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Things in mind when you shoot getting ready

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

After months of planning, your wedding day is finally here and it’s time to get ready! If you’ve spent any time glancing through real wedding blogs, you may be under the assumption that the getting ready process is always smooth and relaxing.  Tell me if this sounds familiar; perfect images of bridesmaids in matching robes whose hair and makeup are flawless, pouring champagne in a spotless hotel room while shared laughter abounds. While this scene isn’t entirely unrealistic, the pictures never show the work it takes togetto that point.  As a wedding photographer, I typically arrive to find the getting ready room in shambles with hair and makeup running late and a bride who’s about to lose her mind!  I can even speak from experience, as my own wedding prep was extremely stressful. My hair appointment ran almost an hour late, which resulted in a mad dash to the church where I quickly threw on my dress, forgot my vows, and hurried to the aisle with only two minutes to spare (my amazing wedding photographer actually retrieved my vows from the car after we started the processional). I never even got a chance to look in a mirror and see myself in my dress with my hair and makeup done!  After years of photographing weddings and seeing the same thing happen to many of my brides, I’ve compiled a list of ten stress-free secrets to gorgeous getting ready wedding photos!

Number one: Time, time, time!

Allow significantly more time than you think is necessary to get ready. Nope, even more.  Waaaay more.  I realize that it only takes one minute for you to throw on a normal dress, but believe me, a wedding dress is another matter. On average, it takes my brides ten to fifteen minutes just to get their dress on! The type of dress plays a big factor here as well – if it’s just a zip-up, plan on five minutes but a lace-up or button-up will easily take ten to fifteen.

Number two:Have your photographer start at least 45 minutes prior to your makeup being done

(Your hair should already be finished at this point.)  During these 45 minutes, your photographer will photograph the details – rings, invitations, shoes, wedding dress, etc. It sounds like this shouldn’t take 45 minutes but if you want gorgeous detail images you need to give your photographer time to get her creative juices moving. With proper planning,  your photographer will finish those detail shots right as you are finishing makeup.

Number three:Window light is the best light

When searching for a venue, please take into account where the bridal party will be getting ready.  It could be a gorgeous room, but if there are no windows then photographers often have to resort to overhead lighting which is not flattering. The natural light from a window is absolutely beautiful and is pivotal to creating stunning getting ready and bridal portraits. If there is no window in your room then let your photographer know ahead of time and be prepared to be a little flexible!  I’ve been known to photograph all of the getting ready images in an entirely different location from where the bride was actually getting ready just so we could have beautiful light. Thankfully, my brides are awesome and they were all willing to go along with it and received amazing pictures as a result!

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