All images (c) Babb Photo unless otherwise stated.
The person that you're marrying, do you love them unconditionally?
Do you realise that they are a fallible human being with imperfections?
Are you kind to them?
Of course you are. We would never, ever want to undermine the confidence of the people we love or impact on their self worth by picking away at their 'flaws'. Love means accepting the other person and not trying to change them. You look at, and love, the whole person.
So why do so many of us neglect to extend the same kindness to ourselves? We reduce ourselves to the sum of our parts. We reduce ourselves to our perceived imperfections. Self esteem is slowly built and just as quickly demolished, based on compliance with an idea of beauty that is forced upon us. We believe in a need to be perfect.
And then you're getting married but you don't like your arms / legs / bum / belly / chin and those things are all going to be photographed all day, on your wedding day.
Your photographer, though, can make photos of you that you love, even though you don't love yourself, can't they? A professional photographer's photos of you will be different to the pictures that your mates take and you'll be different in your wedding pictures, won't you?
A professional photographer knows how best to capture that relaxed happiness. A good photographer knows how to capture those moments that led to the happiness in the first place.
We are not magicians though.
We can't take away all of those negative thoughts you have about yourself. We can't make you love yourself, if you don't. As Jenny Jimenez once said, "if you don't like your self, you probably won't like my photos of you" and that's the truth.
So how can you love your wedding pictures, if you don't love yourself?
You have two options.
Firstly start by looking at the bigger picture. The story of the day. The moments that are represented. Those sunbeams bursting out of your face.
Do your wedding pictures show the love and happiness that you FELT on the day of your wedding?
Do your wedding pictures catapult you back to the moment when you said 'I do' to your best friend?
Do your pictures remind you of the whole spectrum of emotions you felt on the day?
A good wedding photographer will capture all of that and more. When I look back at my own wedding pictures they transport me right back into each moment that they capture. There are a whole load of holes I could pick in the way I look but I don't, because I was really bloody happy and it shows in the massive grin I had on my face all day.
Image credit: Camera Hannah
And the second option? You could actually learn to love yourself. Or at least like yourself.
My awesome friend Cheyenne Gil, a Philadelphia Boudoir Photographer is a big proponent of self love. She's one of the biggest advocates of body positivity I know and here's what she has to say about loving yourself:
"Tough love. That's how I handle this whole 'self love' situation. Bottom line is this: YOU NEED TO GET OVER YOURSELF. Doesn't matter if you're a size 0 or a size 90000908798 - you are beautiful and you need to know that. You need to step back and get out of your head. Those stretch marks? Those boney knees? That rib cage popping out? That roll that rolls around when you sit down?"
"LITERALLY NO ONE IS LOOKING AT THOSE THINGS BUT YOU"
"Take me, for instance - I'm 5'7.5" tall. I weigh 175 pounds. I have really long legs and arms and a short torso. I carry my weight in my torso. I have rolls. I have a lot more rolls when I sit down. I have stretch marks on my boobs, on my love handles and on my bum. I have big boobs and a small bottom. Growing up I hated my body. I HATED what I saw in the mirror and I certainly couldn't bare to look at myself in pictures. I would sit up all night crying and clawing at my belly wishing it would just go away and that I could look like Keira Knightly (yes, she was who I wanted to be). Then I went to college, gained 35 pounds and even though it has been a long, difficult journey, I fell in love with myself."
"Every roll, every stretch mark, ever jiggle with every step - I love it. I know I'm beautiful. I'm not afraid to admit it. I shouldn't have to be afraid to admit it."
"AND YOU SHOULDN'T EITHER"
"You're a fox"
"Your wedding is going to be one of the most important days of your freaking life!! It doesn't matter who your photographer is - YOU, your partner, and YOUR LOVE are going to be the pieces of the puzzle that make your pictures indescribably beautiful. The only way that can happen is if you put aside what are, in your own mind, your 'flaws'"
Image by Cheyenne Gil
There will always be the people that want their wedding photos to show a highly styled and curated version of their wedding day. A version that glosses over imperfections. I prefer the version with soul. The version that's real. And wouldn't it just be easier to embrace the chaos though and appreciate the beauty in those in between moments?
The best way to love yourself in your wedding pictures is to love yourself full stop, and look at the bigger picture. Have THE BEST time at your wedding. Enjoy every minute. Smile. It's as simple as that. Let go of your expectations, forget about perfection and BE HAPPY.