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Wedding Photo Secrets: How to Be a Picture-Perfect Bride


Fake a Wicked Wedding Body

No matter how much toning you decide to do for your big day, it's A-OK to get a little help looking great from the gal or guy behind the camera. Whoever ends up taking the shots — your shutterbug uncle, a local big-shot wedding professional — be sure you're calling them, says Leslie Grow, owner of Leslie Grow Images in New York City.

First, be choosy. "Have a consultation with a few photographers to see that you're on the same page," Grow says. Discuss things like posed shots versus candids, what the backdrops will be, and so forth — and yes, you can and should bring examples of work that you love and loathe. But your photographer's shooting style only matters so much: You're going to be followed around by this person all day, so you want to choose someone who puts you at ease...or else. "When you're not comfortable, you have a tendency to look tense and fake in the pictures," Grow says. Go with whoever makes you genuinely feel good.

Secondly, be honest. If you've got body issues (and who doesn't?), put 'em out there: "This schnoz tends to look gargantuan in photos. Anything you can do to counter that?" Alternately, you can ask your photographer to play up any features you want: Newly trim arms, a waist you've worked hard for, etc. Grow says true professionals will know how to light and pose you to both accentuate and conceal to your benefit.

Tips for Striking the Perfect Pose

Whatever the shot — you and your bridesmaids, you and the groom, you and your gaggle of new in-laws — consider these professional tips:

  • Do stand tall and straight. "Not slouching is the most important way to look your best at any angle," Grow says.
  • Don't face the camera straight on. This can make your hips, chest, and chin look larger than they really are. Stand so you have to twist at the waist slightly to look at the photographer — this will trim the look of your midsection and also accentuate your curves there. (Tucking in the hips will help with this too, Grow says. And it can help conceal a larger bottom.)
  • Do the "Miss America." To make legs look thinner, stand with one in front of the other, not sandwiched together. Keep your weight on the back leg. "If your dress is shorter, shift your weight on the ball of your foot to show off those hard-earned leg muscles," Grow says.
  • Don't press your arms to your body. Try to hold your arms gently away from your torso: You'll see natural, graceful lines of the body this way. And slightly flexing as you pose will help them look more toned, Grow says. "Holding the bouquet with both hands slightly away from the body — about 1 to 3 inches — will create a slimming illusion."
  • Do enjoy the moment. Relax! Only when you're at ease will you show true emotion: Elation! Surprise! Bewilderment ("Whose uncle is that?")! And isn't that the point of these pictures, anyway?

Originally published on, April 2009.