A wedding day, no matter who you are marrying or what corner of the Earth your are choosing to do so is a dynamic and multifaceted affair. The time spent before your wedding ceremony is one filled with monumental moments whether you are a bride or a groom about to be married. When most people think of their wedding day, obviously they think of their vows and the ceremony itself, but I’m absolutely certain there are other things one envisions on such an important and happy day. Laying out your shoes, sharing a toast of champagne with friends, finishing last minute vows, buttoning up your dress, even belting out a few songs with friends are some of the things I often witness. This is the first of my Wedding Tips series in which I’ll be sharing the knowledge I’ve gained in photographing weddings full time over the last decade.How can you tie these memories together while creating a peaceful, welcoming, and beautiful environment to be photographed?
Wedding Tips 1 – Windows!
This tip actually is prepping for your preparation. Choose wisely the location you get dressed. From a wedding photographer’s perspective, that means having windows to start. Window light is the easiest, quickest to utilize, and one of the most flattering and flexible light sources one can have in part of their preparation for the day. Choose a room that has windows! Secondly, white walls or even colored walls in a cool or berry palette are my personal favorite. Stay away from greens, red (the worst!), oranges (second worst!), and yellows. Colors easily reflect their shade onto skin tone and can make a perfect ebony or ivory skin tone orange or blighted with red and that is not a good look for anyone. If you search you might get lucky and find a chic hotel with beautiful art that you can incorporate or textures that are interesting.
When selecting a location take a look at the decor if you need to pick a hotel. It might be a good idea to choose somewhere that reflects the vibe of your wedding day. If you’re holding a Napa Valley wedding and you have an all clean, white aesthetic don’t choose a bold and vintage hotel to start your day. If you’re getting married at the Fairmont San Fransisco, for example, you are probably going to use one of their rooms. As your photographer, my only request would be to choose a corner room with extra windows and in this case, the bigger, the better.
Sometimes you altogether forgo a hotel room or venue dressing room and dress at home because 1) its free and 2) its more meaningful. While these are great reasons, sometimes aesthetically this is much more challenging for photographers. However, hypothetically you are more flexible to re-arrange furniture or even move to the living room to dress should it be more photogenic.
From hotels to family homes – If all else fails, go neutral and with windows and you can’t lose!
Wedding Tips 2 – Declutter
With all the bustle and activity, makeup, the odd shoe box, cuff links scattered about, and throw in the odd dog ring bearer, the space you prepare in for your wedding day can become a mess. Quickly. I try to tell my brides (and grooms) to have a person of honor (a bridesmaid or groomsman) try to maintain upkeep. At the very least when it comes time to put on that suit or dress designate a space (with good light) that will be clean and free of any clutter. When I’m photographing, that sometimes means as going as far as moving furniture. Below you’ll see Mae with her bridesmaids. Mae was married last year in City Hall in San Jose and the only option she had to get dressed was a conference room to my horror. So, while she was finishing the last touches of hair and makeup I scouted for a better location. (Any location was going to be better to be honest.) I walked up to the top floor where there was a hall of windows. Hallelujah. I asked her and her bridesmaids to come with me to button the rest of her dress and place her veil. There was no need to declutter this space as well. Bonus!
For part 2, come back next week!
All scans by Photo Impact Imaging
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