I wanted to take a break from posting weddings and engagement sessions to talk about a topic close to my heart. Getting ready pictures are an often overlooked and rushed part of the wedding photography timeline, but they can offer a glimpse into the tenderness and emotion of the day. Feelings are heightened in anticipation of the events to come, and natural expressions, laughter, and tears often flow freely.
While extended reception coverage is great, and is also so much fun to photograph, I feel that there are so many storytelling moments during preparation time. I at least like to be present for the bride as she gets into her dress. Allowing an hour for bridal prep photography is recommended.
Having time set aside for photographing bridal details can help add to your story. A lot of thought and planning went into every element of your day, and these items may one day become heirlooms. It's an added bonus to document special jewelry, clothing, and even the perfume you wear on your wedding day! This is usually how I start my coverage and gives my subjects time to warm up and get used to a camera being in the room.
Fair warning - spontaneous dance-a-thons are likely to occur!
And don't forget about the guys! Even just 15 minutes with the groom and his attendants can make for some unforgettable images.
As I am shooting your wedding, I'm always thinking about the full story and how your day will look in your album. These photos will accurately convey the momentum of your day to the generations to follow. I want your grandchildren to be able to look at your photos someday and feel as if they were right there, alongside you, feeling what you felt. Getting-ready photos, with their mood of anticipation, add to your wedding day narrative and spark so many memories.
Here are some tips to make the most of your wedding-day preparation photos:
- Choose a getting-ready location with adequate natural light and ample room for you and your attendants to relax and enjoy the process. Two of my favorite local options are The Hotel Vandivort and The Walnut Street Inn. Family homes are also a nice choice, because the location has an emotional component.
- Consolidate bags, clutter, and all of the necessary things to get ready in one corner of the room so that your photos will be clear of background distractions.
- Bridesmaids and Mothers should be dressed before the bride. That way attendants will look gorgeous as they assist the bride in her bridal routine.
- Have all bridal details - jewelry, shoes, perfume, dress, etc easily accessible to me when I arrive so that I can photograph the details upon arrival.
- Have your makeup done before you get your hair done - every woman feels more confident when they are made up for photos!
- Getting-ready almost always runs behind - it's part of the day! Try not to let this stress you out, as I always pad the timeline for this, but one of the ways to avoid running behind is to not wait to have your hair and makeup done last. When I was a hairstylist/makeup artist, I always did the bride's hair and makeup in the middle of the attendants to make sure we would stay ahead of the timeline for the first look.
- For guys, all we really need to photograph are the last-minute preparations - putting on jackets, ties, shoes, etc. It's also nice to have any gifts that you are giving to your attendants available for me or my second photographer to photograph.
- Some couples prefer to get ready together, and that's great! Don't let rules or traditions hold you back from what you want for your day.
- If you have a special gift for your bride or groom, getting-ready time is a great time to have their reaction photographed. As an added bonus, your beauty team is usually available to help touch-up your makeup if the waterworks start!
- Have fun! Let the tears flow, laugh, and enjoy this time with your family and friends as you get ready together. It's one of the most enjoyable parts of the day!