Being a bride is a little bit like being famous for a day: There will be hair and makeup, a beautiful dress, and paparazzi (i.e., the wedding photographer) that will follow you everywhere you go. That last part—being photographed all night long—can be daunting. But getting gorgeous wedding pictures that stand the test of time (unlike Dad’s ’70s flares or Mom’s puffy sleeves) can be one less thing to worry about. And according to makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, who prepped both Kate Moss and Amal Clooney for their walks down the aisle, and New York City–based photographer Hannah Thomson, there are plenty of smart tricks for making sure you can look your absolute best in each and every Instagram-worthy shot.
When It Comes to Makeup, Keep It Simple
“You don’t want to look too different on your wedding day,” says Tilbury, who adds that the best bridal makeup is about being “the most beautiful version of yourself.” In other words, if you generally go light with your foundation and lipstick, this is probably not the day to experiment with substantial contouring or a bold red lip. You want to look at your photos later on and recognize yourself, so she advises brides to stick with neutral shades designed to enhance their natural features. Of course, you don’t have to play it too safe. A wedding is a perfect time to try out a “soft feline flick” on your lids for an ultra-feminine look that “instantly defines and lifts your eyes so you look bright-eyed and beautiful.” Tilbury also recommends whipping your skin into shape pre-wedding with a combination of masks and moisturizers. (Note: Her own Goddess Clay Mask, followed by a layer of her Magic Cream, is a powerful skin ritual that has its own insider cult following.) “In order to create the perfect picture, you need the perfect canvas,” she explains.
Tune In to the Fine Details
Once your makeup is complete, set it with a finely milled powder, which will not only seal things in place, but also prevent a shiny glare in the wedding photos. To stay camera-ready throughout the night, tote a well-sharpened lip liner around with you—“it will be your best friend!”—to make sure your mouth appears plump on film. If you’re wearing your hair up, “make sure you put foundation on the ears and neck,” says Tilbury. This is so that your face doesn’t appear to be a different color than the rest of your body. It might not be noticeable in lowlight, but once the photographer turns on that flash, those little details really matter.
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Speaking of picture-perfect images, it’s essential that you get to know your photographer before the big day. If they are a stranger, you’ll end up with stiff shots. “It’s very important that the bride and groom are comfortable,” says Thomson, who likes to meet with the couple beforehand to learn as much about them as possible. (If yours is a destination wedding, a FaceTime chat also works.) The ubiquitous getting-ready shots exist for a reason: Those moments are really personal and emotional, says Thomson—letting your photographer in on them will set the tone for the rest of the photos. “It leads to better pictures later on,” she says. “Trust me!”
Master a Foolproof Pose
When it comes time for the posed shots, straighten yourself out toward the camera—it’s a widely held myth that leaning one shoulder toward the lens is more flattering. “I see it a lot,” Thomson says. “I spend a lot of time pushing shoulders back.” Instead, square them and keep your feet in line with each other. Unless you’re a pro, angling your body ultimately throws off the line of your dress and can make your body look slightly wonky. Before the big night, a little practice won’t hurt, either. Get into the habit of good posture (no one wants to be memorialized as a hunchback walking down the aisle) and maybe ask your betrothed to snap some portraits to put you at ease in front of the lens. But remember: The best images of the night are usually candid—the ones where you are looking authentically like you. When the bride and groom are ignoring her (really!), says Thomson, she gets the best shots. That means that pretending your photographer isn’t there and just enjoying the moment may be the best strategy. “Celebrities are extremely skilled at looking relaxed,” says Thomson, citing Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid as examples. “They look effortless just exiting buildings.” So channel your inner It girl—even if it’s only for one night.