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Bridal Prep Photo Tips

The Bridal preparations are quite possibly one of the most stressful parts of a wedding. As a photographer I want to capture all the emotions, fun and laughter that occur whilst getting ready with the girls – and the last thing I want to do is add to the stress. There are a few things you can do to prepare for my arrival, so that I don’t have to bother the Bride or Bridesmaids whilst getting the shots I need. Here are my top tips when preparing for the preparations!

#1: Location, location, location.

Whether it’s a swanky hotel or your own home, any location can be great for bridal prep photos. My advice is always to think about the location in advance, and make sure that it will work for you. Is there enough space for the bridal party to get themselves ready without being in each other’s’ way? Are Bride and Groom getting ready at the same place (certainly something to think about if you want Groom prep coverage as well)!

Less is certainlymore. Try to opt for a ‘clean’ room, and by this I don’t just mean not dirty but nice light walls and décor, and as minimalistic as possible; this makes for much better morning photos as it allows me to focus on the most important subject – YOU.

#2: Let there be LIGHT!

Quite possibly one of the most important elements to consider when deciding on your prep area. Setting up near a nice big window not only helps me as your photographer, but your hair and make-up artist will also be grateful!

#3: It’s all in the details…

Try to have all the small details ready for me to photograph and in one place when I arrive; shoes, jewellery, flowers, perfume – anything else special to you that you want to be captured which might not be obvious to me. This will be a huge help, and I won’t have to bother you or your bridal party in the middle of your pampering sessions to find things for me.

#4: Try to minimise the clutter!

I know this is hard, but this one will be the make-or-break of your bridal prep photos. Imagine looking back on a lovely shot of mum helping you into your dress, only to notice a messy pile of shoeboxes and ‘bits’ in carrier bags in the corner of the room. My rule is if you don’t need it there and then, put it away. Whether it’s placed in the wardrobe or hidden under the bed, until you need it, get it gone! Tidying up might be the last thing on your mind the night before the big day but trust me – you’ll thank me for it.

#5: Treat your bridal party (and yourself!)

… To matching robes or nice PJ’s for the morning of. It’s a little thing, but your Bridesmaids might not realise how much they are going to feature in the prep photos and they may regret wearing their tracksuit bottoms or their oldest, comfiest PJ’s with holes in! 

#6: THE DRESS

Speaking of what you’ll be wearing… Try to hang the dress in a nice spot for when I arrive. It’s nice to have it in the background of some of the morning photos but will also make things easier when I’m ready to do the dress shots. I like to get full shots of the dress so try to hang it somewhere high up so you can see the whole length – although if you’re not sure or aren’t able to, I am happy to choose somewhere when I arrive (and I’m very tall, which makes it easier!) Some places you could hang it are in a big window (as long as this isn’t the window you’ll be set up for hair and make-up) or the front of a wardrobe. Even just a plain wall can make a great, minimalistic backdrop.

CHOOSE YOUR HANGER WISELY. It might sounds like a silly, unimportant thing in the scheme of everything else you have to remember – but it will make a remarkable difference in the dress photos. Nice plain wooden hangers or dark velvet ones are best, or you might want to purchase (or make yourself for all you DIY brides out there!) a personalised hanger with names/date or even just ‘Bride’ engraved or stuck on it – although this is actually an important tip for the bridesmaids dresses too, as I’ll want a photo of those as well. To be honest, anything but a cheap plastic hanger will do!

#7: Last but not least…

There are always time pressures on the morning of the big day, but try not to want to rush off to the ceremony as soon as everyone is ready. I love to try and get some portraits of the Bride both on her own and with her Bridesmaids before they’ve had a chance to get a little windswept or flustered. (It also helps you to have 5 minutes to chill out a bit before it’s time to go!)

**Bonus Tip**

Choose one or two people to help you into your dress, rather than the whole bridal party. That way the others will get just the loveliest surprise when they see you all ready for the first time – and it’s a magical moment for photos too!

Well, that’s it – my tips for getting the most out of your bridal prep photos. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and please get in touch if you think I’ve missed anything!

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    Shelby Ellis Photography

    SHELBY ELLIS PHOTOGRAPHY