Let’s get one thing straight… I am not a boudoir photographer. I, folks, am a happily satisfied Toronto wedding photographer. I’ve never felt the need to photograph boudoir although I applaud those who do it tastefully as it truly is an art. Boudoir isn’t for me, I love weddings. That being said, let’s be candid about one thing: I may not be a boudoir photographer but I end up with photos of some that are just as riské as those taken in a boudoir setting…. although when I do it it’s because of those damn strapless dresses and not because the person wanted that picture taken. Let’s get one thing straight here – strapless isn’t for everyone.
Lucky for my clients (and their wedding party attendants) I am a sensible and understanding woman and I choose to delete any of those wardrobe-malfunction style images asap.
My job is to be a people watcher; to photograph a wedding as a fly on the wall, unless needed to give direction during a formal photo session. My job is to watch the entire day go by through my camera viewfinder and capture the moments as they happen. It’s quite a shame when what could be a beautiful moment gets interrupted by someone hiking up their dress, tucking in side-boob or flat out spilling out of their dresses. This goes for brides, bridesmaids and any other lady who is deciding to sport a strapless gown. There are a lot of ways to ruin your wedding photos and sporting an ill-fitting strapless gown is one of them.
I’m no fashion expert, but what I’ve learned about dresses over the years does deserve to be shared with others as hopefully what you read today can help you avoid any embarrassing moments in the future.
You need to understand gravity. Breasts can be heavy – the larger they are the heavier they are. They naturally want to fall downwards and unfortunately, this isn’t all that flattering as most gals want at least a little bit of a push upwards. If you’re anything larger than a B-cup, it’s best to choose a dress that has boning in it around the waist as this will help the dress hold things up as opposed to succumbing to the forces of gravity. C-cup and up ladies need to have the right undergarments, too, but I won’t touch on undergarments here… more on those later!
You need an exceptionally toned back; especially as cup-size increases. Some dresses have a higher back that others. It’s important to choose a dress that falls on the most toned part of your back. Keeping your chest well fitting into the dress, even with proper undergarments and boning, means that the dress itself needs to be quite snug. “Snug” isn’t always a good thing if your dress falls on an area where you happen to have a little extra cushioning. Remember – you’ll be photographed from all angles during your wedding day. You want your dress to look it’s best on you from all angles, not just the front!
Just because a lot of dresses ARE strapless doesn’t mean yours has to be. Seriously ladies, there are so many beautiful dresses out there with straps of all kinds. Explore other options! You can even have a seamstress create straps for an otherwise strapless dress.
If you don’t typically wear strapless dresses on a regular basis, don’t automatically choose one for your wedding. I think this is pretty self explanatory. If you don’t love strapless enough to actually wear the style on a regular basis, you might want to forgo it on your wedding day.
Undergarments are a must. A properly fitting strapless bra is great for ladies who are A and B cups. Once you get larger than a B-cup, a strapless bra will do nothing but squish you into yourself as opposed to lifting you and supporting you. Ladies with a C-cup or larger should opt to purchase a full bustier for under their dresses. The extra boning in the bustier will help ensure lift as well as support. Couple the bustier with a sturdy, re-enforced dress bodice and now you can start to feel a little more secure.
Be aware of your cycle; it can affect the dresses fit! If you find that your cup size is relative to where you are in your cycle, it may be best to avoid strapless altogether and opt for another style. Hormone fluctuations can cause your bust to be larger and suddenly you won’t fit into your well-tailored dress anymore. Straps are more forgiving when it comes to slight changes in bust size.
Try your dress on a week before… yes bridesmaids, I’m talking to you! It’s not just the bride who needs to do one last fitting. All bridesmaids should also put on their dress with the undergarments they plan on wearing on the wedding day. The vast majority of wardrobe malfunctions I see are actually the bridesmaids and not the bride.
To the bride who is choosing the style of dress she wants her bridesmaids to wear…. just don’t! Unless you’re lucky enough to have bridesmaids with the exact same proportions and measurements, there’s a pretty darn good chance that you’ve got a variety of ladies with a variety of different body types. Please be sensitive to this – you want your friends to look their best AND feel great, right? “I want all the pictures to look the same” isn’t a valid argument if the bridesmaids don’t feel comfortable in their dresses – they’ll be forceably smiling and their body language will show their discomfort if you force them into a uniform they don’t feel good in.
To the bridesmaids who were given the luxury to pick out their own style of dress… Are you a C-cup or larger? Unless you are one of the lucky ladies who seems to have an anti-gravity forcefield around her bust, don’t get the strapless. Just don’t.
To the wedding guests who like to hit up the dance floor – if you like dancing, make sure your attire if appropriate for it. Use your imagination to figure out why.
While a strapless dress is seen as a ‘classic’ style, most ladies don’t have a ‘classic’ body type – we are built in a variety of super sexy shapes and sizes and wearing the right dress for your body will help you feel beautiful and look stunning in your photos.