We’ve always felt that getting ready pictures are as important as portraits, ceremony, and reception pictures. It’s a huge chunk of the day, therefore a huge part of the story! It is so important to maintain a consistent shooting style throughout the day, for your blog, if you’re submitting for publication and especially if you want your clients to consider getting an album. Designing an album is much easier when the images are consistent, which is hugely determined by how the pictures are taken. So how the heck do you take beautiful getting ready pictures every time ? Well we are glad you asked my friend because that’s exactly what we are going to talk about today!
How to Take Beautiful Getting Ready Pictures Every Time!
First and foremost, educate your brides. As natural light photographers, we make every effort to advise our couples of things to look for in a getting ready room. Three months before the wedding, we send them an email with reminders of the little details that affect getting ready pictures. We send our couples a checklist with reminders and we do that because at the end of the day it helps us give them better and more images!
Only Three More Months
We are just a short three months aways from your wedding day! We wanted to send you a couple things that can easily fail to make the list as you scramble to get the last minute details together. These are just little friendly recommendations to keep that production value up ;-).
- Get a nice wood wedding hanger. You spend so much time, heart and money on your wedding dress and when we photograph it we want to make sure that a plastic hanger doesn’t take away from its beauty!!! There’s also shops on etsy where you can get custom hangers made with your new last name <3 . If you are going to go custom you should place those orders now.
- If you are doing any matching robes or special wear for you and your bridesmaids make sure to place those orders now to ensure that you receive in early enough to inspect them and package them if you are going to make those your gifts for the ladies.
- This is usually about the time when our brides are finalizing their getting ready location. When selecting your getting ready location, make an effort to select a location that is generous in natural light. Ideally one or more nice large windows so you can glow in that delicious natural light. On the day of the wedding , remember that we will have you step into your dress and be shooting wherever the natural light is, so we recommend to have that space free of clutter. The surest place to place all the clutter is in the bathroom since we aren’t likely to shoot in the bathroom 🙂
- Contact your florist and let them know that you’d like for them to deliver with your bouquet a few of the scraps that they had left over, if any for styling.
- Lastly but not least have the following items gathered and ready for us to start shooting as soon as we get there so that we can have more time for your getting ready pictures with your bridesmaids 😉
- hanger and wedding dress in its bag
- all three rings
- invitation suite
Okay, I know what you’re thinking “What if they don’t take our advice, then what”. Here are where our tips come in for those difficult to shoot getting ready spaces. When we arrive to a getting ready space, we assess where we are going to shoot the details and the bride stepping into the dress. If the room is very small, we gather the details and shoot them somewhere else on site. The last thing we want to do is be in their way and slow them down while getting ready. We’ll search for a spot where the lighting is nice and even.
Image above: Michael + Melissa’s Grand Bohemian Wedding
Okay details are done, now its time to get the pictures of the bride stepping into the dress. When we initially arrived we would have assessed wether the bridal room is the best place to capture the pictures of the bride to step into her dress. If we decide to do it in the room, we clear whatever remaining clutter is in the area! MAKE THE BED!!!!! You have no idea how huge of a difference making the bed makes! If you don’t have a second shooter or an assistant then get he bridesmaids to help. Trust me they want to help you just have to ask them nicely. Put away those ugly hotel phones, if the frames come off, put those bad boys away.
Image above: Adam + Noor Wedding
What if the room doesn’t have a window? Normally the grooms room is small and dark. Sometimes they get stuck getting ready in the bathroom lol. This is every photographers fear but no need to be scared!!! Well when this happens we simply take them out of that room! We’ll take the grooms outside, which is awesome because we can get the putting on of the jacket and the groomsmen pictures all in the same lighting. STORY TELLING is stronger when the lighting follows a story line too!
Images above from Frankie and Sayhe’s Cypress Grove Wedding
A lot of times the venues offer a getting ready room for the bride. Not all brides are going to want to spend extra money to get ready somewhere else, even if the room doesn’t have the ideal lighting. We totally get that! It is still our job to get the bomb pictures for her!!!! TEAM NO EXCUSES! So what do you do! First thing is to avoid split lighting! Split lighting is when you have the florescent lighting and natural lighting on the subject. It makes it so time consuming to color correct in post when half the brides face is yellow and the other side is naturally lit. If the room does have a a window make the decision on wether you are going to be able to use that natural light. If the window isn’t large enough just call it! Use your flash.
Don’t use direct flash though, thats just ugly! (In our opinion). Using direct flash when you are a natural light photographer is the surest way to kill your consistency and not in a good way! Instead bounce your flash! When you bounce your flash off a wall behind you or at a 45 degree angle it will create a soft-box effect giving the illusion of a large window. You can also add a filter on your flash and adjust your white balance to match the florescent lighting. This will allow for easier color correction in post where you can turn down the yellow evenly!!!
Image above from John + Loren’s Metrowest Golf Club Wedding
If there is an area outside of the room that has natural light and doesn’t risk the groom seeing the bride, DUDE… ask the bride if she is okay with taking pictures there instead. When your brides trust you they know that you are asking because you want to produce the best pictures possible, they know you see something that they don’t, so they usually say yes! In our 7 years of wedding photography we’ve only had one bride tell us no.
Image above Connor + Kaylee Mission Inn Wedding
At the end of the day we are the professionals and our brides do not want to hear excuses as to why their getting ready images weren’t dreamy or consistent with the portfolio they saw! Being natural light photographers, we obviously prefer the naturally lit large getting ready rooms, but that is a luxury not every bride can splurge on. Its our job to be able to take beautiful getting ready pictures every time.
Its not like we can tell the bride, well your getting ready room was dark and dingy. As long as your brides trust you they’ll go along with whatever solutions you come up with. Hopefully with these tips, now you can feel confident to produce amazing getting ready pictures regardless of the situation. You’ll know you mastered these skills when you can put a blog together using pictures of different weddings, in different venues at different times of the year and the images look like they were all taken at the same wedding, minus the people of course ;-).