Bride Getting Ready | How to Ensure Your Photos Look Incredible

As the bride, the location you choose to get ready during your wedding can have a dramatic impact on the way those photos look. To avoid common pitfalls and make sure you don’t end up with a location that doesn’t fit your wedding vision, here are a few of my top tips.

Bride Getting Ready Portrait

1. Space is Everything

The bigger the room, the more variety we have when taking pictures. Depending on the size of your family and bridal party, a smaller room can make it difficult for them to fit in the room together.  Smaller rooms also make it challenging to capture pictures that show off your full dress, so make sure there is lots of space to move around.

In a home or an Airbnb, the best room for this is usually the living room. Oftentimes furniture can be moved around to make the most of the space and to capture a variety of different poses.

This can often be a big challenge when photographing in a hotel so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing your location.

Bride Getting Ready Double Exposure

Soft, Neutral Wall Colors

If possible, avoid rooms that have darker colored walls and instead, look for rooms that are white or neutral in color, and that don’t have distracting patterns or wallpaper.

Colored walls can reflect light back onto the scene, causing skin color shits that may not look natural. Surrounding yourself with white and neutral bright colors will help you ensure this does not happen.

Bride Getting Ready Black and White

Big Windows are a Must

Taking amazing photographs begins with having amazing light. The quality (which is often different than the quantity) of the light in the room will have a huge impact on the look of your photographs. Here’s a few things you can do to make sure your room has great light.

Bigger is Better

When it comes to window light, the bigger the window the better. Windows that stretch all the way to the ground are the best case scenario, but any large window will always work great.

Bride Getting Ready Shoes

More Than One

If you prefer that light and airy look to your photographs, it helps to have at least two windows at a 90 degree angle to one another. This is called clamshell lighting (as the positioning of the lights looks like a clam with it’s shell open) and is my favorite type of light for getting ready pictures.

Most of the pictures you see in this post were taken with clamshell lighting.

Hotel Tips: Facing East

If you do get ready at a hotel, here’s a trick to make sure you get the best light—ask for a room that has windows that face east. This is the direction that the sun rises, which often means more light will come through in the early morning.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially in hotels—try to avoid first floor rooms as sometimes the buildings that surround you can block out much of the light.

Bride Getting Ready Group

Go with an Airbnb

If you’re not getting ready at your venue, I always recommend getting ready at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Here’s why:

Less Money

Airbnb’s are often much cheaper than a hotel room. A quality Airbnb can sometimes cost less than half that of a fancy hotel, and have better elements for taking getting ready photographs.

More Space

With an Airbnb, you can rent out an entire home which gives you access to many rooms. This will give you the space your family and friends need to get ready while still being together.

Bride Getting Ready Detail

Less Chaos

Airbnb’s can also be more intimate than a hotel. You, your family and friends are the only ones there, and don’t have to deal with other hotel guests.

Especially during popular wedding weekends, there may be four or five wedding parties using the same hotel. This can be chaotic and stressful when trying to coordinate family and friends.

More Control

Finally, with an Airbnb, you have more control over how the space will look. With a wide variety and photographs of the location available online, it’s easy (especially for your photographer) to see if it can provide great conditions for fantastic photos.

Not Sure What Looks Good? I Can Help!

If we are working together and you need help figuring out your getting ready location, feel free to send me the listings you are considering. I can then give you my feedback on the locations I think would be the most photogenic based on my experience.

Bride Getting Ready Father

Final Thoughts

Great photographs start with proper preparation. By following these principals above, you will not only ensure that your getting ready photographs will look incredible, but also that you can focus on enjoying the beginning of your wedding day!

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Hi there! I'm Tom

I'm a New York and destination wedding photographer who specializes in light and airy imagery while bringing a friendly approach to telling your love story.

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