Bridal preparation is a great part of the day! For me as a photographer I enjoy capturing the moments because they help in crating a wonderful visual story of your wedding day.
Upon arriving at the bridal prep venue, whether bride’s house or a hotel, I would usually introduce myself to all the bridesmaids and family. I’d then ask if someone could show me where the dress is hanging up along with details like the shoes, flowers, and any jewellery and gifts that the bride might want to have photographed.
The dress... It’s one of the most important parts of the day, probably the first thing thought about when planning the wedding, so I definitely want to get a beautiful shot of it hanging up before it gets worn.
I would always ask the bride before moving the dress, but usually it would need to be moved to a more photogenic location. After having a look around the house or hotel room for a good location with nice natural light, I would request help from a bridesmaid in moving the dress and removing any protective packaging. I bring along a nice coat hanger in case the dress is hanging on a standard plastic coat hanger and take a full length shot of the dress and then some close-ups of the details.
With the flowers, again it is worth asking if it’s ok to move them out of their container and find a nice background. Like the flower bouquet, the shoes deserve to have a beautiful photo as well. I will often shoot them near where I have photographed the flowers as having a similar background will look nice if put together in a wedding album afterwards.
With jewellery, I usually try and find a well lit room with lots of natural light and photograph them with a macro lens against a plain background like a white duvet - you won’t be able to tell it’s a duvet afterwards! I think it’s also a nice touch to ask which perfume the bride is wearing and to get a photo of the bottle. The images may not be particularly interesting in themselves but as a collection they help build the story and bring back memories when viewed years afterwards.
After photographing all the details, I would return to where all the action is taking place and capture the atmosphere and candid moments of the bride and bridesmaids having make-up applied, toasting each other with champagne etc.
When the bride is almost ready, I ask if she is planning on doing a first look with everyone (particularly her dad). It can be a lovely moment and make for emotional images.
I position myself at the bottom of the stairs, or just to the side of the father of the bride so that I can swing between getting photos of the pride and emotion on his face as he sees his daughter as a bride for the first time and also capture the bride making her entrance.