One reason why I love working full day weddings (from getting ready to party, about 12 hours of photography) is because I want to create a collection of images that tell a complete story of the wedding day. Not just the exchange of the rings and the first kiss and other traditional moments, but the not-so-obvious story, with all the little things that might not seem so important today, but will have lots of meaning in the future. I’m all about natural, evocative images that focus on love, family and emotion. As a wedding photographer with a focus on photojournalism and documentary photography, I never want to determine the timeline of the day; but I feel planning a timeline that takes in account the natural light available, will make your photos extra gorgeous. So today I want to share 3 quick tips to help you plan for the best light and location during the bride’s Getting Ready.
// Natural Light // I love natural light and on the day of the wedding I am very focused on finding the best light possible at any given moment. Of course when there is no natural light available, I will not sit around waiting. I will take my flashes and video lights and create my own light, which inevitably happens after sunset and into the party. But I love natural light and it is my preferred choice for work. Truth be told, good light is the most important element in photography – it can literally make or break the photo! For the Getting Ready, the ideal scenario would be a room with large windows and lots of natural light coming in through the windows, enough to lighten the room with all artificial bulbs turned off. The best is to have light-colored walls and an interesting decoration (maybe in muted pastel or natural earthy tones). Dark tones will absorb all the light and we are actually looking to maximize it with creamy tones that will reflect the light back.
// Bad Scenario // As a wedding photographer, I have become pretty good at improvising and making art with literally any conditions I’m given. But there are certain things that will always remain a photographer’s editing nightmare. The main ones are mixed light and color casts from reflective surfaces. Mixed light is very hard to see with naked eyes, because our eyes are amazing and compensate for it, but cameras will capture all of it. So for example, a little bit of daylight coming through the window + orange tungsten bulbs during the getting ready; or a mix of tungsten and fluorescent lights during the reception; daylight + fluorescent in hotels and other locations… Our eyes can’t see it but what happens is people end up with weird skin tones (often on the blue/green/purple side). Also, things like red carpets and colored furniture (and even bright-colored clothes) will reflect the color back up and make the bride and her white wedding dress look that same color. So if you are getting ready at home, pay attention to those little things and organize everything in advance. If you are getting ready at any other location, visiting the room before you decide to get ready there is a good idea!
// Chaos // There are two layers of chaos that can really interfere with your photos. The first is that background chaos from dirty dishes, purses, plastic bags, shoes, clothes and rubbish that looks super messy in the getting ready photos and films. This chaos has an easy solution though. The bride can talk in advance to the bridesmaids and everybody who will be present during the getting ready and ask for them to be conscious of the mess. Picking things up from the floor, hanging clothes inside the wardrobe, taking dishes and food to the kitchen and having a separate area for shoes and purses will make wonders! The other type of chaos is the one from the room itself. Things like exit and emergency signs, red carpets, and questionable chair and decoration choices. Those things really show up and can take away from a lovely moment in photos. That’s why I actually recommend my couples to rent a home on AirBNB or book a cozy bed & breakfast, instead of hotel rooms.