Today I’m going to cover a very exciting part of the day, & personally, one of my favourites: Getting ready. The time spent getting ready is often filled with excitement, anticipation, nerves & about every emotion you can probably think of!
As a wedding photographer, one of the best bits is to walk through the door where you are getting ready & see what the atmosphere is like. I love feeling the buzz in the air as people mill around getting ready.
It’s definitely a shame when couples decide not to have this covered as there’s always a lovely feel to this part of the day & really helps tell the full story of the day.
Whether you choose to get ready at home or at a venue, it’s a special memory that deserves it’s own place in the gallery.
I choose to photograph this part of the day the way I always shoot & that’s in a more documentary & candid style – I will chat with the people that are there as getting to know everyone involved at this stage is great way to really capture their personalities & relationships. I’ll photograph you while you are drinking champagne, panicking about lost items, the relief when you find them, having hair & make up done, getting dressed & the anticipation of the next step.
I’ll often use this time to photograph all of the details as well – the dress, the suit, jewellery, important items that are playing a part in the day, shoes & any other bits & bobs that are special to you.
Here are a few tips for you based on my experience as a wedding photographer & the way in which I work.
When to start photographing everyone getting ready
I usually start around 1 1/2 – 2 hours before you need to leave for the ceremony – this gives me plenty of time to capture the emotion, the relationships & all of the details as well.
As I don’t work with a second photographer if you do want both sides of the preparation photographed (& that’s never a problem) we will need to work out the getting ready times so I can organise to spend time with both parties.
I’ll usually leave the preparations about 15 – 20 minutes before everyone else to photograph people arriving, have a chat with the ceremony official & to familiarise myself with the layout of the room / building.
Food & Drink in the morning
This is really important. Not for me, but for you. It can be easy to skip breakfast when the nerves are rampant but you really should eat something before the ceremony. Especially if you plan on having a few champers after the ceremony (or possibly before!).
Drink plenty of water & keep hydrated – don’t think you shouldn’t drink in case you’ll need the loo – if you do, you do & if you already have your dress on then that’s what bridesmaids are for! Keeping hydrated keeps you feeling alert & if you plan on wearing lipstick it will help from keeping your lips looking dry & flaky.
The room where you are getting ready
Try & look for a room with lots of lovely natural light if possible. Not only does this help your photographer it will also help your make up & hair artists. Don’t worry if this is absolutely impossible as any good photographer can work confidently in any space & can adapt no matter what the conditions are on the day.
If the room is a nicely lit room with lots of lovely space, this will make it easier for your photographer to take some awesome, creative getting ready shots.
Seeing the details
One of the first things I do after having a quick hello chat with everyone getting ready is ask for all of the details such as dresses, suits, jewellery, flowers, cufflinks, perfumes etc) that you want photographing. I don’t just walk in & get out the camera – I will take a few moments for you to get used to me being there first. I will usually do a quick walk round of the venue or wherever you are getting ready to accustom myself to the rooms, light & space.
It’s nice for me to be able to do these first as I can assess the room, see what the mood is like & it’s good for you as it gets you used to me being there first before I start photographing all of the people.
Tidying the room
Keep in mind that as I work in a documentary style that if there is clutter in the room when you are getting ready there will be clutter in your room on the photographs. I might move the odd bottle or carry bag here & there if they are disrupting the image I am taking but for the most part I don’t move things around. If you don’t mind this (as if it’s there it’s part of the day) then great, but keep in mind if you want a clutter free look to the morning then the room needs to be clutter free.
What to wear when getting ready
Definitely wear something you feel comfortable in but also something that you want to be photographed in. The majority of your getting ready photographs will be wearing whatever it is you choose to wear before you put your wedding outfit on.
Get dressed last
Bridesmaids, ushers, family & friends should really get dressed before you – then they can help you get into your outfit. That is unless you specifically want them to be wearing something else which you may have already planned out.
How much is on show?
As a female photographer I usually encounter no issues with being in the room while you get dressed. However, you may not want me to start photographing until you are more covered up – whatever makes you feel comfortable is absolutely fine with me.
Always expect you are going to run out of time!
I see it every time, you are having a great, chilled out morning, everyone is on time & everything is running smoothly. Then like a bolt of lightening, there’s panic, a rush to get dressed & the schedule is no longer on time! Don’t worry though, just make sure to add extra time when you have your schedule planned – trust me, you will need it!
Enjoy every second!
Don’t forget to enjoy it! sounds simple doesn’t it, but believe me, it’s easy to get engulfed thinking about this & that, is it going to plan, did we remember the confetti, did we remember to invite Auntie Joan, etc!
Getting ready is such a wonderful part of the day so get a playlist on Spotify on (make one of your own as some of them are totally random!), eat, drink, relax & enjoy the atmosphere.