The tradition of smiling in wedding photography

I loved photographing Helen and Dan …they did the “look stern and stiff” pose of the late 19th and early 20th Century so easily …well they managed it for about 30 seconds before laughing..

tradition stern wedding pose

the house with two front doors

For vintage weddings it’s great to add in a few old fashioned (like your gran had) photographs for a real traditional feel and i’ve recently been routing through old photographs and doing some research to find out more about traditional styles of photography and why it all changed.

I found this photograph at a vintage fair – an example of a photograph from the Royal wedding of Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles in 1922 which was very stern and staged.

royal wedding

Princess Margaret and Lascelles 1922

Apparently, unless you were a child a drunk or a labourer (who were encouraged to smile) the look and style of early photography mimicked that of classical portraiture where adults of social standing wanted to look artistic, stern and respectable.

However, this all changed in the early 1900’s when Kodak introduced its first portable and affordable camera called the Brownie and mass advertised the camera using photographs of people smiling and this led to the sea change in how people were represented photographically and we moved into the “snap shot” era.   I love natural, relaxed and snap shot style photos, however, I want to work on any formal photographs to  model them more on the traditions of  portraiture and painting.

I have found some old photographs at home which I love … my great grandparents wedding circa 1910 with a hint of a smile and moving to my mum’s wedding in 1959 who looks lovely with my beloved Grandad (who taught me how to play cards) who was very handsome!

vintage wedding

wedding photograph 1910

circa 1910

wedding 1960's

my mum and my grandad

So although I will never ask  you to say “cheese” when i photograph you-  I may ask you to say “prunes” …just once or twice to  achieve the stern look.

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