I absolutely LOVE photographing the getting ready stage! It's so charged with emotion. You can never quite anticipate how that part will feel when you're in the moment... nerves, excitement, an eerie sense of calm... It's when your wedding day properly starts so surround yourself with awesome people, soak it up, remember to eat something, crack open a bottle and make an awesome playlist.
So how do I approach capturing it all?
Well first off, unless you've booked photography/video highlights which includes a second photographer or you're getting ready in the same location it's not possible for me to cover prep for both of you. So you'll either need to decide if you'd like to add a second photographer (£250) or pick one place for me to shoot at that point.
Timing is key at this point in the day... having shot over 150 weddings I've learnt that if you're not careful, even with the most lovingly crafted timeline in the world... getting ready can run over and easily run late. Usually I suggest that I arrive two hours before you plan to leave for the ceremony to give plenty of time to capture things happening without you suddenly feeling like the paparazzi have descended.
I recommend being dressed and ready at least half an hour before you plan to leave for the ceremony. You'd be surprised how little things like having to pack a bag for the day, waiting for others to get dressed, a quick touch up, lacing a dress, attaching buttonholes or tying a bowtie can snowball. Not only does this mean that you have plenty of time for those last minute things, but it means that I have time to get to the ceremony ahead of you to capture the action there that you otherwise wouldn't get to see. Then, should something crop up that puts timings askew we have that extra time.
If you're getting ready in a hotel, try to make sure that there's enough space for everyone in your room. I have been known to have to do a ninja roll over a bed when there's no space to move round the room otherwise. I'd also recommend looking for somewhere with plenty of natural light because window light is just dreamy and one of my favourite kinds of light to shoot. It's also the best light to apply make up in, if that's something you're going to be doing so: win/win.
If you're getting ready at home: awesome. I love photographing people in their own space, surrounded by their things, favourite photos hanging on the walls. Don't stress about it being perfect... in years to come you'll love to remember what your home looked like at such an exciting time in your life.
If you want me to shoot specific details such as rings, outfits, accessories please get these ready to show me when I arrive. These kinds of shots can be great for setting the scene but detail shots are never my priority because my focus is on documenting the action. So, I'm not going to spend a long time meticulously arranging dresses or shoes because I could end up missing some brilliant moments.
I don't tend to do much posing during this point of the day, partly because timings can prevent it and also because with so many nerves flying around it's much easier to get relaxed posed group shots later on in the day. I tend to keep any direction during getting ready to a minimum, sometimes suggesting a good spot in gorgeous light to stand in to get dressed, or grabbing a quick portrait.