New blog post series!
[I]’ve decided to begin writing a series of blog posts designed to help you prepare for your wedding day and to know what to expect from your wedding photography. Unless you work in the media, or you’re a Z-list celebrity, you’re unlikely to have experience booking a photographer to follow you around for a day, so it’s not surprising if you find it all a bit daunting! I’m hoping that these blog posts will be helpful to you ahead of your wedding, and will help you to feel more prepared. My first post is about bridal preparation, which is one of my favourite parts of the day!
How your wedding day photography begins
I will start my day of wedding photography with the bride while she gets ready with her mum and bridesmaids (and whoever else happens to be there – mother in law, brother, cousin, cat, etc). This includes getting photos of all the different stages of getting ready; mainly hair and make-up, but also all the fun and shenanigans that go on through the mist of hairspray and to the sound of 90s pop songs.
My tips for bridal preparation photos
1) Get something nice to wear
This doesn’t need to be some fancy nightie with lace, silk and tassels (perhaps pom poms?). You’ll want to wear something that you’re comfortable in and looks nice. It can be pyjamas, dressing gown, shorts and a t-shirt, even a onesie can look fab. It’s just best not to wear your old, faded, unflattering PJs that may or may not have holes in unspeakable places.
2) Make sure there is plenty of natural light in the room
It really is the most flattering kind of light. It means your make-up artist will be able to see properly what you will look like outside (kind of important) and it also means that you will have the kind of beautiful, naturally lit photos that you see below without any orangey colouring that you get from electric lighting.
It’s also great if there are a few mirrors in the room where you are getting ready. This will reflect the light around the room and also makes for some fun, creative shots.
3) Try to keep the room free of clutter
Now I know this is a tricky one. When girls all gather in one room to get ready there tends to be all sorts of crap all over the place. Sandwiches, mascara, pants, empty champagne glasses, huge numbers of shoes, lipsticks, perfume bottles, pringles, bras, overnight bags, more shoes, etc. You get what I’m saying. What would be ideal is if you could create some kind of “clutter area”, where everyone can put their bags and other things so that the rest of the room looks fairly tidy for the photos.
I will still probably move things around a bit, but I’ll always keep you informed when moving anything important.
4) Have a getting ready playlist!
Pick a whole variety. These can be songs that mean something to you and your bridesmaids, perhaps the songs that you danced the night away to when you were at uni together or nostalgic songs from your childhood. You can throw in a few current favourites as well, and some songs that you want played on the dance floor later. This is sure to get everyone in the mood for a fun day (and perhaps laughing at the terrible taste in music you all had when you were 15!).
5) Put aside the items for the detail shots
It really saves time if you can put aside items for the detail shots so that they are ready when I arrive.
The details can include: your dress, shoes, veil, flowers, jewellery, garter, hair accessories, brooches, perfume, make-up, wedding stationery (invites/save the dates), etc. Make sure you have a nice hanger for your dress, and that the hanger you buy has ridges if you have thin straps (they will just slip off it otherwise!).
If there is anything else specific that is personal to you, for example, if you always wear a certain red lipstick, then it would be good to include that as well.
If there is anything interesting that you are doing with your outfit, e.g. inscriptions on the sole of your shoe, wearing your grandma’s necklace, please make sure you point these out to me so that I can document them.
Also – very important – if you receive a card or present from your fiancé, please let me know so I can document that as well. It’s nice if I can take photos as you read the card and open the present. They will be lovely memories for you!
6) Clear the room of people before you put on your dress
Just keep your mum, or your bridesmaid, whoever is going to help you put the dress on. Don’t be self-conscious of the camera, I won’t send you any photos that aren’t flattering and discrete, but if there are any you don’t like then no one else ever has to see them anyway!
When your dress is on, then you can let everyone back in, or you can go to them, and I can get some lovely shots of them when they first see you as a bride. I love this moment!
7) Plan out your timings, and allow extra time
The last thing you want on the morning of your wedding is to stress about being late. It’s better to be ready a bit early and have time to relax with a glass of champagne, or perhaps get a few more photos, than to be rushing around and worrying.
Speak to your hairdresser and your make-up artist about how long it will take for each person and then work out your timings based on that.
Remember that it is likely that I will need to leave 20-30 minutes before you do. This is so I can get to the ceremony venue in plenty of time, get some photos of the groom and groomsmen, the venue and the guests arriving, and be ready and waiting for when you arrive. So, if you know you want photos of you getting into your dress, your family and friends reactions when you’re ready, and if you want any bridal portraits or group shots before the wedding you will need to allow PLENTY of time for that.
If you decide to get a second shooter to do the groom prep…
The tips for the groom would be similar to the above with a few slight differences:
1) Depending on how brave you are, and also who your second shooter is, you may want the photography to start from when you are already half dressed (i.e. wearing shirts and trousers). If you are not fussed whether there are photos of you in your pants (!) then as long as the second shooter feels comfortable then they can document the whole getting ready process. This is something that you can work out between you on the day.
2) Again, as above, it’s useful to have plenty of natural light, mirrors and minimal clutter. A getting ready playlist is also always an excellent idea!
3) Please set aside any details of your outfit for the detail shots, such as; your shoes, tie, cufflinks, watch, the rings, your cologne, etc. Again, if you receive a present from your fiancée please let your second shooter know so they can make sure they have photos of it.
4) Make sure you leave plenty of time! If you’re ready early and there is a pub near your ceremony venue you could even pop in there for a quick drink before it all kicks off. Your second shooter would go with you too, it’s nice for the photos to really tell the story of the day.
RELAX! As long as you are organised you should be able to chill out with your favourite people around you and have a lovely time getting ready for your wedding day.
If you can think of anything else to add to this list I would love to hear about it in the comments below!