How to Take Your Getting Ready Photos to the Next Level

Probably one of the last things the average bride thinks about is where she’ll get ready on the day of her wedding. Most settle for the convenience of the church basement or a room in a hotel. I’m sure you’ve fallen in love with the magazine-worthy shots you see on Pinterest or wedding blogs of brides dressing and hope to have similar photos for your wedding day. But be aware that these shots are only possible when the lighting and room conditions are just right.

Beautiful ambient window light on wedding day

To best achieve this look, I recommend working with your photographer to determine the best location and timeframe for your getting ready photographs, since nothing sets the tone of the wedding day photography and your wedding album more than these first shots of the day.


When choosing the location, consider the room size and storage. More bridesmaids means more stuff, so choose a location where bags and clothes can be set “off stage” and out of the camera’s line of sight. Cluttered rooms make for distracting images, which we obviously want to avoid.

Getting ready on wedding day in natural light

The next consideration that I can’t stress enough is to find a room with great natural ambient (or window) light. For lovely, flattering photographs, nothing is better than sunlight. Choose a location with light, neutral-colored walls and large, sun-facing windows to make best use of the natural light on your wedding day.


Bride and bridesmaids in matching robes

What will you and your bridesmaids wear prior to slipping on your gowns? Something fun I’ve been seeing more recently are pretty matching robes or personalized loungewear in the wedding colors. Regardless of what you choose, ensure it is something you are comfortable having in your wedding album. (ie Make sure it’s clean, not tattered, maintains modesty, etc.)


Mother of the bride helping her get ready

Decide ahead of time who you want helping you get into your gown. Advise those individuals before the day of the wedding so that they are dressed for the day with makeup and hair done on time. Too often I’ve had a mom or sister of the bride shy away from helping because they’re not willing to be photographed without makeup. It breaks my heart!


Photographing wedding details on wedding day

Last but not least, have all of your details together in one spot prior to the photographer arriving that morning. While you’re in the beginning stages of hair and makeup, your photographer can use that time to snag beautiful shots of your bouquet, stationery, shoes, dress, jewelry, perfume, and any special details representing your wedding day.


When it’s all said and done, discuss with your photographer what his or her recommendations are, and they’ll work with you to get the very best imagery. Once the morning is set in motion, let your concerns melt away and leave everything to the professionals! Just don’t forget to have fun!!

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emily@emilyswanphotography.comSioux Falls, South Dakota