Often, there’s a dilemma when it comes to wedding photos. We all want to have beautiful pictures that contain even just a speck of the emotion of the day—but so many of us feel awkward in front of the camera.

Fortunately, this isn’t an impossible problem. This month’s guest, Dani Bartlett exemplifies our point that no one is truly “unphotogenic.” All they need to do is find the right photographer that helps them get comfortable.

Dani is the face,  the talent behind Melbourne-based wedding photography studio, Dani Bartlett Photography, providing wedding photography and family portraits for lovers of fun and colour.

In this chat, we discuss:

  • How to not feel awkward posing for wedding photos
  • What to look for in wedding photographers
  • Balancing candid and formal photographers
  • Completely candid vs guided candid photographers
  • Games for candid photography
  • Effective posing techniques
  • Breathing fresh life into family portraits

Your wedding photos are treasures you only have one day of getting. You’ll probably look through hundreds of wedding photographers as you search for the right one. One way to help you is to look through their galleries. That way, you can get a clearer sense of the ins and outs of their work throughout the ceremony.

When you’ve chosen a photographer, communication is key. Meet with them in person, have dinner, and just chat to help you get to know them better and—importantly—feel more comfortable. How relaxed you feel with them allows you to feel more confident in front of the camera on your pre-wedding shoot and wedding day, and it’ll translate in the photos.

Ultimately, what’s important is to trust your photographer and have fun. Communicate what you want and trust their direction. They might throw a prompt or game at you to lighten your portraits. Go with the flow. Explore where the prompts take you; you’d be surprised at how lovely you and your partner look when you’re just relaxing and having fun.

Links & Vendors Mentioned:

Dani Bartlett Photography


Find Dani Bartlett Photography:

On Polka Dot Wedding: Dani Bartlett Photography

On Facebook: Dani Bartlett Photography

On Instagram: @danibartlettphotography

On Pinterest: Dani Bartlett Photography

Find Dani Bartlett:

On LinkedIn: Danielle (O’Halloran) Bartlett


Find Dorothy & the Polka Dot Wedding team:

On Instagram: @polkadotwedding

On the website: polkadotwedding.com

This podcast was produced by Polka Dot Wedding

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past & present.

Episode Transcript

Dorothy: Welcome to the Feel Good Wedding Podcast, a podcast by Polka Dot Wedding. My name is Dorothy and I’m the founder and editor of Polka Dot Wedding. In fact, my alter ego is called Ms Polka Dot. I have written about weddings for over 15 years, but I have loved them since I was tiny, and I love the stories behind them because it’s not just about the details for me.

I love the details. I love a bouquet. I love a cake as much as the next person, but what really drives me and what I’m most excited about is the stories behind it all. The tips and tricks. The vendors who make it happen and the couples who the stories are told.

That’s what we’re talking about with The Feel Good Wedding Podcast. We’re diving a little bit deeper beyond the pretty. We’re finding out the stories behind those decisions. We’re talking to vendors about their information and tips and tricks, and we’re diving into it all with you every two weeks. We’re really looking forward to what we have in store and we hope that you join us.

The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of BoonWurrung, WoiWurrung, Eora, and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land, and we pay our respects to Elder’s past and present.

The Polka Dot Wedding Team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWurrung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land and we pay our respects to Elder’s past and present.  Welcome, welcome, welcome back to another episode of the Feel Good Wedding Podcast. Today we are talking wedding photography, or rather specifically how not to feel completely uncomfortable in front of the camera because we know that for many of us, our wedding is the very first time that we are standing in front of a camera all day long, and it can be really intimidating. There are so many times we read about couples who are saying, “I’m not photogenic.” This is a myth we’re going to debunk today, by the way. We have invited wonderful photographer, Dani of Dani Bartlett Photography along to be our guest today.

Now, every single one of Dani’s photos, her couples just look like they’re having the time of their lives and they look so relaxed. So who better to speak to today about wedding posing and debunking all of those myths and helping us feel like we can have amazing wedding photos and they don’t have to feel awkward and uncomfortable and we don’t have to cringe all day long.

Dani knows so much about how to get the most out of her couples and I’m really looking forward to this chat with her today and to share it with you. So let’s hit play and get right on started.

Dorothy: Hello, Dani. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dani: Thank you for having me.

Dorothy: Let’s kick it off. I want you to tell us all about yourself and your work at Dani Bartlett Photography.

Dani: Okay. For those that don’t know me, I’m Dani. I started the business when I was living overseas in Hong Kong. It just started friends asking. Just me taking photos at holidays and then it worked into friends asking to take photos of them and then friends’ weddings and then it just grew. Then when we moved back to Australia, we moved to Adelaide and I had to make the decision of what I wanted to do and so followed the photography and here we are on about to move to Melbourne. I’m all about the color as much color as possible, really, and then just having fun with it. So nothing to pose, nothing too serious, just letting whoever is in front of my camera be ‘them’, really.

Dorothy: I love that about your work too. Your work is really full of color and life and joy and it’s like every photo is so happy.

Dani: Thank you. That is my aim.

Dorothy: Like you just said, just to tell all our listeners, you are moving from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Dani: Yes, I am. I will be there from December, 2023.

Dorothy: Every Victorian couple can make the most of you, although I presume you still travel.

Dani: I do still travel. Yes. Primarily Victoria, everywhere in Victoria.

Dorothy: Victoria’s a big place. There’s lots of lovely country venues to make the most of. I’m excited. So today’s episode is all about posing and you just said you don’t love posing. You’re someone probably really apt to talk about this. So Polka Dot wedding, we believe the first step in getting really good photos because we hear so often, “Oh, I’m not photogenic. I don’t work. I don’t look good in photos.” All that stuff. What we believe is that there’s no real thing of us being not unphotogenic. It’s more that you have to find photographers and teams that really make you comfortable and can work with you and know how to capture your best self. Is that a myth or is that something we’ve made up or is that true?

Dani: No, that is a hundred percent true because if you look at everyone’s work, every photographer’s work is different. No two are the same. They might be kind of similar. You keep looking and they’re completely different. You see photographers and they do these like almost model-esque, super posed, quite rigid style. You know what? For some people, they love it. They love it. And that’s what they want and that’s fine because as I said, we’re all different, but yeah, you’ve got to find someone, you’ve got to find a photographer that aligns with you. If you’re someone that’s like, I don’t really like photos and I freeze when there’s a camera in my face, which to be honest, like 95% of people will say, you got to find a photographer. Don’t pick a photographer that does those rigid posed poses. You find someone that you like, like you’d have a drink with. Yeah, you have a drink with, and they’re laughing and they’re having fun and if all their previous work, everyone just looks like they’re living and they’re moving.

Dorothy: It sounds really silly, doesn’t it? But to find photography where everyone looks like they’re living is really quite lovely in a way.

Dani: Yeah, because for me, I’m trying to capture people as they are. So I’m not trying to turn them into something or someone that they’re not. As I always say to my couples and I’m like, before the session starts, I’m like, “Just do you.” I will give you little things here and there to do and say and little games and things, but if I say nothing, you’re doing a great job. Just keep doing you.

Dorothy: So in the era of candid wedding photography, because it is, maybe it’s because we’re biased because we generally feature more candid work as opposed to posed work, but I feel like it is more dominant nowadays that wedding photography is more about the candid moments rather than 20 years ago it was very posed. What are the things that we need to know as a couple looking at photography about wedding photography and posing? What kind of ins and outs are there or what should we know before we even look for photographers?

Dani: As you’re looking at photographers because obviously you don’t just look at one and be like, “Yeah, cool. Great. I’m going with them.” If you do, that’s great. Well done. But for the most part you look at tens, hundreds, I don’t know, but you look at many and you’re going to look at some and you’re going to go, “Oh, no, that’s not for me.” It’s going to be an instant withdrawal or attack. Gut reaction. You’re either going to love it or hate it. If you can see yourself in those photos and see yourself. If you can see yourself in those photos, then that’s probably what you want really.

Dorothy: Should we be looking at full albums of photographers because I feel like you are going to get some posed elements, which we’re going to talk about in future of formal photos, etc.? Is it key to look at that full album of a wedding to understand the mix of posing versus not and how it actually unfolds?

Dani: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because if you just look at their Instagram or just their website, you are only going to see the best of the best. So you might only see one photo from someone’s day. You’re not seeing the ins and outs and all the other different bits, but there’s also nothing wrong with being like, “Hey, can we see one or two whole galleries?” If someone asks, I’m like, “yeah, sure, here you go. Here’s a few. Go for your life.” Because they want to see what the whole getting ready looks like. Not just those pretty moments of putting earrings on or putting dress on. They want to see all of it. Then they want to see, like you said, they want to see the family photo moments and just all those in between bits. Definitely should, yes.

Dorothy: I have seen photographers in the past who have done completely candid galleries and I find it very rare that they won’t be family portraits or what I call the grandparent’s portrait, the portrait that your grandparents or your mom and dad will print out and put on their mantelpiece. If you are wanting a completely candid day, how can we get the best of both worlds when we do -it’s not that we need to please people, but there is a place for those posed family formal portraits. How do we get the best of both worlds if we’re wanting something really candid?

Dani: So I think if you want the candid, if you want the full candid; there is a difference between a full candid day and a guided. A full candid is just like, “Hey, I’m going to be over here in the corner and you just do you.” They’re great, but like a guided candid is like, “All right, so we need to get X, Y, Z done today.” You obviously need to have a ceremony. You need to have a ceremony and you need to, and that’s going to go from this time to this time. Do you want family photos? Okay. You want family photos. So I give my couples, I say just, I say, what do I say? I say 10 to 12 groups because otherwise people just rattle, they rattle off all kinds of groups. I find if I limit the groups, then it limits the time and I can just flush them through and then I can keep shooting. Grandparents come in and they want to cuddle and I can capture that and then we get the nice posed photo, everyone looking at the camera and then grandparents head off and grab a drink. So I find by allocating that time. I can still get the candid of people greeting and hello and how are you and oh congratulations, but then I can get the cheesy ‘look at me’ mantelpiece photo and then they can go again.

Dorothy: So is candid today what we think is candid as we’re booking a photographer actually nowadays more guided candid because it is more guiding through those moments as opposed to just I’m hiding in a corner and pretending I’m not there as a photographer?

Dani: For the most part. Yeah. Mostly it is guided.

Dorothy: Okay. Awesome. I feel like that’s not conveyed enough. It’s not. It’s always like, “I want candid photography.” But do you actually want candid photography or do you just want the natural laughs and natural moments of the day while having that balance?

Dani: For most people, they want the balance. I’ve had friends that have done completely candid and they said they got married overseas and they said to their photographer and they were like, “we’re not going away for portraits. We’re not doing it.” So he did completely candid. He had to work around them and get in the right position at the right time to get them alone as they were walking somewhere. That would be a completely candid day, but then in that, you can miss quite a lot. So for the most part, guided candid is what most photographers will do.

Dorothy: How do you find that balance between giving direction, playing the games, giving the prompts and that really genuine emotion of “we’re just so excited, we just got married” or whatever without. There’s a balance, obviously. How do you do that?

Dani: like I said earlier, I will always preface before I start the portrait section of the day, I will always preface, I just say, “Just do you.” If you get stuck and you’re like, I don’t know what, I don’t know where to look. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. Push the hair off their face. Make a, I don’t know, are you good at dad jokes? Make a dad joke. I don’t know. Whatever. Cheesy, dad jokey. Push the hair off their face, tickle them, throw them over your shoulder, run away. I don’t know. Whatever. Just have fun. Just have fun with it. If it’s something that you would do when I’m not here, keep it PG, but yeah.

Dorothy: It’s something you do when I’m not here – you might have to caveat that.

Dani: Go for it. Just have fun. If you get really stuck, then I’ll start inserting the games and I’ve had couples where I haven’t had to insert games at all. I’ve just been like, “I’ll just be here. You do you.”

Dorothy: So the games are designed to break down that, “Oh, we’re in front of the camera.” Forget the camera’s there and have fun with each other.

Dani: Absolutely. Yeah. So I always start the portrait sessions off moving; a lot of movement. It doesn’t matter if we do walking 10 laps of walking, the more they move, the more they relax and once they’ve relaxed into it and they’ve gone, “Oh, okay, actually, this is pretty good. This is fine.” Then I can just be like, “All right, you can just be over there stationary and just get your faces in, get your faces in stupid close.” Is what I say.

Dorothy: Pretend you like each other on your wedding day.

Dani: Correct. By the time we get to that, they’re like, “Oh okay, this is fine, I can get my face in really close and I don’t feel silly.” Or I can hold their face and I can pull them in by their collar and I can do this. This is fine.

Dorothy: What are some of the basic posing techniques that we can expect on a wedding day? Even if, as we’ve said, we’re all about candid, we don’t want to pose, etc. There are posing techniques that photographers will use. What are we looking to expect?

Dani: So as I said, I start with walking. So I will just say, “Hold hands.” Or “Hug their arm.” I don’t mind. And I’m going to get you to go and I’ll walk them over. I’ll explain this as I’m walking them over to a point and I’d be like, “All right, so we’re going to, you’re going to start here and you’re just going to walk towards me, you’re going to go slow, you’re going to look at each other, you’re going to have a chat, you’re going to make jokes, and you’re not going to fall over.”

Dorothy: And then I would probably fall over now that you’ve said it.

Dani: That’s what most people say, they’re like, “Now that you’ve said that, I know I’m going to find that one pothole.” Thankfully, no one has. Start with that. I’ll get them to do a couple of laps of that and then they’ll relax and then I’ll be like, “All right, you’re going to now just keep walking, but you’re going to push and pull each other in and out without sending the other one flying off the hill.” They start doing that and I’ll be like, “All right, towards the end of that, pull them in for a kiss and I’ll pull them in for a kiss” and every now and then that’s when they start relaxing and one of them might spin, they might spin one of them or all sorts of different things come from it at this point.

So then the walls have started to break down. They’re like, “all right, this is okay. This is fine. I can do this.” And so then I’ll be like, “all right, just get in nice and close, face each other, hold each other, like six points of contact. Doesn’t matter what it is. It could be hands, chest, nose. Cheeks at six points. You make it up. I don’t care.” And then they can just get their faces in close, have a kiss. Then they start to be like, “Oh, I’m going to, I’m going to kiss them on the cheek” or I’m going to pull them in for a big hug or yeah, they just start to relax.

And they do, and they make jokes. Or what happens is they go, “Oh my God, I’m never this close”. And then they just start laughing.”

Dorothy: Which makes for a great shot too because the laughing shots are the best shots.

Dani: Yeah. Once those walls are broken down and I can put them in different spots. They start to break down and they’ll either start to melt into it and they’re like, “Oh my God, this is so sweet and I love this.” Or they’re like, “Oh my God, we never do this. What is this?” And then it’s just this big joke.

Dorothy: So either way, good shots.

Dani: Either way. Great shots. Yeah.

Dorothy: So we’re all about like personal in our wedding photography and weddings in themselves. How can we ensure that our personal selves and our unique traits, etc., come in through our wedding photography? Is it just a matter of playing along with the prompts?

Dani: Pretty much. You go with it and it will go in whatever, like I said before, it will go in whatever direction you want it to really, like the couple wants it to like, like I said, they’ll either melt into it and be like, “Oh, this is so sweet.”

Or they’ll go, “Oh my God, this is weird.” And then they laugh and then they’re like, it just turns into this big joke. I’ve never really had anyone be like, “Yeah, I’m not going to do that.”

Dorothy: Never say never. I think you’d be actually pretty worried though, wouldn’t you, about the state of the couple if someone was just like, “I’m not going to play along with the wedding photography.”

Dani: I would be. I mean in five years, I’ve never had someone be like, “I’m not doing that.” They’ve always been like, “Yeah, okay. I don’t really know what direction this is going, but okay, let’s give it a go.”

Dorothy: I don’t suppose so much of it is around – if you’re a couple that is always in the countryside and you decide suddenly to get married in the city, it’s not going to really reflect you. If you hate wearing white and you’re always in color and you’re wearing white on your wedding day, it’s not going to reflect you …. So not only choosing a photographer that makes you comfortable but choosing all the surrounding things that’s comfortable to you and reflective of you.

Dani: Absolutely.

Dorothy: So family portraits, which can often look, I don’t know, they look sometimes like they haven’t changed in 20 years, the way we do family portraits. How can we nail beautiful post family portraits that keep in line with our wedding days and keep in line with ‘the brand of our wedding’ I suppose, and while, making that natural and genuine feeling about them?

Dani: It’s a hard one because I say it to my couples and I’m like, “everyone wants them, no one wants to do them”. And they’re like, “yeah, that’s pretty accurate.” I always get a list to start with. I don’t just stand there being like on the day, be like, “So who do you want in the photos?” Because then they’re just like, “I don’t know.” So I always get a list. This is probably the part of the day where I get super  super bossy. It allows me to just be like, okay, I need, and I always get the names. I don’t just get mum, dad, auntie. I always get the names so I can just stand there and be like, “I need Sally, Betsy and Mark, I need you here now.” And they’ll be like, “Okay.” Once I’ve got them coming and I can keep shooting, like I said earlier, I can get the candids, cuddles and the hugs and then I’ll be like, “All right, in a line, glasses off, three, two, one, shoot, shoot, shoot.” They have a little chat and I keep shooting and then they have a hug before they go and I start calling the next people.

Dorothy: Do you recommend having a point person as well that can be like, Aunt Martha. Who knows who Aunt Martha is, I should, I’m trying to say and knows who Uncle John is and says, “Uncle John, Aunt Martha, stop chatting, come and be in this photo.” That’s not the couple themselves.

Dani: No. I used to have just one person and then I recently I’ve added two because I realized that one person doesn’t always know both sides of the family. So now I appoint two people, one from each side.

Dorothy: And make sure they’re bossy too. Yeah. Or can at least yell out to people.

Dani: Yeah. If I’ve got a second shooter with me, then that’s fine. I have the two people, but then I can also just send the second shooter to yell at people and get them over. I find always having family members that know who people are is needed.

Dorothy: Yeah. And tell that person first as well before the wedding.

Dani: Yes. Give them the list to make sure they know what’s going on. Also make sure that if, because some couples choose not to do like extended family, so just be like immediate grandparents, siblings, parents, and then maybe like siblings, partners and stuff. If you choose to do that, you need to make everyone aware because they’re….

Dorothy: Otherwise going to be standing there waiting are they?

Dani: Yeah. Because often the celebrant will say, “If your family, stay close.” And aunties and uncles will be like, “Oh, that’s me.” And then they just hang there and I never call their name and they’re like, “Am I in a photo?” and then the couple, I’ve got to be like, “Hey, do you want a photo with them because they just asked me? I just want to clarify.”

Dorothy: So all the communication is always with weddings.

Dani: A hundred percent. Communicate everything. Even it doesn’t seem like it matters, communicate it anyway.

Dorothy: Do you find you do more guest portraits as well? I know at some of the weddings, it’s like they go around to every table or they want to make sure they have photos with every guest or is it just candid?

Dani: I just do candid. Once you’re in the reception, I just do candid and if people are like, “Hey, can you take a photo of us?” I’d be like, “Yeah, absolutely. You want that? I’ll take that.” But I’m not someone that will go around to each table and be like, “Hey, who wants a photo?” I have had a couple of weddings now and I love it where they’ve done a hot lap.

Dorothy: I love this idea. Tell us about the hot lap.

Dani: At some point during the reception, it might be as soon as they come in or just before speeches start. Basically, it is announced that the couple are going to go around from table to table and get a photo with everyone, as a group table, but it’s only going to happen in a one song duration. So you’ve only got, I don’t know, how long does the song go for a minute and a half, two minutes?

Dorothy: Yeah. Ish. 10 seconds per table.

Dani: Pretty much. So you’ve got to be like, if you’re on a table, get in a group like now and the couple, they go. They would go to table one – photo. By the time you get to table three, everyone realizes what’s going on properly. And they’re like, “Oh, well, we’ve got to be quick, Oh, okay, let’s go.”

Dorothy: Pity if you’re in that first table,

Dani: First one or two tables, I panic because they’re like, “What are you doing?” They always take a little bit longer, but by the time you get to like table three and four, the, everyone else is like, “Oh, right. Okay. They’re coming. They’re like two tables away.” So we’re going to get up. We’ve got a group now. Let’s go. And it’s good because then you get a photo with everyone without offending anyone.

Dorothy: Yeah. And spending hours trying to get the people back from the bathroom and all that sort of stuff.

Dani: Yeah, There’s none of that. You get your shot and you’re gone, but then you can come back later. Of course you can come back later and you can chat to them. It’s not like you’re never going to see them again. You’d have those chat and those fully candid moments, but then at least you’ve got that one quick photo.

Dorothy: That one evidence that the guest was there  -a hundred percent. So we talked about how finding a photographer that you’re comfortable with is the key, if you are really awkward, but if you are just really camera shy, you’re dreading your wedding day; you feel it awkward in front of the camera and you’re like, “I don’t know how to do this. What tips do you have?” It’s stuff like a pre wedding shoot. Is it going out to coffee with your wedding photographer? How can we get over that dread and that fear of wedding photography? It is so important.

Dani: It is so important. I think there’s two key elements that I find really help. Maybe three key elements that I find really calm those nerves. Meet with your photographer beforehand, go out, wine, coffee, cheese, I don’t know, what do you like? What do you both like? You do that. I’ll go, “You want me to go out at seven o’clock at night for a wine, I’ll come with you. You want to go 10 o’clock for a coffee? I’ll be there.” We’ll meet, we’ll have a chat. We can just chat about the day, go through timelines and stuff. The second thing would be to do that pre wedding shoot or engagement shoot, whatever you want to call it. That can be as simple as, we just want to hang out at home.

Dorothy: I love home shoots. They’re my favorite.

Dani: They’re great, aren’t they?

Dorothy: This is us now.

Dani: Yeah. I find this so underrated, but I love them because you’re just in the element, but people are always very conscious. They’re like, “But my house isn’t pretty”. No, it’s fine. It’s your house.

Dorothy: It’s like for the frozen moment in time really, isn’t it? It’s this is what we were living in at this point in our life.

Dani: It’s your house. It doesn’t have to be pretty. You don’t want a trash heap, but it doesn’t have to be pretty. Anyway, I digress. Like a pre wedding shoot or engagement shoot, whatever that may look like, you have a chat. I always suggest go somewhere different that you would do on your wedding date. So if you’re doing a city wedding, maybe have a home session or go to the beach or find some bush land or something. If you want to do city, we do city. It is what it is, but then the third thing would be, a first look. Do you see each other before the ceremony? I find that really calms nerves because you’re already nervous about everyone’s looking at me and I am the centre of attention and I don’t know what they’re going to think when they see me. It does so many unknowns. So if you do that first look, at least you’ve seen your person and you’d be like, “All right, I’ve seen them and we’re fine and who cares what happens now?” So I find those three things, they really calm everyone down and they go, “Okay, I’m in good hands with my photographer and I’ve had the engagement session and I know how they work. So now I’m good. I know how it’s going to work and I’ve seen the photos. I know how the photo is going to turn out with me as the subject.” They’re like, “I’m okay now. This is okay.”

Dorothy: Yeah. I can relax into this. What do you think of shot lists? We’ve talked about formal photography lists, which I think is crucial. You need the list of like mum, dad, whatever, but there was so much advice to take a photo of the rings and take a photo of this. What are your thoughts on shot lists?

Dani: Quite simply, I hate them.

Dorothy: Don’t hold back there. I thought that might be the answer.

Dani: Basically, because if I have a shot list, I have a written shot list that my couples have given me. I can’t focus on what is in front of me because I have to constantly refer to the shot list and I’d be like, “Do I have a photo of this? Do I have a photo of that?” I’m constantly having to check the list, whereas, we just spoke about earlier about seeing a whole gallery. That is going to, before you even need to send the shot list, before you’ve even booked that photographer, that is going to give you a good idea of what their shot list looks like. I think there are some exceptions, like in my question, my pre wedding questionnaires, I always ask, “Are there any special touches that you’ve added to your day?”

Dorothy: I was going to ask, are there exceptions of or a very special guest or, certain very important things, but limited, right?

Dani: Yeah. I never recommend sending a full run down of the shots that you want and don’t set the expectations where you’re like, “I want a photo of my partner crying when I come down that aisle.” I’ve had that before and I’ve had to explain like, “Look, I will take a photo of them as you come down, but I cannot control whether they cry or not.” So if they don’t cry….

Dorothy: You don’t get a refund if he doesn’t cry.

Dani: No. If they don’t cry, that photo is just not going to be in your gallery because I can’t deliver a photo that didn’t happen.

Dorothy: And you obviously don’t want to have a list of putting dress on and hug from mom and the granular stuff. So really it comes down to trust. If you’re booked your photographer, trust in your photographer that they’re going to capture the day in a way that you will be happy with.

Dani: Yeah. Like I said, I send the questionnaire. If there’s special things or there’s special people or there are like important moments or things, you tell me, so I’m aware, and then I’m like, “Okay, cool. I know to get that.” And I will get that, and that’s fine. I’ve had it before. There’s been a couple of things like the people that have passed away and they’ve got a special wall with their photos. I see it anyway, but I’ll go take a photo of that because that’s obviously very important to you or I’ve had it before where someone said, “My dad is walking me down the aisle. It’ll be very slow. He’s got terminal cancer and he’s in a wheelchair, but he’s determined to walk me down. So I don’t know how long he’ll get down the aisle.” And I’m like, “Yeah, great. I’m on it.”

Dorothy: It’s making a photographer aware of the unique parts of your day so that they’re prepared to be able to capture them.

Dani: It might be as simple as I’m not walking down the aisle, I am dancing down the aisle. I’d be like, “okay, so you’re going to be quick. All right, cool.”

Dorothy: So I need to make sure I’m in X position.

Dani: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. 100%. There’s no time to change. I need to be ready to go. It’s just that just making them aware.

Dorothy: That’s theoretically what your photographer should be. As you said, you asking your questionnaire, but this is stuff you can be talking about when you meet them. And when they ask you like a good photographer will be asking you this stuff no matter what.

Dani: Pretty much at some point along the lines. Yeah.

Dorothy: Because they want to be prepared. They want to shoot your day the best possible way as well. So what trends are you seeing with posing and with wedding photography in general as we head into the 2023, 2024 wedding season and beyond?

Dani: This is a hard one for me to answer, quite honestly because I don’t really follow trends very well.

Dorothy: The problem is, colour is a trend right now and you’re all about colour, so you’re right on trend.

Dani: I am. I notice, I keep seeing more and more, and I’m like, “Hey, this is my thing, go away.”

Dorothy: Bright rainbow colour.

Dani: Yeah. From what I’ve seen, there’s. There seems to be a lot more like editorial coming in at the moment, which is that bit more posed. I find it’s slightly less candid from what I’ve seen. It’s slightly more posed, but it’s not like super, super posed. I think I don’t, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t, I’m not good at this one. I don’t know how to answer this one.

Dorothy: And look, I think that comes back to finding a photographer that jives with your style because if you’re not into trends and you just want, again, you want colorful wedding photography, then Dani’s your girl.

Dani: Yeah. You can get really caught. I don’t know, you can get really caught up in trends and some of the trends I like, I don’t mean like anything. Some of the trends I like, some of the trends I don’t like, and it’s just, I’m over here doing my thing and I just want to keep growing on me and my photography and how I do it and keep doing it the way I love to do it, rather than be like, “Ooh, that’s cool. Maybe I’ll transition towards that.” I just want to do what I love and what my clients love and just hone in on that and make that as the best I can .

Dorothy: And honestly, I think that’s when people talk about timeless wedding photography, I think it’s finding the photographer that is really happy with what they do rather than is going, “Oh, that is the latest trend. I’ve got to jump on that.” So at the moment, for instance, flash photography at night, it’s really popular and it looks amazing, but if that’s not really your jam and you’re just doing it because you’re untrained, it isn’t going to look timeless. It’s just going to look, “Oh, that was what happened in 2023.” Whereas a photographer that hones what they’re so good at and comfortable with will always, just have the best, very best angles and shots of your wedding.

Dani: Yes. That’s a very good way of putting that.

Dorothy: So what is your favorite part of a wedding day to shoot?

Dani: Oh, people ask me this all the time. I find it really hard to hone in on, just because there’s so every part of the day has a different feel and a different vibe. I think I really love the portraits when there’s no one else around. It’s just like the couple, myself and maybe the videographer if there’s one there, because the couple are just so relaxed, they’ve already gotten married for the most part, they’ve already gotten married. No one is looking at them, apart from myself and the videographer. They can just ‘do’. They don’t feel like they have to act anything. They don’t feel uncomfortable because there’s 10 to a 100, 200 people looking at them. They can just melt into each other and just do what they would do. So I think that’s probably my favorite, if I’m going to pinpoint, that’s probably my favorite. Everyone loves portraits because portraits are pretty and that’s what everyone likes to see, but I just find it’s a special time because the couple just, there’s no worries. They’ve got those new, those like butterfly kind of feelings and they’re just calm. Just find that calm.

Dorothy: They’re just like, this is the focus of the day and like us, that’s what we’re here for. Do you recommend ditching your wedding party for some of your wedding photos then?

Dani: Oh, I 100% do. 100%. If a couple – there’s a few ways I work it, it depends on the time of the year and what time sunset is. If it’s in the middle of summer, it’s a late sunset, we’ll do straight off the ceremony and family photos. I’ll do the whole bridal party. I’ll do all the bridal party, and I’ll probably do them for 20 minutes, ish. Then I tell them to go away. Go have a drink. You go leave now. Go away. Then I’ll spend 10, another 10, 20 minutes at that time with just the couple and then later in the evening at the sunset, I will take them out again for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes again. It’s not very long. They can just do again and that’s the time that I really like once no one is there. But yes, I 100% ditch bridal party. I get what I need and I love them and then I say, “You can just disappear, please go away.”

Dorothy: So pack some bottles of bubbles for your wedding party and they can go sit in the car, have a nice drink together.

Dani: Yeah. It depends where they are. It depends where you are.

Dorothy: Exactly. 100%.

Dani: If you’re in between venues, I just say, “Just go for a walk, I don’t mind where you go, you can go sit in the car, you can go for a walk, just don’t be here.”

Dorothy: Make yourself invisible.

Dani: Yes. But if your ceremony portraits and reception are all at the same place.

Dorothy: It’s easier. You can offer a drink and canapes and all the good stuff.

Dani: Just go join everyone else. Yes.

Dorothy: Do you have any last tips and tricks when it comes to wedding photography and posing for those of us who are terrified or even those of us who are confident, not terrified and are really excited about having our photos taken?

Dani: Relax and trust. I think you need to, we said it a few times, but you need to trust your photographer. Let them do what they do and you will enjoy your photos and just relax into the process. Have fun with it and just go with it. I think it’s, relax and trust is probably the biggest things.

Dorothy: Yeah. I love that. I feel like you’ve given so much good advice and so much stuff that is not talked about when it comes to wedding photography and posing. We’re all supposed to know and we never know.

Dani: I feel like people are like, “I have to be a model. I have to, if I’m having wedding photos done, I have to be a model.” How many of you are models because I’m certainly not. You just know, I think.

Dorothy: I think a good photographer knows how to get the best out of someone.

Dani: Yeah. I find that I can really gel to almost anyone’s personality. So if they’re really shy, I’m not going to be this big loud person because they’re just going to go, “Oh no. you’re a lot.

Dorothy: “I’m going to withdraw.”

Dani: We don’t want that. That’s not a great thing. We need you open and relaxed. So I’ll get quiet and I’ll just go calm and slow. If that means that I’m not shooting 24/7 and I just need to stand there and have a chat and explain to you what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do this. That’s okay because the shots that we do then get, are going to be way better than if I’m like, “All right, let’s go, go, go.” And I’m shooting and you’re just like, “Oh my God, what is she?”

Dorothy: And you can see the awkward smile and the awkwardness in the couple there as well, can’t you?

Dani: Yeah. And the shoulders. There’s those shoulders and ears and you’re like, “Oh, okay.” Whereas if someone is like, someone’s already like, “Oh my God, Dani is here. Yes.” I’d be like, “All right, let’s match this. Let’s go. We got this.”

Dorothy: So you’re really good at reading people then too or you have to be.

Dani: You have to be. I think you have to be, and if you’re not, then that’s okay. I think you then just end up, you attract couples that are whatever you are. If you’re big, loud, and if you’re big and loud, you’re going to attract big and loud couples, or you’re going to attract quiet couples that wish they were big and loud, that kind of feed off your energy. Or if you’re quiet, you tend to draw in those couples that are, you’re bring in those couples that are quiet and calm and they’re just like, “Okay, yeah, this is fine.” I can reflect, I can read, I read people quite well, so I can reflect. It can reflect what they want and what they need quite quickly.

Dorothy: That’s the tricky part is how do you find the personality of the photographer? Because you’re really just going off to work. You can’t figure out, “Oh, is this person lovely or am I going to be utterly intimidated?” so you’ve got to have lots of meetings, I think.

Dani: Yeah. Zoom is always a good one to start with I think because then you can just be like, “What is this person like?” You get a quite, you get a good little snippet and then if you’re like, okay. You, we match. I like this. This is good. We’ve had a nice, easy, flowy conversation. Listen to your gut. So much gut listening needs to happen in this process. I had someone email me this week and I haven’t spoken to them yet. We’ve only sent a couple of emails, but her initial email was, “Your work just resonates with us. and I was like, “okay, perfect, great.” Present some quotes and I was like, “Here’s a link book in a zoom call.” And she was like, “No, we’re good. We’re going to go with that. We’re going to go with the quote. We’re going to go with it. Let’s go.” I was like, “Cool.”

Dorothy: We love it. A decisive couple.

Dani: Yeah. So they were just like, “You sound great. Your work looks great. We’re already comfortable with you.” Just having that on my website, I’ve got quite a lot about me. I’ve got quite a few photos that sort of really really, I finally really tell who I am quite quickly.

Dorothy: You can get off Instagram and look at websites, look at other reviews. I did that. I looked at every single thing I could on the photographers I was looking at when we got married because I feel like you need almost a 360 view.

Dani: Yes because you can look at one thing and you get one view, but then you dig a little deeper and you’re like, “Oh, there’s, I didn’t know that about them.” Or, “Oh, actually that doesn’t reflect well with me.” Or, “Oh, someone said this.” Or “Oh wow, they said that.”

Dorothy: How does that make you feel?

Dani: You have that deeper dive and you’re like, “Oh yeah, no, this is my person. Oh no, this isn’t my person.” You find that quite quickly.

Dorothy: I feel like you’ve, like I said, you’ve given so many good nuggets and so many golden bits about posing or rather, as we should say, probably not posing, how to get the best out of the posing that you do on your wedding day. Thank you so much for spending the time and in the midst of moving. I know Melbourne, here you come, and the chaos and hopefully that all the couples will have some really useful things to take from today’s chat. Thank you so much.

Dani: Hopefully, no. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been lovely chat.

Dorothy: It’s been wonderful. A big thank you to Dani for joining us today. If you’d like to see Dani’s work in action, which of course you will, head on over to weddingpodcast.com.au. We have a full show guide over there for today’s episode, including a full written transcript and all the links that you need to find out more about Dani and of course how to book her for your wedding day.

The Feel Good Wedding Podcast is built for you, which means we want to make sure that the episodes and the guests that we showcase are the ones that you want to hear. So we want to hear your reviews, your feedback, your thoughts, your DMs, and anything you want to share with us about what you want in a wedding podcast. We will be back with another episode very, very soon and we cannot wait for you to hear.