Year: 2017

3 Ways You (Yes, YOU!) Can Look Natural in Photos

Filed in general shot by on at

If there’s one thing I know for sure about our couples after all these years, it’s that they feel a little bit awkward in front of a camera. 99% of the time, I hear at least one of the following phrases: “We just aren’t photogenic. He blinks in every photo. We’re so awkward in pictures. I never know what to do with my hands.” I think our very relaxed, documentary style of photography tends to attract people who want stunning wedding photos without having to do much “posing,” because let’s face it, “workin’ it” in front of a camera can, in fact, be super awkward, even if you’re not an awkward person.

I mean, I don’t consider myself to be an awkward person. I am an extrovert through and through; but I am SO camera-awkward that it hurts. The first time that Ben and I were photographed as a couple, I was so nervous that I downed an entire pitcher of margs before heading out. Thankfully, we had awesome photographers who made us laugh a ton and look natural despite the fact that I was a basic drunk girl at our shoot. #notrecommended

Over the years, I have really perfected my “posing” skills, and have mastered techniques to make even the most camera-awkward people look and feel like they get photographed for a living (I do love a good challenge). The secret is to work them in and out of “poses” quickly, before they have time to think about feeling awkward. I keep the excitement level high by giving lots of “actions” to carry out, and shooting the moments in between. I will typically run through anywhere from 10-15 “actions” every time I photograph a couple, and they have become such an important part of the process I use to make everyone feel completely relaxed and at ease.  You get constant direction for what to do along with a ton of positive reinforcement, so your brain never has a chance to wonder how you look on camera, and that, my friends, is when the real magic happens.

So, if you’re self-conscious about your camera-awkwardness, you’re in luck, because I’m about to share 3 of my favorite ways to look totally natural when being photographed as a couple!  Ready? Here we go:

  • Mindreading – Stand facing your partner with your arms around each other. Close your eyes and think (to yourself) of a number or a color or whatever you decide. (I usually go with colors!) Then, open your eyes (looking at each other) and take turns trying to guess what your partner thought of! This is a fun exercise because whether you guess correctly or not, it will still make you smile. ;)


  • Whispering – Whisper in your partner’s ear very quietly, “If you were a food, you would be…” or “if you were an animal you would be…” These might sound ridiculous, but they are hilarious, and I have the photos to prove it.


  • Dance – You can slow dance or fast dance or crazy dance or whatever makes you happiest! The important thing is to connect with each other. Make eye contact while dancing. Laugh!! Show off your best moves! I use this one at almost every wedding and every engagement session, because the results are always so, so good.


I hope these were useful to you! No matter who is behind the camera, you can use these 3 strategies to kick your camera-awkwardness to the curb, and make yourselves look natural, relaxed, and completely in love!

Interested in working with us? Get in touch here to find out if your date is available!!

lauren + james // times beach nature preserve

Filed in engagements shot by on at

It’s the best feeling in the world when I meet with people in person (or via Skype!) and it all just clicks perfectly into place. I know immediately when “my people” have found me, and Lauren and James are definitely “my people.” They value family and friends above all else and make an effort to spend quality time with the people they love. They’re getting married in the backyard of the home where Lauren grew up, and where her parents were married. And, we all know how I feel about backyard weddings, sentimentality, and the sacredness of home. They are my favorite kind of people, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.

I asked Lauren and James what makes them want to spend the rest of their lives together, and their answer was absolutely perfect. ;)

“Things like pushing each other to be better people everyday, and feeling loved and supported regardless of the situation make us want to spend the rest of our lives together. We truly feel like we are each other’s partner in crime. Also, we have perfect seats on the 50 yard line at New Era Field right next to each other. And neither of us is planning on giving them up.” 

Lauren: “Our story begins like any other; we met through mutual friends. Except instead of love at first sight and a ride into the sunset in each other’s arms, we began our friendship with regular Monday evenings at the Salamanca Bowling Alley with our friends. As is typical in the beginning of any relationship, we acted like we were not interested in each other, and were also convinced that the other was not interested either. Now fast-forward to St. Patrick’s Day. Enter Jim and Robin Holtz (my parents).

I happened to have spent the weekend in Erie, PA with my friends from college to celebrate the holiday. In typical Gannon Alumni fashion, I awoke at 5am that day for Kegs and Eggs at The Cellblock. Sometime that evening, my parents stumbled into The Gin Mill and were tended to by James. After several St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, and having no knowledge of mine and James’ friendship, my mom assured James that he should ‘date her daughter’ (seriously, when does that ever work?).

Soon after, James and I exchanged phone numbers, and shared our first kiss on the roof (yes, the roof) of Balloons in Ellicottville after a prom-themed party.

Lauren: “James proposed on December 24th, 2016 at the final Bills game of the season. James happens to have a lot of friends within the Bills organization who were a huge help in planning the surprise. After tailgating with our friends, we arrived at the field early, as we had on-field passes. James was able to get us on the field during warm-ups, where he proposed. After the proposal when I realized what was happening, I looked up and all of our friends and some of our families were there cheering us on.

Lauren: “James and I enjoy riding our bikes when the weather is nice (fun fact- we were in a bicycle gang called “Bells Angels” when we lived in Ellicottville). We also enjoy exploring Buffalo’s range of eating and drinking establishments (both new and old favorites). Also when the weather is nice we like to grill outside. We love having fun with each other and spending time with friends and family.

Lauren: “Our perfect night in would start with a home cooked meal, some craft beer or a nice red wine, a pile of cozy blankets and whatever TV series we are binging on at that time.

Lauren: “We have two versions of the perfect night out. One would be going to our favorite South Buffalo spot, Conlon’s. We are mug club members here and they make our favorite chicken wings.

Another version of a perfect night out would be to stop for drinks at one of our favorite spots downtown, then do dinner at another of our favorite restaurants.

Interested in working with us? Get in touch here to find out if your date is available!!