I must admit, the bridal preparation is absolutely one of my favourite times of the day. Only once have I not photographed the bride prior to the ceremony and it felt so wrong just turning up to the church without any kind of 'warm up'! I usually arrive between 2 and 2.5 hours before the ceremony start time so I can take my time and get some lovely detail shots and candid moments. I approach this part of the day like I do the rest, with a documentary feel. I am going to post lots of detail shots in another post (this is the first thing I do when I get there) but I thought I would just focus on the bride today. Usually as I arrive, or as I am finishing up the photographs of your jewellery, dress and shoes, you are having the last touches applied to your make up. Carina's apartment was a beautiful location for her 'getting ready' phase as it featured large windows letting in lots of light, and was modern and stylish :)
Jo was primped and pampered in a gorgeous suite at the Sheraton in Perth above. Massive mirrors are always handy ;)
Sometimes when I arrive, I get to capture fun little moments between the girls - has brushing teeth ever looked so sexy?
Emily received a cute little T shirt from her hilarious bridesmaids featuring her new married name and this was the moment she realised what it said.
Elise and her girls sharing a laugh before the dress went on..
Sometimes getting the dress on takes a while - make sure you leave enough time if it has a lace-up back. Jade got ready in a stunning little studio apartment on Harvest Road in North Fremantle.
Leah got ready at the Hyatt Perth in a suite featuring a large living area and two bedrooms so everybody had plenty of room to move around.
Jessica chose to go to the Duxton Perth for her bridal preparation and had two rooms adjoining to allow more space.
Great bridesmaids really are indispensable at this point (or your mum!). It is always better for the photos to have someone who is dressed and ready, helping you with your dress. Also, as much as make up and hair artists are lovely and often try to help, it is nicer to have your family and friends in the images rather than your vendors. Absolutely no offense to helpful vendors! I just feel that having people that love and care about you helping you into your dress, results in a much more powerful photograph.
Above, Carina's sister helps her with her jewellery and below, Leah places her earrings in with the help of her bridesmaids, in the five star resort on Hamilton Island, The Beach Club.
Always wise to get help putting the shoes on. Some wedding dresses get pretty hard to bend in ;)
It may seem that I am promoting modern, stylish hotel rooms to get ready in. Okay yes I am, BUT another option is finding somewhere with a bit of character. If you or your parents perhaps have an older home with period features, make the most of it! You can also find houses such as this one here where Amy is getting ready.
Once you and your bridesmaids are ready, it is nice to spend ten minutes getting some relaxed, casual portraits. I love this one of Leah and her pageboys:
It's almost a crime to get all dressed up on your wedding day and not get a beautiful portrait of yourself! Even if you don't like being in front of the camera, focus on the fact that you look absolutely amazing, you are all made up, your hair looks gorgeous and well....work it! As much as I love photojournalistic coverage, I am not a purist and think it is incredibly important to make sure you still get a few formal portraits of yourself (and your groomie of course!). This is just my humble opinion however - every photographer is different.
I adore the one of Margie below. Natural, beautiful, serene...
So wherever you choose to get ready, make sure it is clean and uncluttered and there are big windows to let in lots of lovely natural light. I never use a flash at this point in the day (I rarely use it prior to the reception), so the images remain soft and natural. Next week I will talk about the little details: your flowers, jewellery, perfume, shoes and dress and how I like to photograph them...