Dear Wedding Photographer, Please Can You Make Me Beautiful?

This really hit me after hearing from photographer after photographer, about how brides and grooms frequently ask them to significantly alter their appearance in their wedding day photo’s, subconsciously or otherwise to conform to a standard of beauty, this ideal of perfection that keeps being thrust at us in society. 

A common request (from brides in particular), is asking for some clever photoshopping to make them look ‘thinner’. Requests to reduce their body shape and size. Requests for photo ‘tummy tucks’,  to requests to fill in receding hair lines. Removing bags from underneath the eyes, removal of wrinkles, altering teeth, removal of patchy beards (why not just shave?!) and even requests to be made to look younger! I find it all astounding. Is it vanity or low self esteem or both?!

It was this article I read earlier this year that really resonated with me.  It highlighted our questionable opinions of ourselves and the unwritten role photographers end up being confronted with; miracle workers.

There’s no doubt about it, our imperfections feel like they become magnified on our wedding day and the implications of this on our self-esteem and how we feel about our wedding photos builds momentum.

I asked Nu Bride Ambassador John Nassari to join me in unpicking this little psychological swimming pool of self-loathing.

We all have our insecurities, that’s normal. But I want to shout from the rooftops that the one day where we absolutely should feel comfortable as who we are and in our skin is on our wedding day. Memories of your wedding day will fade, but you should absolutely want to remember it how it was, how it unfolded, not how it and you were manipulated to look and edited in photoshop.

Over to John!

How can I negotiate with a brides memory? (Nu Bride: I don’t know John, we’re hard work aren’t we).

Images shape memory so bad wedding photography can effect the way a wedding is remembered and great photos can elevate the day even more. Photography captures experiences and reality as it unfolds, of course some of this can be re shaped and retouched, but my style is more natural and documentary, But what happens if this natural approach captures a story a couple don’t want to remember. What happens if the photographic image is in conflict with their own self image. 


A week before a wedding, I once had a situation when a bride asked me if I had a lens that could make her look thinner, as her weight reduction target wasn’t reached. 

Photoshop can airbrush and even slim subjects – its a lot of work – but this is a long way from my natural, documentary approach. 

What helps a lot in these situations is not photoshop or lens reducing equipment but trust. 

Trust that the photographer you have booked can see you best angle and use the right light.

John Nassari Photography | www.nubride.com_1898

For example, if working with a bride / groom who is self conscious about looking overweight, we can take a shot from high up, to look down, adding length, which will make the person look elongated.

If you are concerned or self-conscious about your weight, please try not to worry, getting to know your photographer will help build confidence and get you comfortable infront of a camera. In addition, a good photographer will work confidently, inclusively and without a second thought, with all shapes and sizes.

We could take a tasteful getting ready shot, capturing close-up shots that are authentic.  For example, we could capture a close up shot of an eye-lash as the bride is having make up applied. We can use reflections, shadows and light to capture moments by creating flattering silhouettes.


Our job is to capture you in your best light. To complement and make people look their best and bring out their assets.

It is our job to give couples wedding pictures that are amazing, that they will love and not want photoshopped. It is our job to make every situation, environment, concern or challenge we are presented with, work.

You’ll be surprised, it is not just brides who can be conscious of their appearance in the wedding photographs, but grooms too. In fact, in my experience grooms want more photoshopping than brides!

Can you remove all my spots, how about the razor cuts too?

John-Nassari-Nu-Bride-www.nubride.com_0537.jpgThere is so much pressure on couples to have the perfect day and the perfect look and pre-plan what they want to be captured.

As a result, there can be an expectation from some couples to photograph their wedding in the way they want it to be remembered, rather than the actual way it unfolds.

Brides in particular can have strong images in their mind of what the and day should look like. To create this ‘perfect’ vision of a wedding. The reality and how their wedding day actually unfolds can often be very different.


For example, couples are often encouraged to put together a list of ‘must have shots’ for their photographers. Especially in relation to group shots. Try to keep ‘must have’ shots to a minimum. If I am spending your day shooting off of a list – my head is in the paper reading what is next and not focusing on your day as it unfolds and I may have missed some pretty great moments that ‘aren’t on your ‘list’.  So whilst moodboards and websites, such as Pinterest are a great way for igniting inspiration, they should be used in moderation and not be used to replicate poses and shots of someone else’s wedding.


As a side note, this leads me onto picking your photographer in the first place. If you are using sites like Pinterest for initial inspiration for photography, always pick based on photographers individual style, not based on asking them to replicate a look you have seen on Pinterest. Choose a photographer because you love their style and trust that they will capture you and your wedding truthfully and at your very best.

Thank you John! 

It’s safe to say, Photographers are NOT cosmetic surgeons. They should not be re-creating a new body shape for you by editing images in Photoshop. Trust that an experienced photographer will absolutely capture you at your best.

Quality photographers are masters at capturing life, they know how to use light to flatter body shapes, to create modesty, to capture  real moments. You and your wedding day should be captured authentically, as it unfolds, not pre-planned and set up. Not completely via a list of shots you’ve seen on Pinterest, not via days or several weeks of editing and re-creating a version of reality that is not real through photoshopping. Your wedding day should be a capture of you, as you are, in all your glory, imperfections and all. Right there in that moment, the way your family, friends and your gorgeous newly beloved 100% absolutely adore you. 

Please be kinder to yourself and also give our Dear wedding photographers a break with the unrealistic photoshopping requests. 

John Nassari

As photographer Anne Almasy eloquently says;

I cannot make you beautiful, you already are! 

Would love your thoughts on any pressures you feel to have the perfect looking wedding!

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6 Responses to “Dear Wedding Photographer, Please Can You Make Me Beautiful?”

  1. Alex
    November 16, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Interesting article Nova… have to say that although I wish I had not eaten as much cake as I did in the run up to the day (it WAS nice cake though! ) I wouldn’t have dreamt of asking to look slimmer. I did however ask the photographer to photoshop a couple of close up images to remove the awful coldsore I had. I remember it vividly… I don’t want to be reminded of it when I look at my living room wall! Perhaps some things are ok to be tweaked?! X

    • Nu Bride
      November 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      Thank you for sharing.
      Absolutely Alex – but i think there is a difference between a tweak and a photoshop manipulation. It does fascinate me. What would happen in the days when photoshop didn’t exist? We would like it or lump it! x PS. Yey for cake!

  2. Rob Dodsworth Photography
    November 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    Absolutely this >>> “You and your wedding day should be captured authentically, as it unfolds, not pre-planned and set up. ” Amen!

    • Nu Bride
      November 24, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

      Thanks so much for commenting Rob – couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you!

  3. Meghan Fay
    November 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I think this comes from the idea of “photo shopping” we see in magazines all the time. The logic goes – “If models get photo shopped on shoots every day – why couldn’t I get a little photo shopped on the one most important day of my life? I just want to look my absolute best.” As a planner, I’ve definitely heard this request more than once… and as a former bride myself… it was the logic I started out with!

    • Nu Bride
      December 6, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      Indeed. I understand it completely Meghan – I guess the argument is – Is it really your true best if you’re photoshopped? 🙂

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