Part 1 – Getting ready.
For me the early bride or groom preparations are an important part of the day as far as the photography goes. I’ve already done everything I can by this point to make the bride or groom aware of what I would like to capture during this part of the day, but it can be a new experience for some.
But because it’s a new experience is precisely the reason why photography at this stage is so important. I want people involved in the wedding to know that being photographed doesn’t hurt, and that I’m quite a personable guy. I want them to be comfortable with me being around. I often find that far from being the hired help, I slowly become involved in the day, helping out with buttonholes, making a brew or just being someone to talk to who has been to quite a few weddings. If I can put people at ease early it really makes for better images later on.
What can you do to get better photos during the preparations?
There are a few schools of thought on this and obviously what I say here is only my own opinion.
When you look back at your wedding photographs you want to remember the day as it was. The more you plan, the less room there is for spontaneity. And as a photographer the more you try to force certain images, the less time there will be to observe, get a feel for the day and capture real moments as and when they happen. But there are a few practical things you can do to help things along before the day starts. Here are a few tips that will help your photographer achieve better results without having to interfere once you start getting ready:
My top tips for better preparation photographs
1) If photographs of dress, shoes, rings etc are important to you, make sure these are out of their packaging and ready to be photographed. If you have a really nice dress or suit, make sure the hanger you use reflects this. If you do this your photographer will be able to photograph these things quickly without bothering you and have more time to get on with the more complex job of capturing the anticipation and atmosphere.
2) If you’re bringing in a hairdresser or make-up artist, try to use a spacious room with good window light and set up chairs near to the natural light.
3) Talk to you photographer and get used to them being about, but try to ignore what they are doing, even if they are climbing on the back of the couch, sqinting at a mirror or lying of the floor to get a better angle. They know what they are doing, honest! After a while you’ll forget about them. You’ve chosen your photographer because you like their portfolio and you trust them to get the best photographs in any situation, so relax and concentrate on getting ready.
4) If you’re a groom and want coverage of this part of the day, leave a few things until your photographer arrives. Ties, cufflinks, buttonholes. These finishing touches help the photographer to set the scene. If you want to go as far being photographed in the shower, then great, just make sure you’re wearing your swimming trunks!
5) Enjoy it. Try to take it all in and enjoy this part of the day. You’ll probably have more time to relax at this point than any other part of the day so make the most of it.
For me the early part of the wedding day is vital for gathering information, putting people at ease and getting in the zone. I can work out who is who, how close to get without making people uncomfortable and get a feeling for the relationships and dynamics going on.
Once I’ve arrived at the house or venue and said hello, I’ll get on with my work. I’ll let you know what I’m doing and why as the day progresses but I won’t ask you to move anything, pose or look at the camera. My aim is just to set the scene and capture some of the anticipation in the air ahead of the wedding. It may not be apparent at the time but an image of you laughing, crying or just talking to a loved one may become priceless to you in years to come.
Article and images by wedding photographer Steven Rooney.