If you're new to wedding photography you may be wondering, " How do I photograph bridal prep?" I promise you aren't alone. If I had a nickel for every time I searched Google for wedding photography "how to's" I'd be a bajillionaire. I'd love to share with you how I approach this part of the day. Hopefully it inspires you and makes you feel more confident at your next wedding. Let me first say that this is my favorite part of the day to photograph. It is so full of emotion and anticipation that it almost feels electric to me. There are endless opportunities to capture the tiny little moments that seem small, but are such a huge part of this day.
Find natural light:
I know it's not always possible, but if you have it USE IT. I can't stress this enough. Don't be intrusive, but always suggest that she sit directly in front of natural light while getting hair and and makeup done. It's OK to place people where they need to be to get the shot you need to deliver. If your bride is doing her hair and makeup in a bathroom, of course photograph that but ask her not to apply her lip gloss. Maybe even her mascara. Have her move in front of a window with a compact and do that part there.
Photograph her accessories:
She has possibly spent months searching for the perfect pair of earrings to wear that day. Those shoes? She saved 6 months to afford them. That handkerchief was her grandmas. The sapphire right hand ring is her something blue and was a gift from her mom. Or maybe, she bought everything for $20 at a yard sale and none of it has sentimental value. It doesn't matter, photograph it all.
Ask family and friends to help:
I really think this is an important part. Like, so super important. The people in that room with her were chosen to be there because they are special to her. Include them in the process her getting ready. Ask mom to help with her jewelry and have her bridesmaids help with her garter and shoes. These moments and the interaction that happens between them are such an important part of her wedding story.
I always ask my brides to have their invitations with them for me. I like being able to incorporate their names in their ring shot if possible and invitations are a great way to do that. If not, use what's there. I've even used nothing more than a picnic table at a rustic lakeside wedding. Putty is helpful to get rings to stand sometimes and I always keep it with me. If you use it here are two important tips. Only use a tiny bit and never, EVER, put putty on fabric or shoes or anything that any member of the bridal party will be wearing. It will leave and oil mark on porous surfaces.
Photograph the dress:
I feel like the font for this section should be extra large, extra huge, and underlined. The dress is everything. I mean it's not, but it. so. is. You dream about it growing up. It's a HUGE investment. It's THE dress. Find the best possible spot you can, try a couple different places if you have to, and photograph the dress. Don't be afraid to ask to leave the bridal suite but if you do, make sure the groom is not where the dress is. Don't be intimidated to hang it up it up. Just make sure the area in dry first and make sure no matter what the dress will not get dirty and you will be fine.
Most importantly, believe in yourself. Your ability got you this job. We all have different styles and techniques that work for us. You're doing to do great :)