Picking your prep location
I’ve shot in rooms all sizes during bridal preps. Large suites, small Holiday Inns and even a salon bathroom no less. If you are going to have a photographer with you during the time you get ready, here are some things to consider and remember when choosing your prep location.
What to look for when choosing the room you will be getting ready in for your wedding day:
1. Size. How many people are going to be with you while you are getting ready? Think about the space of the room and the amount people you want to fit in there. Imagine your bridal party, family, hair and makeup artists, photographer and videographer all standing in that room. The last thing you want is for everyone to be cramped and stepping on each other. When people are cramped together in a room that’s what you will get and see in your photos. and as much as we try to avoid it if the photographer and videographer have no room to work around each other it will be hard to miss them in the shot. Get a room that will be able to hold the amount of people you want with you comfortably.
2. Style. The big chains with their generic furniture and decor are well, generic and can become a boring backdrop. There are many modern hotel chains that are very nice to stay in, but they lack that designer touch. Use these hotels for business and travel. Pick a room with more style for the room you will be getting ready in on your wedding day. The room and whats in the room will be in your photos and albums. I style the dress and the details in the room and use what the room has to offer so if you want fashion forward and an editorial look to the details of your preps don’t go for the boring Holiday Inn room. Often there is never anywhere nice to hang the dresses in those rooms. Pick something with fabulous furniture, big windows with stunning curtains and or views and great wall decor.
3. Light. Yes, light is a huge factor. Even though we can shoot in all sorts of low light situations, photographers still prefer daylight and the more the better… Look for a hotel suite that has large windows or if you are getting ready in a private home, you might want to choose the grand living room instead of the bedroom.
4.Ceiling height: To the point above – tall windowed rooms tend to have more ceiling height. The photos just become more grand.
5. Don’t forget about the groom! Often times the bride is the one who gets the best room. Men get ready fast and aren’t necessarily too worried about the room they are in, but it is their wedding too and all the same rules apply for them as they do for the bride when it comes to photography. They deserve to be treated like a king just as you will be treated like a queen =)
6. If you will not be not getting a large sweet in a really nice hotel, I highly suggest getting an AirBnB . Think about it. More room for everyone to get ready. That means I’m not standing on the bed with the cinematographer while trying to get a good shot of you putting on your dress with your 5 bridesmaids, mother and makeup artist in a 12 foot square room. More light and WAY better decorations for styling shots. Seriously, what you surround your self with really does make an impact on the way your photos come out.
Now that you have your room! Remember these few tips to help the prep photo process go smoothly
1. Arrange for me to arrive while you are still getting your hair and makeup done. At least the last part so I can get shots of the final touches of hair, lashes and lipstick. We love being able to take artistic and editorial and photojournalism style photos of your hair and makeup. No wedding day photography is complete without these photos. Not only does it give us more time for the rest of the shots that include details and getting in your dress, but your hair and makeup stylists love to get photos of their work for their portfolios as well. We need at least an hour of prep time. An hour in a half is better if it can be added into the timeline.
2. Have the details ready to be photographed when I arrive by having them all in one location. I would love to be able to get stylized shots of your gown, shoes, veil , garter, flowers (bridesmaids flowers as well), all of your jewelry, perfume and anything else of significance before you put it on. If you can have all those items in one spot so I can stylized them when I show up that would be great. This goes for the grooms too. Please have the tux, shoes, tie, cuff links, cologne and all accessories in one spot for Adam so he can stylize the details. If all the guys have coordinating ties please have those ties ready to be photographed as well. I need acquitted time for this as well. It can take up to 20-30 minutes sometimes for stylizing details if there are a lot. I like details so I don’t mind if there are a lot =)
I love to photograph invitations and rings at this time. If I have not been sent the invitations prior please make sure you have them with you during preps. Stylizing these items with pretty details goes a long way in the photo world and makes your detail photos that much more beautiful for your albums. The MRS BOX is all the rage right now and look beautiful when paired with your your ring and invitations. While they are a little bit of an add on you can find some similar for a few bucks cheaper on ETSY. Think about having some extra flowers or foliage for me to use while styling. If you haven’t ordered your invitations yet fine art Calligraphy styled ones are also beautiful and make for some stunning images. You can see a professional calligrapher here
3. If the guys are already dressed when Adam shows up, be prepared to get undone and do it over again. This means he needs to get shots of the shoes off the feet. Shirts being put on and ties being re-tied. Men dress fast. So take a little more time at getting ready so he can get some good shots. If there is enough time, if you even want to wait to shave and do all that manly stuff men do he can get some cool photos of that too.
4. Bring a cool hanger or at least a nice wooden one for the dresses. Plastic hangers cheapen the photos and are not a great way to highlight your beautiful gown that you most likely spent thousands on.
5. Have the room you will be getting ready in clean and photograph ready. Men this means you too! Ladies help remind the men of this! Any mess should be picked up off the floor / bed and all bags and garbage out of the way for the pictures. “If it’s in the room it’s in the photo,” so if you want pictures free of breakfast wrappers, clothes, and other distracting items, it’s best to stash it all in a closet or behind a bed. It’s best to assign someone, like a bridesmaid and groomsmen to be in charge of keeping the room clean because you’ll have enough on your mind.