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A collage of an infographic (on the left) stating a quote from Katelyn James and on the right, her thumbnail

Oftentimes, the bride and groom are initially nervous around you and in front of the camera. If your clients are stiff and uncomfortable, your images may not turn out as romantic or fun as you or your couple would want them to be. The more relaxed your couple is, the easier it will be for you to pose them and capture their genuine emotions and bond. One of the best ways to lighten the mood and help your couple relax is to get your bride and groom laughing. Yes, making someone laugh may not be the easiest thing to do, but there are some things you can do to encourage couples to enjoy themselves during the shoot and make the most of their wedding day (and your services). And in this blog, we bring you three of them.

Tips To Make Your Couple Laugh

1. Get Comfortable With Your Couples

“How do I get my clients to LAUGH?” This is a great question and one that many wedding photographers have. Humor doesn’t come naturally to every wedding photographer, but that’s okay. If you have just started out as a photographer, you might be extremely nervous while photographing your clients, and perhaps you feel a little uncomfortable while trying to be “funny” and “engaging” with them. That’s okay too. There are several variants that come into play when it comes to photographers photographing GENUINE laughs. Pictures of couples laughing are great, but there is no magic formula or an “easy button” for this, and it’s also important to remember that every couple is different. One technique might not work for another.

Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @infiniteloopphoto 

However, as a wedding photographer, you are probably already a big fan of people and love being around them. And if you also dabble in portrait photography, you most likely like being surrounded by people too. It is kind of a non-negotiable in your line of work. But if you don’t like people, then perhaps you need to purchase an epic zoom lens and start photographing sports and landscapes. (Not that sports or landscape photographers aren’t personable… but they don’t HAVE to be in order to do their job well).

But sometimes, it’s easy to forget that it’s not just couples who can feel awkward or nervous during a photo shoot; sometimes you might also experience some discomfort around clients. But it’s important to remember that your nervousness could also heighten your couple’s discomfort. So if you are just beginning your journey as a wedding photographer, and you don’t feel comfortable around clients, you might want to put some effort into refining your social skills, especially when it comes to making them feel relaxed in front of the camera and you. 

2. Embrace The Awkward 

Infographic stating it is going to get awkward sometimes, so might as well address and embrace it

Again, loving your clients and establishing a relationship with them is a crucial part of your job! If you don’t care about them or make an effort to get to know them better, they might not open up to you and that might further increase their discomfort in front of the camera. How do you take genuine, warm, powerful, or inviting images of a couple when they don’t feel that way in front of you? You have to be able to engage with your clients. While you are responsible for how your clients pose and look in your photos, sometimes, you are also in charge of how your couples feel emotionally. It might seem like a big responsibility, but sometimes, it is up to you to make them comfortable and natural in front of the camera. Be down to earth, be honest, make them feel like superstars! Try making your posing cues funny. Something along the lines of, “Ok Amy, you’re going to think I’m crazy but I want you to laugh across Penn’s shoulder at that SUV over there. You’re laughing at absolutely nothing and so you should feel a bit awkward, but just embrace it! You’ve got this! Now Penn, you’re laughing at Amy because she’s laughing at an SUV… here we go!”

Embrace the awkward - even if it means giving them cues to laugh at a tree (or an SUV). Remember that it’s not just about how stunning the photos are going to look, it’s also about the experience your clients have with you. When they finally get to see that photo you took of them laughing at a tree, they are going to remember that exact moment and laugh all over again. And that’s the magic you create when you make your couples laugh during the photo shoot. 

3. Shoot Quick

If you really want to capture those real smiles and that moment your couple laughs out loud, shoot quickly. Try not to make your couple hold that laughing pose for over 2-3 seconds. You can’t force laughs and you can’t “hold” laughs for more than a second or two - that’s not going to work for your photographs or your couples. If you don’t have a stand-up comedian side, the jokes are probably going to fall flat too. Just encourage your bride and groom to laugh at the situation at hand. If they are open to doing something silly in a public place (and don’t mind laughing at themselves), they are probably going to end up laughing really hard anyway, and you are going to get some pretty epic photos. Shoot, shoot, shoot and you end up with genuine laughs and gorgeous images! Just try not to make your bride and groom hold the pose for too long. It might just make your couple feel awkward - in a way that might not make them laugh anymore. 

A portrait of a couple where the girl has climbed up on the guy’s back

Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

Quick Tips For Making Your Couples Laugh

Here are some quick tips that you can keep in mind next time you want to make your couples laugh. 

  • Your couples have to trust you first. When they trust you, they’ll relax and that way, genuine laughter comes easier!
  • Don’t be corny. Corny jokes and trying too hard won’t get you anywhere with most couples. Be yourself! If you aren’t a funny person naturally, joke about the situation at hand - just address the elephant in the room and joke about how awkward it’s going to get when you take 3 steps towards your couple. It’s not every day that they “nuzzle” on the side of the road in a field of WEEDS! :)
Infographic stating whatever you do, try not to be corny
  • Laughing together is always more fun. So, laugh WITH them. Be engaged and be present while you are shooting. 
  • It is ok to fake a laugh to get them started. You can definitely tell your clients to “fake” laugh. That usually gives way to the real one. If they don’t know how to do that, perhaps you could show them how! 
  • Don’t make your clients hold a pose too long. This kills the fun and gives them a window to slip into awkwardness. That’s not fun for either party.

Make The Experience Count

Besides allowing you to take stunning photographs, making your clients laugh during the shoot can create memorable moments they can cherish forever. Whether it’s their engagement shoot or their wedding day, laughing can always help them get more comfortable in front of the camera and sometimes even forget that they are being photographed. That’s when you will be able to really capture genuine emotions. A lot of couples get awkward as soon as they are in front of a camera, but as long as you are comfortable with them, address the awkwardness, and in the moment with them, they are going to appreciate you for making an effort to lighten up the mood and ensuring that having their photos taken isn’t as daunting as they would thought. So next time you say “say cheese”, add a few other tricks in there to make that smile turn into a laugh.

A portrait of a couple through the window of a café as they laugh sharing ice creams

Further Read: How To Pose Couples With Height Differences In Wedding Photos

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow as a wedding photographer. And to help you dedicate more time to your clients, we reduce your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.


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