How To Get Great Wedding Photos – Part Two – Getting Ready


Bridesmaids having fun during their getting ready photos

Getting ready for your wedding is a really memorable occasion, so part two of my series on how to get fantastic wedding photos will cover the activities of this busy morning, and give you a few tips to get great wedding photos.

Bride: Getting ready photos often cover the final stages of you and your bridesmaids getting your hair and makeup done. We love to get some great photos of the bride and her bridesmaids having a glass of champagne and having some fun. We then cover the bride getting into her dress, lacing up the gown, and the attachment of any veil or hairpiece.

Groom: The groom and the groomsmen just need to be showered, shaved, hair done, and have pants on by the time the photography team arrive. The rest can be done on camera. Buttoning up his shirt, adjusting a collar, putting cufflinks on, putting a tie on, placing his jacket on, and attachment of the boutonniere to his lapel. 

Following the getting dressed portion of photos is individual portraits of the bride/groom, group photos of the bridesmaids/groomsmen with the bride/groom and then any family photos. Whilst there is always family photos taken after the ceremony, the getting ready period also offers the opportunity to get some more candid and different family combination photos.

If you missed last week’s post on How to Get Great Wedding Photos before the Wedding Day, go back and read it first.

1. Choose a nice place to get ready, and keep it clean

Getting ready is a big part of a wedding day, and this time can produce some beautiful images of you and your bridal party and family. Whether you are getting ready at home or in a hotel make sure you have a done a quick tidy up prior to the wedding day. Clear any clutter, and remember to clean mirrors and tabletops as these can be used for some great reflection shots. Photoshop has limitations and your photographer will be able to get more photos of better quality if your getting ready address is tidy and clean.

2. Have any items that you wish to be photographed out ready for your photographer prior to their arrival

Things that are commonly photographed as part of the details of your wedding day preparation include:

  • rings (make sure any rings have been cleaned the day prior)
  • watches
  • other jewellery
  • garter
  • dress
  • shoes
  • belt
  • cuff links
  • tie pins
  • special hair accessories
  • veil
  • perfume/aftershave bottle
  • bouquets
  • wedding invitation

3. Start getting ready early

Weddings are a stressful event for most couples, and therefore you don’t want small delays like traffic or wardrobe malfunctions to ruin your day. Commence getting ready an approximately one hour earlier than you originally planned. This will allow you to relax and take your time getting ready. It will also allow you to spend some more quality time with members of your bridal party.

4. Allocate enough time for hair and makeup

Consult with your hair and makeup artist to determine the time they require to have all hair and makeup done prior to the arrival of your photographer. If you wish to have some photos with any family members prior to the ceremony, ensure they are also ready before the arrival of your photographer. I advise all brides to have add a 30-45 minute fudge factor into the day’s timetable. For example if your photographer is due at 12pm, tell your hair and make up artist that everybody needs to be ready no later than 11:30am. From experience, hair and make up artists typically run 30-45 mins behind the scheduled time – this is normal and you really want to anticipate this so that you don’t become stressed when hair and makeup is not finished at the original scheduled time.

Orange faces with a white wedding gown can be difficult to correct in Photoshop, particularly in your facial makeup does not match your overall skin tone on the rest of your body. This can be avoided if you have a makeup trial prior to the wedding. Have a friend take a photo with you wearing a white shirt and see if you have a result that you will be happy with for your wedding photos.

Allocate enough time for hair and makeup

5. Allocate time to get into your wedding dress

This is particularly important if your wedding dress requires lacing up. Getting dressed can take up to 30 minutes for a bride with an elaborate dress. Speak with your photographer if you wish this to be covered in the photography package. Some brides prefer to be in their dress with only accessories to be captured by the photographer, while others wish to have the whole event captured.

Allocate enough time to get into a lace up wedding gown. It can take in excess of 30 mins!

 6. Have plenty of easy to eat (non messy) food available

Many brides end up dizzy on their wedding day because they have forgotten to eat anything prior to the reception. Why not treat yourself to a beautiful healthy breakfast and then have some pre-made sandwiches and nibbles prepared by a caterer or a family member to have whilst you and your bridal party are getting ready.

Here are some healthy finger food options for eating on your wedding day whilst you are getting ready.

 7. What to drink

Well for most this bride’s this is easy – Champagne of course! Just make sure you have plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages available. Small amounts of alcohol can definitely help to relax the bridal party and can add to the enjoyment whilst getting ready. Just don’t overdo the amount that you drink. You want to remember this day for the rest of your life and no amount of Photoshop can remove the look of intoxication.

8. Allow time for getting ready photographs

I recommend at least 1.5 hours at the groom’s house followed by 2 hours at the bride’s house (or getting ready address). This allows for a more relaxed environment to get some more candid moments as well as some more formal photos if you desire. Speak to your photographer and they can help you plan your timetable so that adequate time has been allocated.

Guys - Practice how to tie your tie

Whilst this can add great amusement for all wedding photographers if you haven’t learnt how to tie your tie before the big day, it can also add stress if you are running late. There are so many different ways to tie your wedding day tie, but most ways are specific to the type of tie you are wearing. Real bow ties can be especially difficult. This website has some great diagrams to help you tie some of the most common wedding ties such as a Double Windsor.

If you want to know how to tie a bow tie or other exotic ties try this guide.

10. Bride - First Look with your Dad

Consider keeping your Dad away during the getting ready period and organise for a First Look reveal with him once you are completely ready. Your photographer can help you set this up in advance. These images with your Dad can be some of the most precious as he sees his ‘little girl’ ready to be handed over from one family into another.

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