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Contributed by Marie Schneider of Wild Elegance Photography & Video
Try this: go onto Pinterest, and search “getting ready wedding pictures” and just sip a mimosa and prepare to be floored by the fluffy dress, handsome men in bow-ties, and dazzling shoes. As a couple about to get married, these images look carefree and easily flawless.
It is industry secret time: each of those pictures was painstakingly planned and used four basic elements to achieve a level of perfection that most couples desire on their wedding day. In order to ensure your getting ready moments are camera-ready, consider these big components to making every picture rock.
Giving you and your wedding party enough time to get ready is one thing. Allowing enough time for your photographer to create all those magical shots is another.
One big thing to consider, especially if you are not getting ready at the same location as the ceremony, is how much time you will need to get from point A to point B. If you want to capture both groups of the wedding party getting ready, hiring a second shooter is also helpful.
Another thing to consider is the detail shots: the rings, the dress, the centerpieces…all of those little things you have spent months planning out need their time to shine, too. Your photographer and videographer both need time with those items, which can be done while you finish up make-up or play some pool.
The big thing to remember is that you need to plan for lateness. It is better to hurry up and wait, than to be in a hurry and leave everyone waiting. While the party doesn’t start without the happy couple, a snowball effect can roll through the day if the getting ready portion of your day is not amply timed. Factor in an extra 15-30 minutes more than you think. Just bring an extra case of mimosa supplies in case you have some time.
The root words in photograph literally translate to light writing. That should give an idea of how important light is to pictures.
While every photographer can bring lighting in to make your space perfectly illuminated, natural lighting gives a lot of the drama, which can be found in the absence of light – shadow.
Find a clean, sparsely decorated room with windows on multiple walls for getting ready to deliver a light, airy look with your getting ready moments.
Conversely, if you prefer things dark and moody (I see you, Daria), find a darkly-appointed space with windows on one side of the room. By utilizing natural light, you can create a vibe and mood for your whole day. Plus, our skin just looks better in natural light.
If your getting ready options are limited, consider checking the light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs, or overhead fluorescent bulbs, create harsh, yellow lighting. If you can change them, do. If you cannot, talk to your photographer and make sure they have the equipment needed to lighten the space.
In addition, to making your pictures work, proper lighting helps in achieving the best makeup looks. Those selfie phone cases were created for a reason, after-all.
While getting ready in a beautiful chateau overlooking the Swiss Alps with floor-to-ceiling windows sounds dreamy, it is not always possible. In fact, it is rarely the case.
Not to worry, though. You can create magnificent backdrops with a few little tweaks:
Move: If the getting ready location is cluttered with furniture, doilies, etc., that do not match your style, MOVE IT. Let the venue know and ask for help. Appoint wedding attendants to help. Ask your photographer for advice.
Decorate: Sheer white curtains over ugly wallpaper can make a huge difference in your background. Get creative and do what you need to make the space match your vibe.
Declutter: This one is for the wedding attendants: keep your stuff neat. Bring a nice overnight bad to keep your things in, and clean up as you go. By keeping your clutter out of the shot, or at least making it cute clutter, you greatly increase the impact and beauty of those getting ready shots.
Relocate: Sometimes, no matter what, the basement at church just will not fill your vision for wedding day posh. If that is the case, check out other options like a friend’s house or boutique hotel.
Consider outside: If you have a secluded, private space and it is great weather, consider putting that dress on in nature. Maybe you will have a Cinderella moment and the animals will help you get dressed. Even if you aren’t that magical, the lighting will be beautiful and so will you.
People + Details
Be picky over who you have getting ready with you. As much as having a large wedding party and all your favorite cousins and friends in the room with you, it gets overwhelming. Be specific about who is allowed in the space, and who is not, and assign a wedding attendant to enforce that rule.
Pick people who will make you smile more, or bring out your happy tears. Emotions are what make pictures worth it.
Aside from who you have in the room with you, what you have in the room with you matters.
Give your wedding attendants gifts that will make your pictures look publication-worthy, too. A cute makeup bag, a monogrammed flannel, or a custom flask are great accessories that can be in pictures without the space looking messy. A photographer can use these accessories to stage detail pictures, and create backdrops.
No matter what, do you.
May your wedding day be everything you dreamed of and more!