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Getting ready wedding photos

Planning Your Wedding Photography – some hints and tips for getting ready

If you’re new to the blog or this series of posts, do check out my other planning your wedding photography posts.

Today I’ll be covering the getting ready part of the day.  The time you spend getting ready for your wedding is often one of the most exciting, anticipation filled parts of the day.

As a photographer when you walk through the door at a preparation address, it’s always really interesting to see what the atmosphere is like. I love it where there’s a palpable buzz and things are starting to happen.

Some couples opt not to have this part of the day covered. That’s a real shame, as it has such a lovely energy about it and is a beautiful part of the story.

Photographing your preparations unobtrusively

The people watcher in me especially loves it when couples get ready at home, as it gives the couple’s wedding day a bit of context. Where they came from, where they’re going and the wedding day as part of a whole, rather than a day that sits in isolation from normal life.

I work mostly unobtrusively during this part of the day, chatting with the people who are present, blending in and taking lots of candid shots. Capturing you drinking champagne or eating breakfast (very important!) or having hair and make up done or getting into your suit.

If you are having this part of the day photographed, here are a few tips, based on the way I work and my experience.

groom getting ready getting ready wedding photography


What time should getting ready coverage start?

I usually recommend that I start around an hour to an hour and a half before you need to leave for the ceremony.  Most of my collections include two photographers, so we can cover you getting ready at two different locations.

We usually advise that you’re ready around 30 minutes before you need to leave and it’s always best for us to travel with you where possible, so we don’t miss any part of the day.

If you want purely documentary coverage of your preparations an hour is usually plenty.  You’ll need to add a little time if you’d like still life shots of things like outfits and accessories.


Don’t forget to eat something!

Eat a good breakfast. This isn’t specifically photography related but it’s really important. Low blood sugar isn’t your friend. Especially if you’re planning on drinking champagne after the ceremony. You should also think about having some lunch before you leave.

The room where you’re getting ready

Try to get ready in a room with good levels of natural light if you can.

If you can’t, a good photographer can work around this; even the most beautiful naturally light room can be gloomy on your average UK winter day and a big part of being a photographer is being able to adapt no matter what conditions you are working with.

If you can find somewhere light and spacious to get ready,  though, it’ll be easier for your photographer to take beautiful shots.

bride looking in mirror getting ready wedding photography

Detail shots

Have any details (dresses, suits, shoes, flowers, cufflinks etc) that you want photographs of in one place. I always start by photographing these things if you’re having them covered, as it gives me time to warm up and suss out the mood. It’s nice to get these shots under my belt before I start photographing the people.


Keep it tidy

Try to keep clutter to a minimum. If there is mess in the room there will be mess in your photographs. Of course you might not mind this and I always think it’s best to get a record of things as they actually are but you might want to present a tidier image in your photos!


Wear something you’re happy to be photographed in

If you’re happy to be photographed in your Care Bear Pjs (I actually got some for Christmas but I’m not up for a photo shoot in them) then that’s cool. If you’d rather wear something a bit more refined that’s fine too. Just make sure that what every you’re wearing is something you’re comfortable to have your picture taken in.

bridesmaids in garden in dressing gowns getting ready wedding photography

Ask anyone who’s helping you to get ready first

This is especially relevant if they’re helping you into outfits, unless they don’t mind being photographed in what every they’re wearing before they get dressed.

Think about whether you want photos of you getting dressed

If you’re a guy and your photographer is a girl or vice versa you may not feel comfortable having photographs while you get dressed. I always ask my clients if they want this part photographed and I’m happy to wait outside until they’re a bit more covered up.

Alternatively I’ll photograph them getting into their outfit without capturing any flesh on camera.

Urban Wedding Photography London Pub Wedding Photos-14


Allow more time than you think you need

How ever long you think it will take you to get ready, add some contingency time. I have literally never been to a wedding where everything has run on time. Ever. And I’ve been to almost 100 weddings.

getting ready wedding photography


Don’t forget to enjoy it!

This is the most important of all my tips! Chill out and enjoy your morning. Perhaps make a play list of songs that you like and that will relax you. Hang out with your friends and family, and relish in what is a very special time, before you go off to get married.

If you have any questions about the preparation part of the wedding day, do feel free to post them in the comments.