Not sure if you want 'getting ready' or 'preparation' wedding photography? Then you're not alone. In my experience, the vast majority of brides would like to include this part of the day (or afterwards wish they had), but it can be intimate, very personal, and a time when emotions are high - so it's important to find a wedding photographer that you feel totally relaxed with and are comfortable having around during this time. The last thing you want is to feel awkward or like you can't fully enjoy this special time.
1. What sort of photos will be taken?
Most brides will spend a lot of time and effort on their appearance, so why wouldn't you want to capture that? Getting ready wedding photography will depend on your photographer, but for me, it often starts with hair and make-up. Some brides (like me!) don't want completely make-up free photos, so this can just be the final touches. Similarly with hair, not everyone wants shots in rollers, but the stages of putting hair up or adding accessories of veils will remind you of the story and preparations of your day.
When a bride is dressing I'll step back and take shots of the details - the dress and jewellery before they're worn, the shoes, the flowers etc - however it's not unusual that I'm pulled in to help choose jewellery or fasten dresses! I won't be snapping you in your underwear, though shots of fastening the dress can be lovely. Then it's all about the finishing touches, special moments with bridesmaids, parents and children. Beauty shots and natural portraits of you looking your finest and ready to go - before the wind blows your hair and there's not an eyelash out of place. Such an exciting time, it's just like Christmas Eve!
2. The sort of photos that won't be taken
Some of our brides often feel they would like this type of photography, but are worried about unflattering shots - no make-up, hair in comedy rollers, getting into the dress wearing hold-everything-in knickers. When I got married, I felt the same, and having a male photographer - I really rushed to get all of these things done before he arrived just to make sure there was no chance of getting photos of any of these things, but I missed out.
The truth is, no good wedding photographer will be looking to take anything that makes you look silly, their aim will be to take truly beautiful images that will make you feel special forever. They should respect your privacy and won't be getting in your way. In my experience I do find it helps in this situation to be a female photographer, though as long as you find someone you feel totally comfortable with and tell them beforehand what you do and don't want, you should be fine.
3. Get what you want, and enjoy it
As I've said in a previous blog, to ensure you get the wedding photography you want, it's really important to meet your wedding photographer beforehand. Ask them to bring examples of their work, which you will have seen before choosing them, but this will help you both to guide the shots you personally like and don't like. Tell them about any details which are really important to you. Then on the day, just relax and have fun, safe in the knowledge that your photographer isn't looking to make you look anything less than amazing.
4. What about the boys?
This is where it comes in very handy to have two wedding photographers working together as we can do if you choose that option, as no-one can be in two places at once! The getting ready process is usually quicker for the groom, and some are just happy to have photos just before the ceremony - but like the ladies, they'll be putting extra effort into how they look on the day. Essentially, groom preparation photos follow similar lines - details, final touches, a quick drink, but also things like cars. It's all part of the build-up! Even if you opt for just one photographer, if you're getting ready at your ceremony venue, there will be times during preparation when I would pop out and photograph the boys so you do get to see this too.
5. Last thing
It doesn't matter whether you're getting ready at your venue, at home or at someone elses home. But if you can find a room with lots of natural light, and try to stay as clutter free as is possible on a day like this, your photos will be so much the better. And never feel guilty or vain for wanting these types of shots - it will all tell the story your wedding day for years to come and may be the one day you feel comfortable enough to release your inner supermodel.
Rebecca Hanman Photography is based in Gloucester and photographs weddings all over the South West, including Gloucester, The Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Bristol and South Wales, but can usually travel to wherever you need us - just get in touch.