In every bridal album, there is always a section devoted to the ‘getting ready’ photos, the images that are taken as the bride prepares for the biggest day of her life. These shots become so memorable because the emotion in the room is electric and a good photographer will capture the tender moments as the bride gets dressed with the help of her mother and her bridesmaids and the facial reactions when she sees herself in her gown and makeup for the first time.
These photographs set the scene for the wedding and are far more introspective than the energetic shots that will be taken throughout the rest of the day. Often, this is the time for the photographer to snap the intricate detail of the wedding gown, shoes and accessories and it’s also the time that the parents of the bride prepare themselves to symbolically hand over their daughter to her groom.
To help your photographer get the perfect ‘getting ready’ photos, we spoke to MacDougall Photography’s Alistair MacDougall and he kindly gave us his top five insider secrets – take notes Fairies!
1. Check Your Environment
You might look like a supermodel in your amazing gown, but …. if you’re getting your photos taken in a shoe-box sized bedroom with fifty million people crammed in, it’s unlikely your photos will look like Vanity Fair Shoot.
Spacious hotel rooms with natural light are great. Natural light sources, like a window or sky light, look stunning with those dramatic full-length shots of the gown laid out nicely. This light allows your photographer to take beautiful silhouettes or back shots of you looking over your shoulder. An extra tip is to remember to check that there aren’t too many couches, coffee tables or bed-ends in the way once your dress is laid out.
2. Make Time
If you’re rushed and stressed, it’ll show on your face in the photos, so I recommend organising for your hair and make-up to finish more than an hour before you need to head off to the ceremony. If your hair and makeup doesn’t finish until 10 minutes before you need to leave for the church, it doesn’t allow the photographer to capture anything more than the most basic of poses.
This being said, don’t forget that it’s not just about posed shots. If you ensure you’ve given the photographer plenty of time, you’ll not only get the ‘posed’ beauty shots, but you’ll also get the spontaneous and tender moments that naturally happen when there’s time to let them unfold. These are often the most memorable moments, but they can’t be rushed.
3. The Devil’s in the Details
Little details create wonderful memories and sentimental photographs that depict the style of your wedding. So in the wedding planning process, allow yourself to think about a few nice touches to add to the morning of your big day.
A love note from your groom that is opened during the morning of the wedding always creates wonderful feelings of anticipation and intimate for the bride – as well as a great photo opportunity! Beautiful hangers for the bridal and bridesmaid gowns allow the photographer start snapping before you’ve even gotten dressed and some matching robes for the bridal party are always make a fun photo and something for all your bridesmaids to treasure.
4. Striking the Pose
When posing for wedding photos, the key is to keep it beautiful looking and natural. We’re not talking about a model striking a power pose at the end of a runway here! It should be real, so there’s no need to practice too many serious expressions in the mirror leading up to your wedding. On the day if you’re excited, nervous or joyous, don’t be afraid to show it!
An experienced photographer will know how to capture you in the best light and composition, but the one thing a bride can practice is positioning her body. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and move your hips and feet to 45-degree angle, but make sure to keep your waist and face toward the mirror. This position will slim the body and gives you a classic and elegant pose.
To further advance, place your hand on your hip, as this will elongate the arm. To avoid a double chin, push your face towards the camera and away from your neck; this will give the illusion of a slimmer jawline and is great for the close-up portraits.
5. Own It
It’s completely normal to have nervous energy while you’re getting ready. I photograph weddings regularly, so I can tell you from experiences that in just a few hours, you’ll be married to the man you love and your nerves will evaporate. Remind yourself of that throughout the morning, try to take it all in and don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. It’s your day and all your friends and family are there to see your happiness. Everyone looks fabulous in photos when they laugh, so you can’t be too happy. Let go of any last minute little organising details and leave the running of the day up to everyone else. It’s your day, own it!
MacDougall Photography is a Sydney-based photography company that have become renowned for their ability to capture dramatic and romantic images that play with environmental elements in their images.