Top tips for better ‘getting ready’ photographs
My standard photography offering includes covering your preparations on your wedding day. This means I’ll be there to capture the wedding preparations before the ceremony, for example a bride having her hair and make up done before she gets into her dress, or capturing the gents fiddling with waistcoat buttons. Not only do these shots give you a brilliant reminder of all the fun, nervousness and adrenaline of getting ready before saying “I Do”, but they are also a great keepsake particularly as your partner won’t have seen them first hand!
Whilst you and your friends or family are getting ready for the wedding, I am usually found (or rather, not found) in the background, silently snapping away to capture lots of very natural, relaxed shots, which form part of the story of your wedding day, and this photography is sometimes known as documentary-style or reportage. If truth be told, this is one of my favourite parts of a wedding day and these candid photos are often treasured.
So, after having done quite a lot of these, I’ve put together some top tips on how you can get the best out of your surroundings to ensure better ‘getting ready’ photographs of your big day.
1.Where are you getting ready?
Chances are, you’ll either be getting ready in a suite at your venue, or at home. Sometimes you may be at a hotel or the place you’ll be staying after the wedding. In any case, to ensure really lovely photographs (and I cannot stress this enough), pick a room or space to get ready in which has plenty of light. We can’t control the weather, but having a lot of beautiful natural light cascading over a scene makes for lovely photos. I know this isn’t always possible, but where you have options, turn the lamps off, open the curtains, and position yourself near a window for your hair and make up. Most make up artists will ask you to do this anyway. Natural light is your friend, so let’s make the most of it.
2. Have a tidy up.
OK, I realise it’s your wedding day and you’re not going to be going around with the hoover. But do ask your bridal party who are with you to try and keep the getting ready space clutter-free. Keeping things tidy will ensure those beautiful, natural photographs of everyone will really pop, instead of rubbish strewn in every shot, like carrier bags stuffed everywhere or plates of uneaten toast.
3. Music to get ready by
I don’t know if you’re aware, but is in fact the law for girls to have music on whilst they are ‘getting ready’. This applies to any outing, not just weddings. So ladies, bring your iPod speakers, or crank the radio up, and get some music on in the background for some ambience, a fun atmosphere and to calm everyone’s nerves. Coupled with a glass or two of fizz, it’s actually one of the best bits of the day! But something important to note: if you are having a videographer, discuss with them ahead of the wedding day whether they are fussed if you have music on in the background or not. Some videographers frequently use ‘getting ready’ footage with other audio edited over the top, which can be a really nice effect, and this isn’t possible for them to do if there’s tinny music in the background. So if you’re going for a wedding video, check with your videographer first. If there’s no problem, crank up those tunes!
4. Eat something
So this doesn’t relate to the photos, but as someone who has got married themselves, let me tell you from experience, that even if you feel too nervous to eat, have something anyway. Once the nerves and adrenaline fall away after the ceremony, you will be STARVING! So eat some toast or a croissant at the very least, even if it’s to soak up your champagne whilst you’re having your hair done.
5. Keep an eye on the clock
I’m sure you’ll be doing this anyway, so as not to keep your beloved waiting at the altar, but also bear your timings in mind with regard to photographs once you’re in your dress, and your bridal party is completely ready. I always ask my brides to try and be ready in their dress 30 minutes before they’re due to leave for the ceremony, as it allows a short period of time for me to shoot much-requested shots of the bride in her dress, with her bouquet, and often her bridesmaids and family too, before rushing off to exchange vows!
6. Have fun!
There’s plenty of time for seriousness on your wedding day, but just remember that the getting ready can be just as fun as everything else, so eat, drink and relax, and enjoy those moments of preparation before you set off to tie the knot.