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  • Grace Williamson

Bridal Preparation Tips

I have been running a bit late for work this week, and it got me thinking about the morning of a wedding, and how chaotic they can be! The bride and bridemaids having their hair and makeup done, usually a couple of family members floating around worrying, making sure the dresses are perfect, trying to be on time for the ceremony....

And among all that, there is the photographer desperately trying to capture all the magic!

It can be quite overwhelming with all the commotion, but don't panic! Below I have put together some little tips that may help you stay focused and organised :)

+ Stay out the way. The bridal party won't want to be tripping over you as they move around the room. As important as the photographer's job is, the bride being calm and ready for the day is the main focus.

+ Be unobtrusive. A good photographer will blend into the background of events, and the bride will hardly notice they are there. It sounds a little strange, but it means that everyone will just act naturally and you will be able to get some truly candid photographs.

+ Use natural light where possible. Most hotel rooms have large windows with net curtains that cast lovely soft light. Odds are the bride will not mind having her hair and makeup done in a position in front of the windows, especially since the hairdresser/makeup artist will be able to see better.

+ Take wide angle and zoom lenses. Both of these are useful during bridal prep. Wide angle photographs would be better with a smaller aperture to get more in focus, but with a zoomed shot for detail a wider aperture would exclude any unnecessary distractions. Zoom lenses also let you stay out of the way more easily, and mean that you won't be in the bride's face constantly.

+ Keep an eye on the whole scene. While the bride is the main focus of the day, keep an eye on what the bridesmaids/flower girl/mother of bride are all doing. There may be some great candid photos waiting to happen!

+ Bounce flash. If you need to use an off-camera speedlight, the best way is to bounce it off the ceiling or walls. This will make it much softer and light more of the scene. Harsh lights are not great in small rooms.

+ Use mirrors. Getting a photo of the bride over her shoulder looking into a mirror tends to be a nice set up, as well as getting her face without being in front of her. Just make sure you can't see yourself!

So we have the technique, we have the demeanour, and all we need now are the shots. I've put together a short list of the detail photographs that immediately come to mind

+Bride's dress

+Bridesmaids' dresses

+Bouquets +Engagement & Wedding Rings +Shoes +Bride having her hair and makeup done

+Bridesmaids having hair and makeup done +Bride being helped into dress +Mother of bride/Maid of Honour zipping bride up (or similar)

+First look by bridesmaids/mother/father

Along with these, you have the group shots, family shots, and bridal portraits. Hopefully that's enough to get you started.

I hope this has helped a little to think about lighting, focal length, and ideas.

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