I am a wedding and portrait photographer who keeps things light, fun, and full of energy. I’m based out of Springfield, Illinois however I love traveling all over the midwest and beyond.
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Over the years of photographing weddings, the idea of “Getting Ready” photos have completely blown up and turned into a beautiful thing! When Josh and I got married almost 8 years ago (this June), getting ready photos were really not a big deal. I remember our photographer, Mark Marshall of John Mark Photography, who I had worked for and became friends with down in Cape Girardeau, MO, came to my parent’s house to casually get a few shots of all of the girls and myself getting dressed. Because we were so rushed in the day and my mom was running late after helping decorate the reception hall I don’t think I have any photos of her helping me into my dress or even sliding my bracelet on my wrist. We were so concerned about tying my corset dress correctly that we had the dress shop owner come to my house to make sure it was done perfectly, instead of making sure my mom and I had that memory. We were also up in my parent’s bedroom, which had stuff thrown all over the bed, didn’t have the best natural light, and did not give Mark much room to maneuver around for the perfect shots. Years later and sharing these moments captured with my brides, what I wouldn’t give now to have just one or two shots of my mom and I having this stage in the day photographed on my wedding day. By no means was this Mark’s fault. At the time, as I said, “Getting Ready” photos were not really a thing. But, if we had given him a good location with lots of beautiful windows, cleared the room out of all the distractions like dress bags, furniture, extra clothes, and trash from lunch earlier I have no doubt he would have started the trend of getting ready photos being a hip, memorable experience. Since this topic is so near and dear to my heart, I wanted to make sure all my brides have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your getting ready environment so that we can achieve AMAZING photos of these special moments on your wedding day.
When you begin to think about where you are going to get dressed, really put some good thought into it. With everything else you have to make decisions on, I get it. Where you are putting on your dress is not always at the top of your list. But, it should be. I probably cannot count how many times I have shown up to start photographing a bride and I walk into a dark, tiny room with concrete walls (or worse yet…Pre-school curriculum illustrations hanging everywhere), tables and chairs covered in overnight bags, curling irons, and take out food wrappers. Ask yourself, is this what I want to see while I’m putting on my flawless wedding gown that I spent countless weekends searching for? Nothing is worse than a stunning bride putting on her dress…with the ABC’s and 123’s on the wall behind her. I completely understand sometimes if you chose to get ready at the church, you may not have a choice where they decide to put you. If there is no other option, we will work together to get the room as decluttered as possible and make it work. I’m all about adapting. However, many months before the wedding you could bring your concerns up to the church staff or planner, whoever you are working with, to see the space they have set aside for you so you can determine if it will work. And if you encounter many of the problems I talked about like no windows, too small of a space for all the people planning to get dressed with you on wedding day, or kids paintings all over the wall….maybe it’s time to rethink this space. Ask if there is another room they could offer that may be suited better for your needs. Or simply look at another location such as a pretty hotel room or even a family members house that you know is perfect and not cluttered. You want to give us plenty of space where all the special people in your life can assist you in putting on one of the most precious dresses of your life.
Not only will you be putting on that beautiful gown in this space, but I will also be taking all the detail shots of your accessories with your dress. So another helpful tip to make the most of our time is to have all of your pieces out and ready to go for me to start photographing everything. Shoes, jewelry, garter, veil, headpieces, and even your signature perfume along your dress should be taken out and ready to rock. This saves me from stopping you from enjoying time with friends and family to search deep in your 8 bags to find each and every thing that I need to capture those details for you. I would even suggest having both your wedding ring along with the grooms if possible so I can knock out those coveted ring shots first thing. I will probably borrow your rings again later for some more photos after the ceremony or at the reception. But, at least we know it is taken care of at the beginning of the day before things get crazy!
To recap the ideal environment for your Getting Ready photos on wedding day are…
1. Good Natural Light
2. Enough open space for all your “people” getting ready with you as well as myself photographing
3. Decluttered. This includes all the trash, bridesmaid’s bags, and any non-flattering wall art. Simple is better
4. Have your dress out of it’s bag and hanging up along with all your accessories for detail shots.
All of these tips are simply recommendations to help start your day off on the right foot and keep everything moving smoothly. Take it from someone who didn’t plan well on their own wedding for this one important aspect of the day. Paying attention to this topic will be well worth it!