Wedding photography has evolved in recent years. Wedding couples have moved away from posed wedding photography to a more natural, organic, photojournalistic wedding photography. Documentary style wedding photography captures the look and feel of a wedding day in a candid way, allowing moments to happen. Some of the most powerful moments in a wedding day actually happen during the very beginning of the day. As a wedding photographer, I can say some of my favorite wedding moments happen during the “getting ready” pictures.
The Beauty of Getting Ready Pictures
If you’re not familiar with the idea of “getting ready” pictures, it refers to the candid coverage of the moments leading up to the wedding ceremony. These beautiful, quiet moments are filled with anticipation and hope. They showcase a perfect balance of anxiety and love as the bride and the groom separately prepare for the big day ahead. Getting ready pictures vary greatly between wedding couples, but the same is true for all couples: the sweet moments ahead of the ceremony tell a beautiful story. A story worth capturing and remembering long after the wedding day has passed.
I’m such a fan of getting ready pictures that I have made it a point to photograph both the bride and the groom getting ready. This adds to the importance of a second photographer since, alas, I don’t have the power to be in two places at once. In order to help my brides and grooms to get the best getting ready pictures, here are five things you need to know to ensure you capture the very best moments before you get to the altar.
1. Find the Right Light for the Best Getting Ready Pictures
In my work as a wedding photographer in Los Angeles, the most important thing, above all else is LIGHT. Natural light enhances wedding stories like nothing else. In fact, natural light is the best light for any occasion, and weddings are no exception to the rule. Traditionally, getting ready starts pretty early during the day. The early morning light is just perfect for warm, streaming natural light. When thinking of where you’ll be getting ready, choose the location very carefully. Look at the windows and when the light comes in. Finding the right light is key. Plus, your makeup artist will be happy to have the natural light to work with as well!
2. A Great Location Makes for Great Getting Ready Pictures
Tying in with my first getting ready pictures tip, think about where you will be getting ready. Try to find a nice place to get ready before the wedding begins. Nowadays, there are plenty of nice Bed and Breakfasts or Airbnb locations filled with beautiful, natural light that could truly elevate the moments before the wedding. Think about places with big, bright windows, interesting, quirky woodwork, and great architectural details. Think about staircases, front porches, and window seats. The more interesting the location, the more interesting the getting ready pictures become!
Many brides prefer to have their whole squad of bridesmaids at their side while getting ready. Make sure to consider this while scouting the perfect place for getting ready. You want to have enough space for everyone to be able to get ready, then for everyone to relax and sip some champagne while getting into your gowns.
Some brides prefer to stick to a known place (like a relative’s house) for getting ready, and there is nothing wrong with that. Getting ready in your own home or a childhood home with memories can add an entirely new level of emotional value to your wedding pictures. When in doubt, make sure your wedding photographer has checked the place before the big day.
3. Keep the Getting Ready Area Tidy
When it comes to getting ready, sometimes it can get a bit cluttered. When you think about all the people, the makeup, the hair equipment and the thousands of bobby pins that go into making a spectacular wedding day look, it isn’t easy to keep the area tidy for pictures! Make sure that everything is clean and tidy.
Look for locations with large windows that will make it easier for natural light to bathe you with all its golden glory. Then, have a plan to keep the space neat and tidy. If using a private home, make sure that the area you’ll be getting ready in is free from clutter and décor that might otherwise get in the way of your photography.
Make sure that any other wedding vendors helping the wedding party prepare are aware that the photographer will be documenting the getting ready part of the day. That way, the vendors will be aware of the photographer’s presence and can make sure they don’t interfere in the most important moments. Working beside hair-stylists and makeup artists is always a pleasure. It delivers the best getting ready candid shots, but make sure that you pick a wide enough place for all the people to fit in.
4. Ask for Help
Wedding planners are the best for suggesting locations, but you can still ask your friends and family for opinions about places. Don’t forget about your loved ones! Sometimes, including other people in the whole preparation process could be a lifesaving choice! Asking for help and sharing the load is a great way to keep calm on your wedding day.
Don’t hesitate on asking your wedding photographer, too if you are not absolutely sure about the best places for getting ready pictures. Professional wedding photographers have plenty of experience, and we know which places work best for the expected shots.
5. Trust Your Wedding Photographer
When it comes to getting the best getting ready pictures, or really—for all your wedding photography, it’s important to trust your wedding photographer. If you have a specific concept in mind, then you should plan it ahead with your wedding photographer. That will give your concept the best chance of being realized exactly as you envision. If you choose the right wedding photographer, you can trust them with your ideas, your dreams, and the vision you have. Chances are, your wedding photographer will be right on board with those visions and can help you make them a reality.
There are so many things you can do during the ‘getting ready’ pictures to make them unique. From staging a first look with the bride’s father to having a pillow fight with the bridesmaids, any idea you have for how to make your moments before the wedding ceremony fun and unique is worth sharing. If you are not sure about what you really want, but you know that you are in pursuit of something unique, then tell your wedding photographer! Having visual references in hand is a nice way for making this creative task an easier thing for any photographer!
Sometimes, the flow of the wedding day just doesn’t allow for the time for getting ready pictures. They are by no means mandatory as a part of your wedding day, but the great benefit you will get is the candid set of photos that will tell a real story about your big day.
Just look at wedding pictures around you, and you’ll see the difference between only looking at photos of the main event and seeing the whole story behind the big day, from the very beginning to the very end. The emotions, the smiles, and the excitement that builds for the day during the getting ready images is something so beautiful to reflect on after the wedding.
Feel free to schedule a free consultation, I’d be happy to share my know-how!