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10 Tips to Prepare For Your Getting Ready Photos: Tuesday Tip

September 19, 2017

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Hi there! Welcome to the Michelle Renee blog, a journal about our lives, travels, and this amazing wedding photography world I serve in
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the ultimate wedding day prep guide 
Timeline suggestions for weddings with both a First Look AND without a First Look! 

It’s TUESDAY, so you know what that means!  I’m back with another Tuesday Tip installment, and today it’s alllll about your getting ready photos!  You know, those stunning images from earlier in the wedding day…when your best friends and beloved family members spend some time helping you get into your gown, put on your jewelry, and slip on those shoes you’ve been dying to wear…  This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day, not only for the gorgeous images that can be captured during this time, but also for the sweet, intimate moments that can be shared between you and those you are closest to. Documenting that type of interaction is what we photographers work for!  That being said, not all getting ready spaces are created equal, for sure.  You may well be preparing in a space at your venue that has floor to ceiling windows with loads of natural light…but if you aren’t, you may be getting ready in your townhouse, a hotel, or in a space within the venue that has NO windows and zero natural light.  No matter where you are getting ready, don’t fret.  Beautiful images CAN be created, I assure you!  But, there are certain decisions and perspectives that can help to make the process a smooth one AND ensure your images are true to those dreamy, soft images you’ve imagined in your head (or seen on Pinterest). 😉  I’m excited to share some of those with you here!

Here we go!  10 Tips to Prepare For Your Getting Ready Photos…

  1. Choose a space that allows for adequate natural light.  When you are researching venues and spaces for you to prepare, keep this in the mind.  It is idea to have a space that is open and has at least some natural light available.  We invest in high-quality gear to allow us to shoot in low-light situations, so even the smallest amount of natural light is better than the overhead lights.  While most spaces do have overhead lighting, tungsten and/or fluorescent lighting can leave images looking unnaturally orange, so we prefer to limit the amount of that type of lighting if possible.  However, if there is no option for natural lighting, refer to point #2.
  2. Choose a photographer who is skilled in the use of off-camera flash.  Yes, it is ok to be a natural-light photographer.  I’m pretty sure I’d identify myself as one, as well. However, I am proficient in my use of off-camera flash, and I would encourage you to hire a photographer who is.  There is NO wedding day or wedding situation that can be predicted and/or planned 100%.  Things change in the spur of the moment, and your photographer should be prepared.  For that reasons, your photographer needs to have and know how to use (well) an off-camera flash set up.  I never believed it when I started out, but it is completely possible for your images to be taken with flash and still appear natural.  To be sure the lack of lighting does not effect the outcome, only book a photographer with this skill set.
  3. Choose a space that has ample room to move.  Throughout my time as a wedding photographer, I’ve noticed that nothing stresses a bride out more at the beginning of the day than having to walk on top of her friends and family while trying to get ready OR not being able to find the items she needs in a timely manner.  I know weddings area already an investment, but if you have the option, choose a large space for this portion of the day.  Your venue should be able to accommodate your requests and hotels should be able to show you suites that may be available instead of a standard room.  In Richmond, I’ve found the following spaces (not specific venues) to be adequate for preparation, both in space and lighting:  the Hilton Downtown Richmond, the Hyatt Place in Short Pump, and Linden Row.
  4. Tidy up.  When I arrive to the bride’s getting ready quarters, I can almost guarantee that items will be strewn about, mimosa glasses have been left on the tables, and iphones plus their cords are everywhere!  It’s just the nature of the game, and you SHOULD be having a good time and relaxing.  However, we don’t want your bridesmaid’s pink bra or the half-eaten crab dip to be  photobombing your getting ready shots.  So, if a bridesmaid or family member is nearby and already taken care of getting ready themselves, consider designating them to clean up the room and shove some things in a closet.  A quality photographer is going to take note of this when she arrives and help in this process, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Based on best lighting and background, your photographer will give some suggestions for what to clean and where to hide everyone’s personal belongings.
  5. Keep your getting ready details nearby.  Once details have been photographed, I like to place all of those times back in one location to be ready for the bride to get dressed. However, if your timeline is set up differently and it’s not that simple, ask a friend to make sure everything you need to put on is in one spot where it won’t get lost or shoved under the bed with other items.  If you want some more information on what details to have ready, click here.
  6. Identify who’d you like to be present and let them know.  Would you like all of your bridesmaids to be part of you getting into your gown and putting on your bridal details? Or is this a moment you’d like shared between yourself, your mother, and your sister?  Or all of the above, and the groom’s mother, too? There is not wrong answer here.  It’s simply making a decision about that ahead of time and informing those you’d like present.  Provide them with a time and locations as well as instructions to be completely dressed, including hair and makeup before arriving at your getting ready time.  SO many times, the timeline has been pushed back or there was confusion about this because someone didn’t know and wasn’t ready.  Communication ahead of time is key.
  7. Talk to hair and makeup.  This is a special day, and you want everything to be just right, including hair and makeup.  And this photographer totally GETS IT.  So, chat with your hair and makeup team ahead of time and get a realistic time frame for how long it will take to get your and your bridesmaid’s hair and makeup done.  And then add a little bit more time as a buffer, just in case an eyelash is falling off or your lipstick smears.  Knowing what to expect ahead of time will allow you to have a more realistic timeline of the day and won’t push your getting ready photos into a 5 minute window when you need 20.  For more information on creating your wedding day timeline, click here.
  8. Allow adequate time to photograph this portion of the day.  As previously mentioned in this post, a realistic wedding photography timeline, including a buffer in case of the unexpected, is imperative.  Not only are you slipping into your gown, you are also putting on your jewelry, having your bff button 200 of those tiny buttons with a crochet needs (there’s always at least 200, right?!?), having your girls put your garter on, your mother helping with your bracelet, having your dress fluffed and your veil secured tightly.  There are many nuances and moments within this part of your day, and it’s a FUN time.  We don’t want to rush it, so chat with your photographer ahead of time and determine how much time you will need.
  9. Trust your photographer.  I cannot stress this one enough.  If you photographer asks you to go outside to get your dress buttoned up and your jewelry put on, trust her and GO.  I assure you that while you’ve maybe chosen the venue for it’s amazing dance floor or food or because the walls match your wedding colors, your photographer is viewing the space with an entirely different lens.  They are looking at lighting, angles, and what is absolutely going to make you look your BEST in the images they provide.  Be open to unconventional ideas or things you may find ODD.  Those ideas are just some of the reasons you’ve invested in quality wedding photography.
  10. Enjoy!  You guys, HAVE. FUN.  Enjoy this time and allow your photographer to do her job!

That’s it, you guys! Hopefully this helps as you move forward in wedding planning and start thinking about the getting ready portion of your day!  As always, if you have questions, please ask!  And feel free to subscribe to get more updates and advice straight to your inbox.  For additional Tuesday Tip posts, follow the links here:

10 Tips for Creating a Solid Wedding Day Timeline: Tuesday Tip

The Pros and Cons of Having a First Look on Your Wedding Day: Tuesday Tip

Bridal Details-What To Bring and How To Prepare: Tuesday Tip

Groom’s Details-What To Bring and How To Prepare: Tuesday Tip

5 Reasons a Destination Wedding May Be Right For You: Tuesday Tip

Consider A Little Black Book Boudoir Session: Tuesday Tip

Happy Tuesday, friends!

M xoxo

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I'm Michelle, and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our lives and my work as a wedding photographer.

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As a wedding photographer in Virginia, and beyond, for over a decade, I don't arrive to a wedding day without a solid timeline.  Click below to get a sample of my wedding day timeline, both with and without a First Look.

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