How to get the best getting ready photos & portraits on your wedding day

Top 5 tips for perfect getting ready photos on your wedding day

It’s the morning of your wedding – the day when you join forces to conquer the world (or at least your wedding venue).

But before you do, you’ll have to get ready for the happiest day of your lives. And it just might turn into one of the most magical parts of your entire wedding day…

You see, getting ready isn’t just taking a quick shower and brushing your teeth before putting on your wedding dress (or suit). I mean sure, you’ll do all those things too. But more importantly, getting ready is about giving yourselves the time you need to prepare for your big day both physically and emotionally.

It’s about getting lost in your thoughts & feelings. It’s about giving your chance to walk down the aisle mentally – before it actually happens. It’s about your anticipation, your excitement, and your longing for your fairytale day – and the happily ever after that follows.

Now, wedding photography – true wedding photography – is about capturing the magic of such moments.

So, I’m here as your favourite Melbourne wedding photographer to give you my top tips on how to make the most of getting ready on your wedding day. And create stunning photos that will make your heart skip a beat every time you relive one of the best parts of your wedding.

1. Have a “getting ready room” empty on your wedding day

First things first, location, location, location!

So, choose a dedicated “getting-ready space” that’s aesthetically pleasing, fits your style, and sets the tone for the first few photographs of your wedding day.

The key here is to have one location – one room – designated for getting ready, and getting ready only. This will give you some flexibility with your timeline, as well as a safe space to take all the time you need to prepare for the happiest day of your life.

Now, if you don’t have a suitable room at home, then try booking an airbnb near your wedding venue (you can even spend the night before the wedding there to save yourself some travel time on the morning of the wedding).

And finally, consider who you’d like to be there as you’re getting ready.

Maybe a few bridesmaids or groomsmen?
Maybe your entire bridal party?
Or would you prefer to get ready together?

There’s no right or wrong way to approach this – it is your wedding, after all – but your designated room must have enough space for you, and whoever you’d like to be there with you.

2. Prepare any “must-have” detail in advance

What are the things that you absolutely want to include in your first few photographs on your wedding day?

These can be anything, really. Something old or something new; something personal or something common; something white or something blue.

But whatever these must-haves are, make a checklist of everything you want to include: your rings, invitations, and wedding dress & suit, or your heirlooms, watches, and vows – just to ensure you don’t forget them.

Then, prepare them in advance (ideally all in one convenient place), and ask your photographer to find a way to include these important details in your photos.This will ensure that you’ll actually have everything on hand – without scrambling to find Grandpa’s watch, or emptying your suitcase in search of your wedding ring – saving you time and stress.

3. Create your ideal atmosphere for your getting ready photos

One of the best tips for getting ready is to create an atmosphere where you can truly zone in on your feelings, and take the time you need to prepare for the most magical day of your lives.

And this means whatever you want it to mean for you…

It might mean surrounding yourself with family & friends. People you love – people who you’d want to support you on this beautiful day. People you truly feel like yourself with – people who just get you. 

It might even be a good idea to have a coordinated attire to compliment your wedding theme. If you choose to do that, then choosing a color – and letting everyone wear what they love – is the best way to make sure it’s not uncomfy or unflattering for your friends.

Regardless, enjoying each other’s company, and just cracking up and goofing around will not lead to some candid shots of genuine joy & laughter, but will also help ease your nerves a bit, too.

But if people tend to stress you out, then just don’t have them around. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting a few moments to yourself before making the greatest commitment of your life.

Having some soft music play in the background can also be a perfect way to set the vibe for getting ready, as can a glass of champagne, a few old photo albums, or secret love letters from your partner, your family, and your friends.

No matter how you choose to do it, set the right atmosphere for you. After all, feeling comfortable is the key for beautiful & relaxed looking photos, and a magical getting ready experience.

4. Your wedding photographer needs time with both the bride and the groom

Getting ready is a magical phase of your wedding. And this means that you definitely won’t want to rush it.

I mean, just breezing through the first few moments of your special day will not only lead to fewer (and potentially worse) getting ready wedding photos. But it will also add unnecessary stress to your big day, and prevent you from embracing every moment of these magical few hours.

So, it’s important to give your photographer enough time to capture all the candid moments of the two of you getting ready on your wedding day.

But how much time is enough?

Well, enough time means very different things for the bride and groom… Try to leave around 1.5 hours for the bride’s, and no less than 45 minutes to an hour for the groom’s getting ready photos.

Ideally your hair dresser & makeup artists will arrive before your photographer. If possible, plan to have your hair and makeup scheduled to be done around 30 minutes before you’re scheduled to get into your wedding dress. This will give us some buffer time in case we run behind.

Speaking of which…

Try to plan your wedding in a way that allows some extra time during this part of the day too. Anything can run overtime, and timing will fluctuate based on how many people you’ll have there with you, or whether or not you want to have a first look (which I’d highly recommend!).

Also, make sure to factor in some travel time too if you’re getting ready for your wedding at separate locations, or if you’re not getting ready at (or near) your wedding ceremony location.

5. More natural light & less clutter for your portraits

Finally, when it comes to getting ready photos, we photographers will work with what we have.

This means that regardless of your lighting conditions and your surroundings, I’ll put my heart and my soul into capturing these rare & beautiful moments of your wedding.

But if you had an easy way to make my job of giving you a box of magical photographs a bit easier – would you take it?

If yes, then here’s how you can help me – your photographer – capture all the magic of your getting ready moments in the most beautiful way possible.

First of all, we’ll need lots of natural light. Ideally, we’ll have your photos done in a room with ALL the lights off, so we’ll need a flood of natural light to give you that fairytale glow. Unfortunately, mixed light of any kind usually leads to odd skin tones, so let’s try to avoid that if possible.

Instead, imagine warm natural light pouring in from the side through large windows with drape curtains
– now wouldn’t THAT be magical?

Secondly, let’s try to avoid any clutter in the background of your photos. Sure, this requires a bit of preparation on your part, but having clothes on the floor, or car keys & wallets on the table never looks good.

Also, get rid of the TV. Because no matter how pretty your surroundings are, a big, black, and bulky box will certainly steal the attention away from you. So if possible, remove your TV and replace it with a vase of flowers or a bouquet.

And there you have it, my top tips to make the most of your getting ready photos on your wedding day. Remember though: while these tips can help you plan for the best experience ever, the most important part of all is you! So don’t forget to take a deep breath and enjoy every single second of this special morning.

Oh, and did I mention I’m a wedding photographer? (Yeah, I know, like a thousand times already)

On a more serious note: feel free to get in touch if you’re still looking for someone to bring your vision to life and capture your getting ready moments – and, you know, the rest of your wedding too – the way you’ll always want to remember them.