With so much to plan and prepare in the run up to a wedding, couples need to trust their photographer implicitly in order to allow them the access and freedom to photograph the wedding day as it unfolds. I therefore thought it might be useful to write a series of blog posts over the next few weeks which detail weddings from my perspective as the photographer. My aim is to give a bit of an insight into some of the many, many aspects that I am focussing on throughout the day, some of which you probably haven't even thought about!
Let me start with the bridal prep and break it down to its individual parts. Not everyone chooses to have their morning preparations covered and, of course, that is completely up to you. I can understand that having an extra person in the room when you are likely to be feeling the most nervous isn't everyones idea of fun! However, if you are on the fence about requesting photographs of your preparation then let me talk you through how I approach the bridal preparations and the types of photograph that you can expect to be captured.
The hair and makeup are likely to be the first thing you think about when it comes to bridal prep and of course, they are a large part of the photographic coverage. The way I look at it is that I'm there to be a fly-on-the-wall - to document what is going on without getting in the way. The hair and makeup artists are there to do a job after all! These shots are hardly ever posed, I simply watch and wait for the right moment. This is your time to be pampered and take a breath before the rest of the day so I understand you don't want a camera constantly being clicked in your face!
I often take the time to add extra layers into these photos by trying to find angles to capture details in the background. Mirrors are a great way for me to do this and, if I'm really lucky, I can create a whole story in just one image. Take the image below for example. Not only did I manage to capture the Bride having her hair perfected but her dress is hanging on the wardrobe in the background whilst her Dad can be seen in the mirror proudly watching on.
During the morning preparations is the perfect time for me to capture a photograph (or five!) of the dress. Whilst you are enjoying being pampered, I try and sneak away to grab some photos of the dress. Here's a top tip - make sure your dress is hanging on a nice hanger ahead of time as black plastic hangers really don't look great against a beautiful dress!
I always aim to get a full length shot of the dress in all its glory. However, if space is tight then I focus on the details instead. The likelihood is that you have spent weeks searching for the perfect dress and have shelled out a pretty penny for it so I think you'll agree that it deserves a few photographs by itself!
Another important element that I try and capture during the bridal prep is the bouquet.
There is a very high probability that your bouquet will be delivered to you during the morning preparations. If you have a bouquet of fresh flowers then this is THE best time to photograph it while it is looking its very best. Most bouquets are made of hardy flowers to ensure they look good throughout the day but as soon as you take those flowers out of the water, they are going to start getting thirsty. This is why I always try and grab some photos as early as possible. Sometimes I don’t take it very far - photographing the bouquet in situ sometimes tells a much more interesting story.
If I don’t get the chance to photograph the bouquet first thing then, no matter, I often get time later in the day to grab some more stylised photos of the bouquet if required.
Lets not forget that there are lots of other details crying out to be photographed during the bridal prep - the shoes, jewellery, perfume etc…
I naturally keep an eye out for these additional details but, if you have any items of particular significance that you want photographed, be sure to have them ready and let me know where they are. I like to use the immediate vicinity to capture these detail shots - using the location where you are getting ready as a backdrop for these details will provide additional memories and, if you are getting ready at home, then this makes it even more poignant.
The morning preparations aren’t just about the “details” even though this is probably the reason why many people choose to have coverage during this part of the day. The people (and in some cases, the animals!) are just as important - the people you spend this part of the day with are going to be some of your closest friends and relatives so it makes perfect sense to capture lots of candid images during the preparation to help you remember those moments in the years to come.
It's time for the final touches. After taking photos of the dress hanging up and all of the other little details, it's time to focus on how everything comes together - the dress being done up, the final spritz of perfume, putting on your shoes etc...
If you don't factor in enough time then this has the potential to be the most frantic part of the morning. Rest assured, I always keep an eye on the clock as we edge ever closer to your departure time to keep you informed so that we avoid any panic. You deserve the time to enjoy these final moments before saying "I do".
The final part of the bridal preparations, and the part that is guaranteed to be the most emotional is THE REVEAL!
I often receive requests for me to capture the expression of the Father of the Bride when he sees the Bride in her dress for the first time. TOP TIP - if you want this reaction to be honest and emotional, let your Dad know that I will be in the room taking photos. The last thing you want is for his attention to be diverted away from you because there is a camera clicking away in the corner!
I always think that this moment is a beautiful thing to capture if there is time (and if its something you want captured then I will do my very best to keep you on track during the rest of the morning preparations). It can also be fun to do the reveal with your bridesmaids - I find it easiest to line them up where I know I can see their faces and get them to close their eyes ready for the big moment.
And there you have it, the seven elements that I try and focus on during bridal preparation. Have I convinced you to have a photographer there to capture this part of the day? If you're interested in enquiring about my availability then please drop me a line here. Or, if you found this article useful, pin it to Pinterest using one of the images below.