Portrait Of A Lady (And Her Boy.)


Long gone are the days of over posed W-day photography and stuffy “group” line-ups. Any photographer worth their salt knows it’s all about capturing the most important moments in all of their natural and effortless glory, the joy, the laughter the love….*sigh*

But there’s one little niggling doubt in the back of my Blog Queen brain that I need to um…address with you all.

And that’s your portrait shots, i.e. just you, your boy, some time out from the day’s fun-filled delights and the opportunity for your photographer to produce something really “Wow”.

You see, last year I received some feedback that brides and grooms are making the decision to not have any portraits done of them specifically together at all….and this makes me sad.


Now then, we are the last people to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do and I know that there are folks out there who shudder at the thought of having their pictures taken at all, let alone purposefully pouting at a camera lens. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to pout at all, you can just take five to have a chat, meander around your venue, kiss under a tree or sit down and have a rest for five minutes before the evening’s frivolities ensue. Just as long as you are both together in a situation where your photographer can focus purely on YOU…..I promise there will be a gorgeous image (or 15) that you will want to treasure forever.

If you have never liked a picture of yourself in your life or there is a particular angle/side/type of pose that you feel prettiest then I’d recommend a pre-shoot or an “engagement” shoot as they are so often called, offered by most wedding photographers and more often than not as part of your overall package.

That way you literally get to practise – and your chosen professional super snapper will give you plenty of their expert advice on what works/make you feel at ease in front of the lens in preparation for the REAL DEAL.

(For examples you can check out our “Love Stories” section via the Plan and Prep menu tab.)

And if the only way you ever feel confident in front of the camera is when you are genuinely having a laugh then why not do exactly that? introduce some props, sexy glasses, silly signs, a selection of giant balloons – whatever you think will take the emphasis of the fact you are the centre of attention.


The portrait session at my own wedding was one of the most memorable (and my favourite) part of the day. And I promise I’m not getting all liar-liar-panties-on-fire to try and reiterate this post – it was genuinely brilliant.

Mr O’Shea and I got some time to wander around sipping champagne and enjoying each others company whilst our photographer took the opportunity to capture us right in that moment and some time later our guests gradually um…followed us around – pulling faces, shouting direction…..making us kill ourselves laughing.

Those are some of my most favourite images of all.


All images to illustrate this post are by Navyblur, see the rest of this parisian fashion feast HERE.

Of course you may be extremely lucky and just happen to be stood in the right place at the right time without anything in the way and your photographer can get the “money” shot (yes I know – I sound like ruddy Simon Cowell) but…..then you really would be leaving it to chance.

So please please lovelies, even if it’s just for ten minutes, take some time out – and make sure the professional with the camera is there with you.

Big Portrait Love

Charlotte xxx

P.S The pretty bride in the images (Cecile)’s blog is With A Love Like That

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

44 thoughts on “Portrait Of A Lady (And Her Boy.)

  1. <3 I couldn't agree more… the wedding pics and the couple session are very different, the first one capture the atmosphere, the emotions, the smiles, and the couple session is the best way to have very nice shot of your husband and you..some pic you'll keep forever..like ours! thanks for using our photos for your post!

  2. It hadn’t crossed my mind to go off on our own for portrait shots until it was suggested by our photographer. She said that’s usually her favourite part of the day as a photographer and those shots are without exception the ones her couples are most thrilled with. Like you, she talked about the value of that time taken out, just the two of you, and how important it was to capture it to remember forever. I’ve taken the idea and run with it, to the point of recce-ing a specific location for the portraits and visiting it on the day a year in advance to see what the light and conditions were like. Now let’s just hope the bluebells play ball!

  3. Yeeeeeeeees! This is such a perfect blog post we’ll be more than happy to pass on to all our couples, it really is one of the most important parts of a wedding to take time out, away from the distractions and just enjoy the fact you are now married (and have two excited photographers snapping you’re beautiful faces in the process!) We have so many brides and grooms who literally air punch when they realise how relaxing it is to step outside for 15minutes and take a breather, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy convincing them it’s a good idea in the first place!
    When we got married, we loved when our photographer said he had an awesome shot and to follow him, if we hadn’t given him the time to do his creative thing, we wouldn’t have half the exciting and beautiful shots we do now! He did about 3 separate mini-shoots throughout the day (each 10minutes or so) and it didn’t take away from our time with our amazing friends and family at all.
    Thank you for using the beautiful Kevin & Cecile’s couple shots throughout this post – we LOVE them and we love you RMW! hip hip hooray!

  4. Oooo I concur! Two parts of the day I am really looking forward to are Chris driving us to the reception venue, just the two of us, and our couple portrait shots, again just the two of us (antisocial much!)

    I also can’t wait to see the results. I REALLY hate having my photo taken, like I’ll look in the mirror and think ‘Yeah that’ll do, I look alright today’ and then someone shoves a camera in my face and I wonder what they hell happened to the person in the mirror. I completely trust that Mr Barber will work his magic though and make me look semi-human. We’re definitely having an engagement shoot to practice too, in fact I’m also pretty excited about this!

  5. Great post, who wouldn’t want gorgeous pictures like these! While these shots can be done quickly in 10/15 minute slots, its great when a couple can give us more time than that, then we can really get creative with locations at the venue or even make use of a second location to given some contrast.

  6. @Christine and Xander – Pleasure 🙂 and 3 lots of 10 minutes sounds perfect – a great way to break up the day AND come away with some beautiful pictures.

    @Tabitha – I’m the same, it’s a bit like “Oh ok, make-up is fine” only to have a picture taken and either a) look like i’ve not got any on b) have blake flakes of mascara running down my face….

    I’m sure Mr Barber will capture your lovely self perfectly!

    Charlotte x

  7. The photography part of our wedding scares me the most! I am a poser. Not in the I-know-my-best-side-and-will-work-that-god-damned-camera kind of way, more in a pouty duck face kind of way. Think MySpace profile pic circa 2002 and you’re close!

    Our photographers got in touch yesterday to arrange our pre-wedding/engagement shoot and I haven’t emailed them back yet (sorry C & G if you’re reading!) because even the thought of it makes me cringe. I’ll do it though. And hopefully will feel much better for it come the big day!

  8. Thank you for convincing me to make sure that we have portrait shots during our wedding. It was something I was alreading leaning towards but you’ve definitely helped make the decision easier. I particular love the idea of more than one mini-shoot

  9. When Charlotte told me she was writing this post, I literally screamed yes in her face. She was more than a little bit scared but the point she’s so eloquently made in this post is so true.

    Of all of my wedding photos, the portrait shots of my boy and me are absolutely my favourites. And this is hard because I have a genius photographer who is able to take the ‘everyday’ and make it into something beautiful; picking a favourite image therefore was always going to be excruciatingly hard work. Anyway I digress.

    Why are they my favourites you might ask? Because they are of me and my boy. We were handed (in the form of the portrait shots) the perfect opportunity to take 10 minutes to breathe and to really ‘be’ with one another without any distractions and this shines through. Our portrait shots were so important to us that we actually increased our photography budget to include some of them to be shot on film – it was one of the best decisions we made.

    Opting for several mini-sessions is a brilliant idea and one we were hoping to do too – except the light was against us and it was too dark by the time the speeches were over – you summer brides have all the luck!

    So for all of you budding brides to be…please please make the time for some shots just the two of you. You’ll be so thrilled with the results.

    We promise xxx

  10. Ah amazing images from navy blur…as always! We did exactly that during our wedding & headed to a little county Donegal beach after our ceremony and it was just us & the photographer on the beach!
    We just wandered along chatting and laughing at how we were ACTUALLY married, and actually forgot the photographer was there! The time just us 2 together was really lovely and the photos were fantastic! Would definately recommend it!

  11. totes agree. portraits shouldn’t be a posed, awkward thing! 99% of my couples hate having their photo taken + I love that. it’s honest. I hate it too. so, instead, we hang out for a bit, chatting + generally taking a few minutes to be yourselves on your wedding day.

    for me, as a photographer, the portraits are more than just cool pictures. they’re that “5 minutes we just got to hang out + take in everything on an otherwise fast paced, mental day”. the photos taken are just a bad ass bi product of that time spent enjoying each others company.

    it’s the day you got married. not just a wedding day/big fancy event. there’s a big difference.

  12. I couldn’t agree more! Loved our time away to have these shots and it’s produced one of my favourite images that adjourn our wall, the boy kissing me on the cheek so meaningfully and me beaming at the camera with giant balloon in hand, looking like the cat that got the cream! 🙂
    And don’t worry if you miss out on your engagement shoot like we did. We’re couldn’t have been more awkward but our amazing photographer, Albert, got us to play some gamed and we ended up with some beauts (even if I do say so myself).
    If you can, try and embrace it, you’ll never get that moment back x

  13. @Jessica – I didn’t notice any spelling mistakes pet?! ah don’t worry – happens to the best of us 😉

    And thanks for your comments – we really appreciate the advice from brides to the yet-to-be-marrieds

    Charlotte xxx

  14. Ooooo what a lovely post!
    @Tabitha & @Charlotte – the exact same thing ALWAYS happens to me!! haha

    While I’m not a huge fan of having my photo taken I am getting a lot better at not worrying so much! And I am really looking forward to our couples shots!
    And yes we are definitely having an e-shoot, which I am currently trying to organise (and may be a little more excited about than the wedding!! oops!!!)
    Seeing pictures like this just remind you how amazing couples portraits can be and how much fun you can have, I’ll definitely be digging out my red heart-shaped sunglasses!! 😉

  15. I’m definitely in the ‘couple portraits are the best part of the day’ camp 🙂 When we got married, the time we spent in the evening, taking pictures in a field was one of the most precious times for me. And oh boy do I love those pictures. Stealing away from the crowds means it just felt like us, with this ‘we just got married’ glow which has got to help! Engagement shoot are great because you feel so much more relaxed on the day. Add to that the ridiculous happiness of what just happened and the wedding day portrait session is magic. I sometimes have a hard time persuading people that a portrait session is well worth scheduling, but I’ve never met a couple who’ve regretted it! A most excellent post! x

  16. Gosh, yes yes yes, do have couple’s’ portrait shots done as part of your wedding. I couldn’t care less about formal group shots, frankly, but as a photographer, I know from experience how my clients are always delighted that they spent those twenty minutes or so with their photographer, capturing some alone time. You want to show off that dress to perfection, right? And have some quiet moments with your other half? Plus, the images from a portrait session during a wedding are so different, yet so complementary, to the reportage work carried out during the rest of the time. Even if you’re not keen on your mug being shot (so to speak), by that point you’ll have loosened up in front of camera, so don’t worry about it. Plus, any photographer worth their salt takes their lead from you to ensure that those shots LOOK like you (only better, more glamorous, more wowee than you ever imagined!) – and steers away from anything that doesn’t fit in with your personal style and the way you two interact together.

  17. It’s not only a time you can have pictures of the two of you being comfortable in each others company but also a time away from everyone and have a little time on your own as Man and Wife. Your day goes in a blink of an eye, this allows you to take time out and take it all in before the dancing starts!!

  18. Right on! One of the things I often get asked if couples are getting married at a family church, is to get a shot to match their parents/grandparents shots. If you’d be willing to do a little formal shot like that, then two 10-15 minute shoots in the day are no different, it’s just you two and the photographer. We always come up with creative stuff to do during the portrait shoots and scope out the locations well in advance to breeze through the shoot and make it fun and get exciting shots – who knows, your kids might be saying they want a photo to match yours! – J

  19. Portrait shots are my favourite time of the day. Its so important to take some time out to be together. Suprisingly you don’t get much time alone on your wedding day. None of my clients have refused so far and If any of them do I will be giving them ‘the talk’ 😉

  20. Ahhhh! My heart is melting! Another amazing job yet again by Christine and Xander aka Navyblur! This photos are just priceless, and something that the couple will cherish for the rest of their life! Amazing initiative guys, so important to take time away from the big day and just BE with eachother!

  21. Many of our couples tend to book us on the strength of the couple portraits they’ve seen mixed with the candid storytelling images but almost all of them tell me they hate having their photo taken. Making the portrait session pain-free, relaxed and fun without making the couple feel awkward is the trick to getting great images. They’ll look back on those photos and remember it being part of an amazing day rather than remembering how uncomfortable they felt. It’s about understanding the couple and knowing what works best for them while still delivering images that they’ve paid you to get. You don’t have to pose or smile awkwardly at the camera. Just grab some “us time”, breathe, hang out and let your photographer do what they do best. You may even find yourself enjoying every second of it 🙂

  22. YES YES YES YES /Meg Ryan face/

    Everyone needs to do this. We were so excited about some amazing couple shots that we leapt in early doors with our engagement shoot and loved every minute of it (it can be found in my Real Bride bit). It didnt even cross my mind that couples wouldnt consider this!

    Great stuff Charlotte doing this post. Girlfriends need to KNOW!!! xxx

  23. I, like most of the married ladies on here, loved our ‘us’ shots. The boy hates having his photo taken in general (usually screwing up the photo with a flicked middle finger just to prove he’s very unhappy! I know, what a nause!) but even for him, our ‘us’ shots were some of his favourite from the day.

    My very favourite is one of the two of us, probably shot at about 9 oclock on the night. It was dark and it was wet and rainy but we went outside, had 2 minutes, stood forehead to forehead, soaked in everything that had happened and actually took a breath. It was such a special special moment I completely forgot our amazing photographer was even there. Absolute rainy heaven feeling like the luckiest girl in the world who was with the boy of her dreams (middle finger nausea and all). Every time I see the image I could literally cry.

    I implore couples to take the time to trust their photographer and grab that 10 minutes together away and allow them capture your happiness/relief that the scary part os out of the way.

    Brilliant post my dear…this is why you are the Queen of wedding blogs.


  24. @Charlotte @Rebecca – I’m glad it’s not just me…I usually have massive moon face!

    Loving the idea of having little 10 minute sessions, and then you get different shots from throughout the day! xxx

  25. I’ve done this anonomously just in case the photographer is reading!

    Before our wedding day we didn’t think that having official pictures really fitted with our low key day and we figured that someone would surely get some ok ones throughout the day. Two weeks prior to the day we decided that we’d better get some “real” pictures done of the two of us for my husbands family who couldn’t be there so we booked a photographer friend of a friend to do some couple shots only. We hadn’t seen any other weddings she’d done, we didn’t meet with her beforehand but just assumed she “got” what I was after following a 10 minute phone call.

    That part of our day ended up just being really stressful, really uncomfortable and the resulting pictures tell that tale. I still can’t look at them without getting really upset as they just do not reflect us as a couple or our day.

    So my advice…definitely reasearch your photographer, meet with them, show them examples of the kind of shots you want so you know you’re on the same page, have an engagement shoot to get used to each other and pay as much as you can afford!

    Take it from a very sad & disappointed bride!

  26. @Anon – that sounds like a pretty rubbish experience. I would really recommend you have some portrait shots re-done, with a great photographer – either in your dress or something different! You deserve to have gorgeous photos you can cherish of you both

    @Lolly – I was slapping the table too! “i’ll have what she’s having” xx

  27. @Lolly – Thanks lovely, but I’m afraid my face is rather moon-esque! I think its the paleness 🙂 x

    @ Anon – That sounds pretty rubbish 🙁 agree with @Karen you should def get some shots redone! Very good advice though!! x

  28. Charlotte thanks for this post – why were you scared about it?!! Beautifully said! So many of our couples tell us it was the best bit of their day to have a little break from the (amazing) madness and focus on each other. The TWO OF YOU is what it’s all about after all, that love, that connection, that romance, mmmm mmmmm – i LOVE capturing that!!

    @Anon, we offer Take Two photoshoots so you can get in all your finery again, and personally I really love to do them for couples whose wedding we didn’t photograph!! I’m sure you can find someone wherever you are, and it will be so worth it, promise. 🙂

  29. I couldn’t agree more! We are going to have the portrait shoot right after the actual ceremony and I can’t wait for it. It’ll be the first time we can enjoy being husband and wife before going back to all our friends. I think having that time to ourselves is quite important!

  30. @Anon – If you want to drop me an email I will see what I can with regards getting you some beautiful pictures, I can’t bear it that you are so upset when you look at your pictures.

    @Naomi – Not scared pet, it’s sometimes difficult to write these things sensitively sometimes – i.e. we want to give advice but don’t want to come across as “You MUST do xx”

    Thanks so much for your comments everyone – we really appreciate you all getting involved.

    Charlotte xxx

  31. I had to comment as I absolutely agree with this! My now husband really isn’t a fan of the camera and really didn’t want lots of posed shots . Our photographer dragged us away just before dessert for a walk in the countryside and I am so so glad he did as they are my favourite shots of the day and it was so amazing to just spend that 10 minutes with my new husband!

    The day can go so quickly that even though we had talked to our photographer about doing these shots I had completely forgotten so definitely make a note for your photographer of what you want them to capture!

  32. Totally agree with this post. Am really looking fwd to the ‘just us’ pictures. I found our photographer on the RMW suppliers list so I’m assuming they will be fab! As a back up I had my wedding planner meet with them (we live abroad so couldn’t do it ourselves) and she backed up the idea that they were great. Really looking fwd to our pre wedding shoot in April 🙂 Already have a lot of shots I want them to do!

  33. @Krysia – Oh that is such lovely news for a Sunday morning, so glad you were able to find a supplier via RMW 🙂

    Make sure you send us some pics in April won’t you!

    Charlotte xxx

  34. Fortunately I haven’t yet had a couple tell me to skip this important part of the day and I so agree with your piece Charlotte. If you have taken the time to get to know a couple (and I always do a pre wedd shoot for this very reason), then to spend a little time alone with just you candidly snapping away, gives a couple a chance to take a breath and have a private chat, something couples don’t often get a chance to do on their day.

  35. Confessions time: I’m literally bricking it about photography, it’s the one part of the wedding I’m really nervous about. I hate having my photo taken, hate how I look in photos and only get a photo that I deem to be alright of me once in a blue moon. Me and Al once went to this place in London for a photoshoot, where it’s free and you just pay for the shots you want, and about halfway through the photographer went “You like your smile?” after I’d spent the first half beaming away. Needless to say the rest of the photos came out with me looking pretty glum as I was too nervous to smile after that!

    We’ve got our e-shoot/pre wedding shoot at beginning of March and I’m really scared my awful mug will spoil every single shot!

  36. My advice to you Kitty is to have a couple of glasses of wine before hand just to help relax you – really. I also hope that following your session you feel so much happier with having your photo taken, and if not, just try and have fun and ignore your photographer on your wedding day as that way they will get loads of great relaxed images.

  37. @Kitty try to think of your e-shoot as a really fun unusual date with your lovely boy – and trust your photographer!! I had a sneaky look at your wedding blog (hope you don’t mind :D) and it seems like you picked your photographer because you really loved her and trusted her – and I saw that she HANDMAKES her own wedding albums with all your wedding keepsakes built in – how exciting is that??!! Jealous MUCH! Anyway I digress! She will understand how you feel, believe me you are not alone, and will be really good at helping you chill out and have fun with it. Like Juliet says, you’ll feel so much better afterwards and then on the day there’ll be no worries left. 🙂 Good luck. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.