Photographing the Bride Getting Ready

Photographer Vanessa Joy is passionate about her work behind-the-scenes of weddings. Committed to capturing the happiest moments of people’s lives, her career spans nearly two decades. Suffice to say, she knows a thing or two about running a smooth wedding photography operation:

Before walking down the aisle, the first step to creating a picture-perfect wedding is, of course, documentation of wedding prep. Joy has a few pointers to offer for fellow photographers looking to record the intimate moments that take place before the vows.

Photograph the details first

This may seem a bit counter-intuitive. After all, photographing a wedding primarily means capturing the action of the big day! However, there are two reasons why it makes sense to photograph details right off the bat:

  1. When you arrive, the bride and bridesmaids will likely have hairdressers and makeup artists dolling them up. By focusing on details, you offer the women time to look their absolute best.
  2. Throughout the day, shoes are bound to scuff and bouquets will ultimately get a bit banged up. Shooting the details first means that you’re getting flowers, accessories, and decorations when they’re at their most pristine.

capturing details

Don’t be afraid to fake it

While it’s important to get the necessary shots, it’s equally important to avoid being overbearing as the bride prepares for her ceremony. A solution to this predicament is to “fake” a few preparation shots. Once the bride’s hair and makeup is complete (or close to complete), ask her to move to a spot with some flattering light. You can then have stylists pretend to apply foundation or curl a lock of hair.

staged make up shot

Follow directions, but feel free to improvise

Some women spend their entire lives dreaming about their wedding day. If your client requests a certain photograph be taken, you’ll fare better by following her orders. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a little creative. Something as simple as varying the light and shooting at different angles can break up the monotony between shots.

bridal party portrait

Read the room

The most important thing you can do as a wedding photographer? Be observant. This doesn’t just mean being on the lookout for a great photograph. It’s incredibly important to make sure that your bride is as comfortable as she can be. Even if every other element is perfect, any awkward or uneasy feelings lingering in the room will translate on camera.

preparing for the wedding

Don’t let nerves get the best of you on a wedding assignment. After all, weddings are meant to be a celebration. Just take things slow and ease your way to the main event. Beautiful moments will unveil themselves before your eyes.

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