More and more people are starting their wedding photography coverage with the bridal preparations. This post is to help you make the most of this time by explaining my general approach and sharing a few tips.
Upon arriving at the bridal prep venue I would usually introduce myself and then ask if someone could show me where the dress is hanging up along with details like the shoes, flowers, 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 think it’s also a nice touch to ask which perfume the bride is wearing and to get a photo of the bottle. The flower bouquet, shoes, and jewellery are also photographed. 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 get some candid photos 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 some beautiful 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.
Bridal preps are so are a ton of fun for a photographer. The atmosphere of nervous excitement leads to a wonderful collection of story setting photographs.
Here's my top three tips to help you get the best out of your bridal prep photography:
Location - If you have booked your photographer to cover bride prep spend some time considering the location. Are you getting ready in the hotel? If so ask to see the room beforehand. Make sure it’s big enough for everyone who is going to be there and there’s lot of natural light. This is really important for photographs but your hair and makeup artist will thank you too! Are you getting ready at home. That can make for wonderful images too. However, we all have a tenancy to look past the clutter and mess in our own home (I am VERY guilty of this). The last thing you are probably going to want to do the night before the wedding is do a big clean but having a quick tidy up of the rooms you are going to get ready in will make a huge difference to your images.
Little Details - make a big difference. If you and your bridesmaids are all getting ready at home why not invest in some lovely matching dressing gowns. This makes for a beautiful casual group image and no one will be self conscious about their well worn pyjamas! Get some wooden coat hangers for the dresses - they look so much better than the plastic ones. Simple things make such a huge difference.
Relax - Finally don’t be self-conscious. It’s our job as photographers to give you beautiful images. If you are not particularly loving the idea of photographs before you have your make up applied don’t panic! We’re there to capture the emotions and to document the day. The close up bridal portrait can wait until you've applied the lippy!