How to - Get better Getting Ready photos on your Wedding Day
As every Bride is different, every wedding day is different but with ALL weddings, the preparation time is FUN and exciting. But it does come with its challenges for Wedding Photographers. There’s all sorts of situations to deal with so I thought I’d share some tips, tricks and ideas to assist you to make the choices and decisions that will help make your Preparation photos amazing.
Location, Location, Location…
So, if you live in a small apartment, with not much room and no windows, then you should consider getting ready at a friend or relative’s house or a Hotel suite with lots of room and LOTS of natural light. I LOVE lots of light!
We’re so fortunate in the Hunter Valley that we have so many B&B’s, Hotels and Resorts but always inspect them before the Wedding Day. When you take into account there will be you, your bridesmaids, family members and two photographers (and a videographer if you’re hiring one), then it will become very crowded, very quickly.
Ideally, it would be great to choose a location close to the Ceremony (in case you’re running late) and this brings me to the Groom’s getting ready location, too. It’s best that he’s no more than fifteen minutes away from where you’re getting ready. This won’t put a strain on your timeline and cause one of you to have to get ready WAY before the ceremony). A lot of Hotels/Resorts cater for this so that you don’t see each other before the Ceremony (unless you’re doing a First Look which is both beautiful and romantic, not to mention, intimate)
Keep it clean
Images that have less clutter in them are the best. Enlist one of your bridesmaids or family members (or housekeeping) to make the bed and clear up the room before we start shooting the getting ready photos. We prefer to shoot near window light, so it would be wonderful if this was tidy, because although we will always try to get the best perspective/angle, we won’t Photoshop out clothes or mess on the floor (unless you want that). We’re there to document your day, not tidy up.
Less is best
Even though they want to be there, it’s best to restrict the number of people present while you’re getting ready. We always take family photos after the Ceremony (this will be in a future post) but if this is a cultural thing and you really want immediate/extended family with you, we will accommodate that. Bear in mind, the more people with you, the more difficult it is to control and can compromise the quality time/photographs you have of the getting ready stage.
Hair & Makeup
Because all Brides want to look amazing on their Wedding day, this time is very important BUT it can make be quite challenging getting good preparation photos. The Hair & Makeup artists I’ve worked with in the past want their clients to look their very best and are wonderfully creative, but a lot of them tend to run late. Keeping that in mind, you don’t want to have your photos taken with no makeup and your hair all over the place, and there’s only SO many photos that you want with your hair in rollers or getting the makeup applied to your face. I prefer your hair & makeup to be almost finished by the time I arrive, if the Hair and Makeup artist is running a little late (and they generally are) I will get the detail shots (rings, bouquets, shoes, etc) and then capture the finishing touches of your transformation.
Another thing to keep in mind, is how long it takes to get into your dress… SO many times, I’ve been in the situation where the Bride is due to leave, her hair and makeup is still getting done and the dress is a “lace up”. First, try your dress on before the day preferably with one of your bridesmaids, so that she can have a practise helping you (really important). Next, TIME how long it takes to put it on and then you can communicate this to both the Hair & Makeup Artist (and Me). By getting the hair and makeup finished early, we have plenty of time to capture a relaxed, happy Bride (running late makes unhappy Brides) getting casually into her dress, with her relaxed and happy Bridesmaids around her. This is also a lovely time to get photos with your immediate family, before the Ceremony.
There is another very important point, here. ALWAYS hire a professional Hair & Makeup artist and always have a trial run, first. Please don’t have a friend do your hair & makeup; unless she (or he) does it for a living. A professional will always know the importance of the timeline and won’t have to do (and redo) the makeup or hair, putting a strain on the Wedding day and causing you to miss out on those relaxed and happy (see how I’m stressing the point, here?) photographs of you with your girls, before you get married.
I love it when the girls are all in matching dressing gowns, and I really love to capture that, but educate your Bridesmaids to be showered and ready so that they dress quickly and easily (just so you didn't get that... quickly) after this photo opportunity so they can be ready to help you get into your dress. Remember!! This day is ALL about you and your Husband (to be)!!
Let’s get detailed…
So that I don’t have to unnecessarily disturb you while you’re getting your hair & makeup done, it really helps if you unpack your wedding clothes, accessories & jewellery and set them out nicely somewhere near where you’re getting ready. If you do this the night before and have one of your Bridesmaids in charge (let her know what you want photographed, where everything is and what it means to you), then we won’t need to bug you. We want you to be chilled out and relaxed (preferably with a glass of champagne, or water) and not worrying about us!!
The best thing to do is hang your wedding dress up somewhere nice (and clean) to make sure the creases drop out. Get the Bridesmaids to hang their dresses the night before, as well. On a table, put out your wedding jewellery, shoes, perfume, garter, an invitation and any other wedding accessories that you might have ready to be photographed.
For the guys, get them to take all the suits out of their bags, unpack their shoes, cufflinks, ties or bow ties, belts, etc and put them out on a table or side table somewhere.
Let’s hear it for the Boys
SO… if the boys tell you it’s only going to take them less than five minutes to get ready… let ME tell you it’s not true… They take much, MUCH, longer… They seem to take long showers, fuss over getting their hair right, they almost always have trouble tying a tie (don’t even talk to me about tying a bow tie) and almost never know how to put a boutonniere on. We’ve had all sorts of mini disasters, (which we laugh about later) but it may be best educating the boys (or having someone educate them) on all of these things BEFORE the Wedding Day and before we arrive… These include:
- Tell your Groom what time the photographer is arriving and leaving them, even write it down for him. Boys like detail, so give them as much information (in writing) so they can stick to the Routine.
- Get them to do a stocktake (checklist) the night before so they can make sure they have everything. Don’t leave it until the Wedding Day to find the Joe left his shoes at home.
- Per the “Let’s get Detailed” point, get them to take all the suits out of their bags, unpack their shoes, cufflinks, ties or bow ties, belts, etc and put them out on a table or side table somewhere close to where they’re getting ready.
- The boys usually will have had a big night the night before, so (per the “Keep it Clean” point), make sure someone comes in and gives it a good tidy up before we arrive.
- Most important, the boys must be showered, with their pants and shirts on before we get there.
The aim of this post is to help, educate and alleviate any unnecessary stress about what to expect on your Wedding Day… if any of my past Brides think I’ve missed anything or think I should ADD anything, post in the comments below!
Thank you for stopping by….