Photographers often have their tricks to get the best photos of their clients. Some of these techniques go well beyond just saying cheese. For wedding photographer Myriam Ménard, she instructs her clients to pretend to be drunk. The approach, while it might sound silly, really works. The people in her portraits look at ease and that they’re having a great time together. By telling her subjects to act intoxicated, she unlocks their natural chemistry that can sometimes freeze in front of a camera.
If the thought of a photographer telling you to act drunk makes you laugh—or at the very least smile—then you’ve tapped into why Ménard began using this approach in the first place. “I use this technique simply because I feel like people find it funny (tested so many times) and especially to have a spontaneous result,” she tells My Modern Met. “I don't want them to stand in there and wait, it's uncomfortable for most people, even me. I don't like to be photographed, so I truly want them to escape their mind.”
Once she gives the directive to act drunk, her clients’ bodies tend to relax. This is ideal because the camera captures all of the details. “The energy of a posture, of a gesture, so I take care to show people in their most relaxed aspect despite their nervousness to have their picture taken,” Ménard explains. “Moreover, most of the people (95%) who pass in front of my camera are people who have never or almost never been photographed, so this trick is a good way to immerse them in a goofy and relaxed atmosphere. This way their attention is no longer on what they think they look like but rather on the game.”
While the approach is amusing to most, Ménard is conscious of the fact that her clients may struggle with their relationship with alcohol. “I am careful to ask people first if they have bad experiences with alcohol, as I don't want to offend them by asking them something that might make them uncomfortable (e.g. an ex-alcoholic, a parent struggling with alcoholism). I am very aware that the subject can be very sensitive for some and anything but humoristic.”