How to Look Great in Your Wedding Photographs

The dress was beautiful. You got through the ceremony and reception without a hitch. By all appearances, your wedding was perfect — and yet when your pictures come back, you look awful. What can you do to make sure that your photos are as beautiful as your memories?

Some things to consider:

Never scrimp on your photographer. Nobody’s going to remember if your bouquets had daisies or rare, exotic orchids. But years from now, your great-grand children will be paging through your wedding album. They’re not just souvenirs, they’re heirlooms. Spend on them.

Avoid complicated hairstyles and veils. You’ll be walking around, too busy talking to guests to check the mirror. You don’t want your veil hanging to the side, or your bangs plastered to your face. Keep it simple and elegant. If you want a dramatic veil for your walk down the aisle, look for a style that allows you to detach part of it, leaving you with something less cumbersome at the reception.

Buy or make a small clutch bag or pouch that matches your gown. It should carry blotting paper, pressed powder, lipstick and blush. Ask your maid of honor to keep it handy for you.

Wear waterproof mascara. You’ll cry a lot — it’s guaranteed. Black mascara runs and leaves unflattering raccoon eyes.

Don’t wear heavy powder eyeshadow. Again, you’ll cry. You’ll also sweat (er, “glow”) from walking around in heavy makeup and an even heavier gown, with hundreds of hug-happy guests milling around you. Powder smears and cakes, and ends up under your eyes.

Don’t wear sheer lipstick. You’ll eat it off. Or if you do wear it, choose a matte or semi-matte base and apply sheer lipstick as a top coat. Be sure to blot well, or it’ll end up around your mouth … or on your teeth.

Don’t wear heavy shimmery makeup, unless applied by a pro. It doesn’t photograph well under less than perfect lighting conditions. If you do, apply only on the eyes. Better yet, be safe and skip the sparkles.

Bridal makeup should be soft and romantic, not harsh. Natural pinks are most flattering, and really make you look like a “blushing bride.” Avoid hard-edged contouring and dramatic browns, unless blended well and kept close to the eyeline. Even lipsticks should stick to the pinks and brownish pinks. Bright reds look too harsh worn against a white dress.

You’ll need good foundation that lasts but doesn’t cake. The trick is to apply moisturizer first and let it “set.” This primes your skin. Apply a matte or cream foundation, and then a concealer. Dust on a powder foundation with a brush.

Take good photographs right after the ceremony, when everyone’s makeup is still intact. Get in your solo shots, couple shots, and group photos with your entourage, friends, family members.

Ask for a few black and white photographs. They always have a soft, romantic feel.

If you’ll be taking outdoor photos, light is most flattering in the morning and at dusk. Avoid any outdoor shots from 11am to 2pm; everyone will squint.