Following on from my previous post on starting at the location where the groom is getting ready, as I’ve mentioned before, most of my weddings start at the brides home. This post will cover some of what happens here, and there’s usually a lot going on!
I usually arrive at the brides home or where she is getting ready, two and half hours before the ceremony. It sounds like an awful long time to be around, but trust me, this time of preparation in the morning flies by! And I have plenty to do in that time – photograph all the details, hair and make-up getting finished, and everything else that’s happening! Basically how I photograph the morning with the girls is almost full documentary style where I’m in the background keeping out of the way and letting whatever happens, happen…there’s enough going on that you don’t need another guy getting in the way!
I like to shoot as unobtrusively as possible throughout the wedding day & to do this I tend to keep a low-key approach during the day and shoot by myself. I’m a tall guy, 6 foot 2, but somehow I manage to disappear quite easily when necessary! I have a quiet disposition for the most part & this lets me capture intimate moments. Knowing how to read people & the situation is super important on a wedding day…knowing when not to press that shutter is just as important as knowing when to!
Hair and make-up is generally still being finished as I arrive. On occasion it will all be finished when I arrive and I love these days! I’ve worked with countless make-up artists and the best of the best will either have the bride finished when I arrive, or will just be finishing up (Ann Young & Charlene Flanagan, always!), letting me capture a few images such as the above and below shots.
Most photographers will agree with the next statement, that if at all possible when you are scheduling your make-up on your wedding day, try not to leave yourself until last and definitely be fully finished at a minimum of an hour before the ceremony. You want your morning to be relaxed and have time to do whatever you want rather than rushing to do everything at the last minute. And also, here’s some full honesty (something I learned at my very first workshop in 2006), I try not to photograph the bride without make-up as more often than not, these images, won’t go into the album afterwards. So if the bride is left until last, images such as the ones below, opening the grooms gift or looking through mum’s wedding album, might not get seen again. Also you’re definitely going to want a photo in those beautiful wedding robes you picked out for yourself and the girls!
Everything & anything can happen on a wedding day, so it’s important to get try to get dressed as early as possible…something always slows down this bit of the day!
Also your photographer needs time to get pictures when everybody is ready, and the more time you have, the more pictures and family groups we can get. Also, a lot of videographers, have to leave well before the photographer, in order to set up microphones etc in the church. I always think it a shame when make-up has run late and the videographer isn’t around for when the bride gets dressed and ready. Finally, things just happen when that dress goes on for real! If you are getting ready early, then delays don’t matter as much!
Get ready early! Again it means you can have a laugh with your bridesmaids and myself or your photographer will have plenty of time to get loads of pictures, which is what we are there for! And also, by having the bride and everybody ready early, means I get to leave for the church in time to capture some images of the groom and his family, but also, it gives everybody in the brides home a chance to relax without any cameras there – it’s important to have time with your bridesmaids to chill and take it all in…it can be a very emotional time for some brides.
For bridal portraits, I generally take around ten minutes to get them done. If I have more time, I will for sure capture all sorts of family groups and even some previous bride and grooms if they are part of the family, which I am lucky to do as I get to work with the same families over and over!