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  • Joe

He Never Smiles!

Updated: Mar 16

groom laughing while hanging with his groomsmen

It almost never fails, we approach the end of a wedding consultation with new clients and we get a request that is something along the lines of: “Hey so I totally trust you guys to do what you do, I love your work, but I did have one small request if it’s not too much trouble. If you could somehow get even just one photo of him smiling I would be the happiest person ever! Seriously, he never smiles in any of our photos, and I don’t have any of him smiling.” We totally get it, the struggle is real! Being a a guy, I can relate. I’ve learned to smile it up for the camera, but I would almost always prefer to be on the other side of the lens. But, I’m also hear to tell you ladies, as much as you think it might be hopeless, keep the faith because even if your fella doesn’t smile often, and rarely when a camera is around, he still smiles!

bride and groom laughing during their elopement ceremony

I will say it’s a bit of an art to get a good smile from a groom sometimes. One wedding you can show up and it turns out the groom’s aunt used to be a professional photographer so he grew up smiling for the camera and knows how to turn it on when needed. They know that the faster they give us what we want, the faster he can go hang with his buddies and relax. Then there are some weddings where the thought of smiling for the camera makes the groom cringe! He may have grown up where pictures weren’t really a big deal or maybe culturally, the men in his family didn’t smile for photos. Whatever the situation, sometimes the day requires a more calculated approach. Obviously no two weddings are the same, and no two grooms will be the same so being flexible to varying that approach is the surest way to capture those smiles and joyful expressions throughout the day.

groom laughing as his best man helps him with his tie

Now, while you may be thinking he never smiles, in truth he does, and with having shot nearly 200 weddings in the last 3 years, I can tell you that there are a few surefire ways to capture those smiles and expressions throughout the day! We wanted to share this blog on some of the ways we go about the wedding day in order to make sure we capture these moments for you, so read on and enjoy all the smiles!

groom laughing while he adjusts his sleeve

First and foremost, hiring the right wedding photographer for you is one of the best ways to ensure you get your groom having fun, being himself, and smiling throughout the day. The moment you put him and his buddies in a small room to get dressed with an awkward stranger and a camera, you’ve reduced your chances a bit. Make sure you’ve connected with your wedding photographer before the big day and had a chance to at least Skype and if you’ve had an engagement session, even better. This will put your groom at ease, and generally allow him to better be himself.

groom smiling as he sits with his shotgun

Timing the moments. This is one of the things we’ve learned to be great at over the years. This one comes with experience, and being able to effectively multitask while blocking out unnecessary distractions. For instance, if the groomsmen are ragging the groom about some old stories from college, or the game is on while they are getting ready and everyone is talking smack, there’s a good chance, plenty of candid laughter and smiles will follow. Beyond looking and paying attention to the obvious, it’s listening for certain cues and conversations that will often take place.

groom and his buddies laughing during the reception

Space can have a lot to do with being able to capture those moments of your groom. At no point have I ever walked into a room, put the camera in his face and said “smile,” or “laugh”. Often times you’re trying to look like you’re doing something else from across the room with a zoom lens, so that when the timing is right, you do get those little moments. The goal for me is to be interactive at times to build rapport, but also at times for him to forget I’m there!

groom smiling as he gets dressed

Going with the flow! Some grooms want to relax before the ceremony, and some tend to take charge and work on things, especially if they are a little nervous. Some prefer a more laid back approach to the day, and others want to just be told what to do. In any case, keeping my finger on the pulse of the day and seeing where the groom is at mentally will always help me increase my odds of capturing a good smile or laugh.

groom's party portrait

You can’t be a afraid to talk and interact. I have been at some weddings where the groom and groomsmen are a very social group and you just walk in, introduce yourself and they make you feel like one of the fellas. If you’re working with a more introverted group, sometimes you have to get them talking and interacting. With either group, being yourself and being friendly is always the best approach!

groom smiling while sitting on some steps with his bride

We always try to stick around when the groom is having a few brews! Naturally, he’ll be a bit more relaxed and smiling before you know it!

groom and groomsmen laughing while drinking some beer

We talked about timing moments a few paragraphs ago, but also knowing which moments to look out for is key too. Sometimes it’s the first time the groom sees his bride, other times it’s an impromptu selfie with his family, but in any case, knowing where to be for which moments is key.

groom smiling as the bride walks down the aisle
groom smiling as he dances with his mom

Even though there are some grooms who will stand right in front of the camera and smile at simply the thought of their bride, there’s no doubt others can be a bit of a challenge. In the case of the groom whose a bit more challenging, it’s all about being strategic to capture many of those candid moments throughout the day. Sometimes you have to be non-invasive, sometimes you have to be witty with a comeback, and other times you just have to be patient.

groom laughing during a traditional portrait
groom taking a selfie with his dad and brother
traditional portrait of the groom smiling
bride smiling at the groom as he smiles at the camera
groom smiling at the camera

Whether it’s having 10 groomsmen behind you giving him a hard time while he tries to take a simple portrait and can’t help but laugh, or that look on his face as he dances the night away, by using the above strategies, we’ve been able to effectively capture many grooms smiling on their wedding day! So even if he won’t smile for your selfies in the car, or he never smiled in any of his school pictures you’ve seen at his parent’s house, no need to stress, at some point throughout the day, he will smile, and when he does, we’ll be there!

groom smiling as his groomsmen pick him up and laugh

Thanks as always for following along!


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