great getting ready photos | tips for your wedding day

bride with japanese fan | wedding day photos

Most of my couples ask for at least a few "getting ready" photos on their wedding day. These can include actually getting ready with hair and makeup, but most often involve the final touches, like the mother helping her daughter with her jewelry; the groomsmen toasting the groom with shots of whiskey; or the bride reading a special note from her husband-to-be.

While spontaneity is key to capturing the emotions of the day, there are definitely a few things you can do before your photographer arrives...

Pick a location that’s full of light and space.
If you’re getting ready in a hotel room, try to book a corner room or a room with light-colored walls, floors and bedding. A corner room or a suite will also have more space for photographing your gown, etc. Most photographers won’t use any lamps or overhead lights during photography, so check out how the room looks with no lights on, and the curtains wide open.

Remember, less is more.
Keep the numbers down, as far as people in the prep suite go. Not only is a huge crowd stressful, it's very difficult to shoot around people that aren't meant to be in photographs. So keep those in the prep suite a minimum: the bridal party and others helping you get ready.

wedding rings and bouquet | wedding day photos

Clean up the clutter!
Have your bridal party spend time cleaning up the main space before your photographer arrives. This includes all dress bags, shoe boxes and any other garbage and personal items. Put suitcases under the beds and in closets. And don’t forget to make the bed! This goes for both the bride’s and the groom’s getting ready areas. 

Note: in general, don't rely on your photographer being able to "fix it in Photoshop." If there's something you don't want in your photos, be sure it's removed from the space. Photoshop has limitations and can take a great deal of time. Removing an excessive amount of unsightly things from your photos may result in additional photography costs. 


groom's watch | wedding day photos

Have your details ready.
Set aside everything that you’d like photographed. This includes items such as:

  • Both wedding bands and engagement ring
  • Bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere
  • Bride’s shoes
  • Groom’s watch and cuff links
  • Invitation suite (a clean copy of your entire wedding invitation)
  • Hanger for the wedding gown
  • Anything else special you want photographed in detail

It’s totally up to you if you want any of these items photographed. But if you do, you should have the items set aside in a bag or box so your photographer can begin working with them as soon as they arrive.

Enjoy the final moments!
For the most part, getting ready photos will have a documentary as much as you can, relax and enjoy your final moments getting ready. Also, a little background music and some champagne, as well as a sense of humor, help to disarm the awkwardness of being photographed, as well as any other tension in the room.

Lisa Kathan