If there's anyone who knows how to look good through a lens — and help other men do the same — it's the Fab Five of Queer Eye. So, why not let them "queer eye your guy" for those engagement and wedding photos that will be seen by family, friends, and strangers in really long lines at the grocery store? Your future husband wants to look his best, but he's likely never been part of a photoshoot before now. (The high school senior portrait with his arms crossed leaning against a tree doesn't count.)
In service of the grooms out there who may not be as accustomed to posing for selfies as you are, we called upon Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Jonathan Van Ness to do what they do best: provide QE "hip tips" for getting a man comfortable in his own skin while feeling (and photographing!) fine as all get out.
See below for their genius advice to make sure your fiancé and the camera really "click."
QE Hip Tip 1: Prep with Pep (Talk)
Before your groom can be sexy, he has to believe he’s sexy. “We spend so much time telling women—especially brides—how gorgeous they are, but we forget that men need that validation too,” says Karamo Brown, Queer Eye’s resident Culture Expert (who is recently engaged himself!). “A little pep talk before a photoshoot goes a long way once he’s in front of that camera.” If you, and maybe even your photographer, take two minutes to tell your man how dapper he’s looking, Brown swears you’ll see his self-conscious fears dissolve on the spot. “Maybe he never looks as good as the bride,” Brown jokes, “but it’s about giving him the confidence to realize— ‘You know what? I belong in these photos too.’”
QE Hip Tip 2: Play Patty-Cake
Want the secret for those natural-seeming “fun” shots? "Be silly as hell," instructs Brown. “For the groom’s poses, it’s about being stoic and strong,” he says (That means standing tall with shoulders back, chin up, and a tight, supportive hold on your partner), “but it’s also being playful.” Brown recently told a gal pal shooting her engagement photos to play patty cake with her beau. “They felt like dorks, but those photos were some of the best they took because they were laughing in pure joy,” he says. “Actually doing something takes you out of your own head. Find moments where you can disconnect from the camera and just enjoy being around each other.”
QE Hip Tip 3: Fix Your Fake Smile
If your fella hears, “Cheese” and suddenly a painful-looking grimace a la school picture day appears on his face, Brown has a solution: “I’d tell him, ‘Do your best to forget about the camera and remember the person you’re marrying.’” Instead of concentrating on The Smile, look at who you’re about to spend the rest of your life with and think about what convinced you to do that in the first place. Brown says, “You’ll smile sincerely when those memories flood your head, and there will be a natural ease that comes over you.”
QE Hip Tip 4: Be a #BasicBro
Some clothing pieces are simply more photo-friendly than others, says Tan France, the Fab Five’s fashion authority. “Don’t go for super bright colors like yellow,” he tells grooms. “It may seem cool and trendy now, but it’s a color you’re going to regret in a few years’ time.” Instead, he prefers a darker suit (black or navy) for wedding and formal engagement photo ensembles. “You want a simple base, and then you can throw in other pieces — plaid undershirt, printed tie, pocket square, a great shoe or sock — that are going to add the personality,” France says. (Avoid too small of checks or plaid as they moray on camera, and pasty guys should stay away from pinks and reds because, “they’re going to make you look more flushed than you want to.”)
Having doubts about a look’s “timeless” potential? “Err on the side of caution and stick to classic,” France says. "A lot of young grooms want to show off, but I guarantee you that khaki green won’t be the hot color forever.” He also warns against going too over the top with personality moments: “It’s going to mean well, but you’re going to look like an overproduced hipster in a couple years.”
QE Hip Tip 5: Layer Up
Layered clothing is like a wearable 401k; it says “I’ve got my life together,” secures your future with a lady, and impresses the people around you. “Nobody wants to see an engagement photo with you in your ratty jeans and t-shirt,” France says. “Go for layers and you’re always going to look like you made more of an effort.” Adding a blazer, jacket, or sweater instantly dresses up an outfit, as does a properly-fitting pant—even if it’s jeans, France explains. And for footwear? “I love a boot,” he says. “It’s an easy transition for all surroundings — not too casual, not too formal. You look like you’re off to your engagement photos, even if you’re going down to a pub with your friends afterward.”
QE Hip Tip 6: Get a Routine — Quick!
Jonathan Van Ness, the grooming guru of Queer Eye, ideally wants grooms preparing for their photos a whole year in advance. “Getting married is a good time to revaluate all of your relationships,” he says. “Have you had the same hair-cut since seventh grade? Have you found products that work for your skin? You need time to experiment.”
For skin, "at the bare minimum, start using a moisturizer, eye-cream, and sunscreen on the daily," Van Ness says.
What if it’s already the last minute? “Stay the course and avoid drastic changes,” says Van Ness. “You don’t wanna get risky and play it fast and loose the week before.” This applies to hair cutting, dying (“We don’t want a shoe polish situation.”), and your skincare regimen: Van Ness says, “If you’re messing with any aggressive exfoliates, laser treatments, or detoxifying masks, give yourself at least three weeks so you’re not encouraging stuff to come to the surface of your skin right before photographs.”
QE Hip Tip 7: Consider Man Make-Up
On his wedding day, your husband-to-be is likely the most nervous and most excited he's ever been. For either of those reasons, or both, he may be perspiring — a lot. "Blotting pads are great in case you get sweaty or oily,” says Van Ness. “But don't rub. It’s a slow methodical blot: set the pad on your skin and let it absorb, then move it to the next location.” To keep your skin from looking too shiny, Van Ness loves Cover FX’s Mattifying Setting Spray. You can also add Cover FX's Mattifying Primer to your normal moisturizer, Van Ness says. “Just a few drops of that actually calms down the oil production on the face throughout the whole day.”
Watch Season 2 of Queer Eye, now available on Netflix.