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The Logistics Behind Taking Stellar Wedding Day Getting-Dressed Photos
A hint of excitement on a bride’s face holding her bridal dress. A glimpse of a groom’s expression as he fixes his tie through the mirror. There’s something about getting-ready moments on a wedding day that make for ‘must-have’ (or in a wedding photographer’s case, ‘must-take’ images). Looking through a creative and technical eye, as a wedding photographer, there are a lot of things that you can do to capture these picture-perfect scenes. However, this blog does not talk about them. We are here to shed light on the planning that goes behind taking the getting-dressed images. After all, besides other things, it is the immaculate planning that helps you get these shots. 

Understanding The Logistics Behind Taking Getting-Dressed Photos

1. Discuss the Logistics

Infographic stating suggest a plan of action that works for your couple and you

Before you get to the wedding day, it is essential to talk to your clients about the logistics of the day to prepare accordingly. You need to know the time at which the bride and groom start getting ready and whether they are both getting ready at the same venue and at the same time. Knowing all these details can save you a lot of trouble and help you better manage your time and resources. In addition, you can also set the expectations straight from the very beginning. Some couples might not always think through the timing and logistics of it all, but a part of your job is to walk them through all of it and suggest a plan of action that works for both parties.

Suggested Read: The Ultimate Wedding Photography Preparation Checklist

2. Analyze The Coverage Time

Another important aspect to keep in mind while discussing these details is getting clarity on the coverage time. In between photographing the detail photos and the ceremony or the first look, depending on the timeline, you may need some buffer time to photograph the getting-ready photos. Even though it can vary, usually, this part can take anywhere between 90 to 120 minutes. Talking about this in advance with your couples could help you set the timeline straight and avoid any last-minute confusion. 

3. Getting-Dressed Location

Infographic stating if you have a second shooter, you can simply divide the coverage

Now that you have the time figured out, find out if the bride and the groom are getting ready at the same venue or not. If they are getting ready at the same venue, managing the coverage gets a little easier. You can start by covering the bride and then go over to the groom or keep shuffling between both. If you are working with a second shooter, you can divide the coverage between yourselves.

However, if the bride and groom are getting dressed at different locations, try to work on your plan accordingly. Depending on whatever starts first, you can go over to one location and start with the coverage and then hop on to covering the rest of it. You can also opt to divide the coverage between you and your second shooter or your assistant. But whatever you end up deciding, have a practical plan in place. 

4. Getting Creative With Lighting

A bride posing in front of two windows flaunting the train of her wedding dress
Image Credits: ShootDotEdit Customer @photography_by_orlando

Sometimes, your couple may not be getting ready in a well-decorated or well-lit room. Sometimes, they might even be getting ready in a space that is very small and dimly lit. Or a room that is spacious but messy and has no windows. But who says that you have to photograph them in the room they are getting ready in? When this happens, try to look for another room that you think will make for an ideal ambiance for the getting-dressed images. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot change the location or if there is no other place to go, then here are some things that you can try.

Portrait of a bride sitting on the bed with blue color balloons in the background
Image Credits: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong
  1. Experiment with tighter shots and closer angles to focus more on the subject and deviate the attention from the background.
  2. If the room is too crowded, you can politely ask a few people to either leave the room for some time or completely shift to the other end of the room.
  3. When working in a cluttered space, try moving all the stuff to the other side of the room. However, remember to notify people around you or tell them that you are moving something to avoid confusion later.
  4. To recreate the lighting you would get from a window (in the absence of one), try to place the off-camera light at head height with respect to where the client is standing. This can help your light appear as if it is dispersing from a specific angle starting from your subject’s face.
  5. You don’t always have to look for a window. All you need is a light source. It could also be a doorway. So work with what is available and be on the lookout for such things.
  6. Find a nice background. A beautiful backdrop can help to enhance the overall look of your getting-ready images.
  7. This might not always be the case, but if practical, you could also try experimenting with silhouettes.

5. Staying Patient

Infographic stating sometimes, you have to make the best out of the time that’s left

You can plan ahead and prepare yourself according to the timeline, but sometimes, things may not run exactly according to it. In scenarios like these, there is only so much you can do. The first thing that you can try is to politely remind the bride and the bridal party that you are running late. Or, if there is a wedding planner involved, you can convey the same to them. However, try not to nudge the bride over and over again. And if nothing works, sometimes, you have to make the best out of the time that’s left.

Further Read: Wedding Dress Photography Ideas And Tips

The art of taking stellar getting-dressed photos has as much to do with the photography as it is to do with the preparation. Depending on how you plan to handle the logistics behind the scenes can either make your day utterly stressful or a piece of cake. Therefore, we hope the points above help you successfully navigate through this part of the day. Remember: If the setting is not ideal and you find yourself in a room with no windows or a small space with a lot of people, let your creativity guide and assist you in making the best use of what is available to you at that moment.  

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about offering tips and tutorials that help you hone your photography skills. We also help to lessen your post-production workload by taking editing off your plate. To learn more about how we can help you with your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.


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