographs of the year in 2009.”

Modern Photographic are flexible and happy to shoot the wedding the way you want – whether reportage, formal or a mix of both. They offer a range of packages to suit different budgets. You can choose to have both Julia and Ian there on the day to capture every aspect of your wedding, or opt for just few hours of coverage. Packages include an online web gallery, which allows guests to print their own pictures, and a high res CD.

Check out some examples of the duos work in the picture gallery below, or go to for more information. You can also contact Julia on or call 07747 114424.

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IMG_7947ds issy copy samar (17)

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A U-turn somewhere between Lefkada and Kew Bridge…

I am grateful that organising a wedding is nothing like driving down a one-way street – you can make a U-turn and head the other way at any point. Yes, I’m heading for one destination (to get married) but thankfully there are a number of routes to get there.

What does this waffle mean?

Well, a while ago now – pre-knee dislocation (which explains my silence on the blog and twitter-sphere) – I made a massive U-turn in my wedding planning. I had been certain I wanted to get married in Greece, and had even met with a lovely planner, and was trying to decide which island would suit a wedding abroad. And then, I changed my mind. It is not that the plan ceased to appeal to me, it’s just that the thought of having to organise two events, one here and one overseas, began to concern me.

Would it be double the effort or double the fun? I have no clue, I’m the Clueless Bride. I was worried that this about-face would freak out Mr CB, so I secretly resumed my research of UK venues. I wanted to make sure that when I confronted him about my neurotic change of mind, I would be able to offer him a Plan B.

In short – Mr CB did freak out initially, but thankfully Plan B has worked out to be better than anything we originally imagined… and now we have a venue and caterer booked for next July. Hooray! This has lifted a massive strain between us, and we are finally enjoying the prospect of the big day.

The venue is the gorgeous little Cambridge Cottage in Kew Gardens. The venue can fit up to 80 people during the day and 120 in the evening. It has a very well sized private garden, where guests can have drinks and relax in the sun, which opens onto Kew Gardens itself.

There were a number of reasons why I went for this venue –

  • It is beautiful and elegant but in a casual, understated way.
  • It is fabulously light and airy, which will hopefully mean great pictures.
  • They work with a large selection of caterers – so there is a great choice of wedding breakfast possibilities (more of which later).
  • The aforementioned private garden.
  • There is no minimum number requirement, which I like.
  • Great transport links.
  • Kew will provide us with a buggy, to be driven by the photographer, so that we can have our wedding photos taken around the grounds and make the most of the stunning park!
  • There are extras, which we have decided not to take up as they will push us over our budget, however they would be a lovely touch if your purse allows it. The first is the possibility to have a reception in one of Kew’s glass houses; the second is a tour of the grounds for all the guests on the Kew Explorer (which I wasn’t blown away by, as I’d prefer the guests to be talking to each other and enjoying the wedding).

    The venue works with seven catering companies that you have to choose from – including Indian specialists. Exactly what I was looking for! There were two options – Ragamama and Laguna. I had heard great things about the latter, so they are now all confirmed.

    Here are some photos of Cambridge Cottage:

    Cambridge Cottage outside1 Cambridge Cottage outside2

    Cambridge Cottage outside3 DSCN5729


    We are also required to book our entertainment from two companies that Kew work with – Prelude and Sternberg Clarke – but aren’t too sure which one to choose. Florists and photographers do not have to be on Kew’s approved list, although they do recommend a few… There are so many things to think of now, but as the venue is such a massive part of the planning, at least I have something to work around.

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