The getting ready moments are some of my favorite times of a wedding day to photograph. The bride and groom haven’t seen each other yet, and the air is buzzing with excited energy. The smell of hairspray, perfume, and powder fills a chattery room of best friends anxiously awaiting the rest of the day’s events. The dress hangs for all eyes to see, patiently waiting to be walked down the aisle.
I have shot weddings in all kinds of locations, and with that a myriad of different getting ready environments have ensued. Once the venue is selected and the bride is getting hair and makeup underway, it’s up to the photographers to make the best of the situation we step into. With a little communication and planning between the bride and her photographer, however, the getting ready photos can be prepared for in a way that will enhance the photos, rather than distract.
Here are a few of my best tips to help get amazing, classy getting ready photos:
When I say I swoon over dreamy, soft, natural light, I’m not lying. In fact, I have been known to call light “yummy” on a regular basis, because great light makes me feel just as good as great food. When choosing where to get ready, do your best to find a room with big windows that can let in as much natural light as possible. White or lightly painted walls that can reflect light is an extra bonus! Big windows provide lots of light that both your photographer and make-up artist will thank you for and will make you and your bridesmaids look your very best.
Put a bride, her mom, a bunch of bridesmaids, a hairstylist, make-up artist, and a photographer (or two) in one room and what do you get? Lots and lots of stuff. Instead of turning the room into an episode of Hoarders, designate a corner of the room for everything that makes the room look messy – clothes, shoes, duffle bags, gifts, curling irons, deodorant, etc. The best images of a bride getting into her dress are the ones that don’t have a half-eaten sandwich and exploding suitcase in the background. Also, if there is a bed in the room – make it. Two minutes of clean up makes a world of difference in the outcome of your photos!
Mom, bridesmaids, grandma – anyone that will be helping you into your dress should be ready to go for the wedding by the time you are ready to put that bad boy on! These make prettier pictures that everyone can look back on and feel great about. This also ensures that we are able to get bridal party pictures done on time, and keeps the rest of the day from feeling rushed!
One of the most helpful things a bride can do for their photographer is to have their rings (bride’s and groom’s), bouquet, shoes, jewelry, dress, and invites ready and waiting in the room with them. This makes getting the detail shots quick and easy for the photographer, and leaves the rest of the day to focus on you!
If you are anything like me, you know the two things that can turn you from cheerful and bubbly to short fused and moody are lack of sleep, and waiting too long to eat. Add nerves, anticipation, and any wedding day stress that might come your way, next thing you know you’ve forgotten to eat lunch, and it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Your photos will reflect how you feel, so instead of looking back and thinking “Wow, I really didn’t look excited to get married!” – go to bed early the night before, and have lunch delivered. Better yet, have a little buffet bar for you and your posse to much on through the morning! Trust me, you (and everyone around you) will be much happier with how your day goes, and how your photos turn out!
The getting ready portion of the day easily has the most emotions wrapped up in it – nerves, excitement, anticipation, joy, tears, laughter… everything! Have a playlist of some of your favorite tunes handy to help calm the nerves and keep any tension at ease.