Has anyone ever told you “just be yourself?” How did it make you feel? Relaxed? Happy? Doomed? I’ve been working as a family and wedding photographer in Derby and the surrounding areas for a while now, and I used to make this mistake with couples and families time and time again.

If you’re like most people, doomed is probably how this approach makes you feel – especially if the person saying “relax!” was pointing a camera at you at the time. Is standing in a field in awkward clothing and shouting “RELAX!! BE YOURSELF!!” really going to work? Of course it bloody isn’t. And you’re not doomed, because, as I’ve worked out, there is another way. Another option to make yourselves feel relaxed (and therefore look amazing) about your wedding photography.

black and white close up image of a woman with a nose stud kissing a man on the nose - derby wedding photographer

I’m going to explore what I’ve learnt to do over time that truly relaxes couples who are having an engagement photoshoot or a couples session during their wedding day.

The “relax!” Approach is a Mistake

For years I’ve been telling people to “just be themselves” while I hover in front of them, snapping away. The photos were fine. But where they kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck fantastic? Possibly not. I’ve taken thousands of photographs, each one with the sole purpose of telling a story, invoking any kind of emotion. At best, the photos went some way to doing this.

But at worst, they lacked depth, warmth and intimacy.

As a family and wedding photographer these are the qualities I am trying to nail, but I’ve been (unintentionally) sabotaging myself along the way.

I know you’ve seen great photography. Stuff that makes you feel something, and makes you want that kind of wedding photography immediately. I know that it’s my job to get you there, and that is why I’m sharing this with you.

black and white photograph of a man smiling at a woman and brushing her hair from her shoulder in a tender loving way - derby wedding photographer

What to do instead

The truth is that to look like yourself – the best version of yourself, the you that you want to see – I do have to perform a little magic. It’s not lighting. It’s next to nothing to do with my camera, or the way I’ve learnt how to suck bits of your body in on Photoshop (something I really don’t like to do, by the way!).

You already know how to do this.

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Stand together, and take your time. Get comfortable. Find each other. Hold each other the way that only you know how. Look into each others’ eyes. Laugh at each other. Think about all the silly things you love about your partner. Find each others’ hands and never want to let go.


photograph of a man with his arm around a woman whose eyes are closed in a dark industrial building - derby wedding photographer

This is the magic. I just bring it out of you.

Do all of this and I promise you will look beautiful. Your wedding photography won’t look like anyone else’s – it’ll be uniquely yours, and it’ll evoke more emotion than you can shake a stick at.

photograph of a couple standing side by side holding hands and smiling at each other in front of a wall with peeling paint - derby wedding photographer

Are you on the hunt for a wedding photographer who does things a little differently? Who packs emotion and personality into your photos, and makes the day relaxing as well as enjoyable? Take a look at what I do for clients over on my wedding photography page, and feel free to get in touch to discuss your awesome day with me.