How to get the best wedding getting ready photos

The getting ready part of your wedding helps set the tone for your entire wedding day. It’s filled with laughs, champagne, and pumped up jams. It’s also filled with beautiful getting ready photos. But beautiful getting ready photos don’t just magically happen. Without the proper planning and preparation, getting ready photos can look dark, moody, and cramped. So, what can you do to make sure you get the best getting ready photos on your wedding day?

How to get the best wedding getting ready photos

Here are 10 simple tips that, if followed, will help you get the best wedding getting ready photos.

1. Get ready in a hotel suite or roomy Airbnb/VRBO

To get the best wedding getting ready photos, wedding getting ready rooms need to be large and roomy
Notice how the first image feels more chaotic than the second. That’s partly do to the tight getting ready space and the distractions in the background of the first image. The second images feels much more relaxed.

Bride and maid of honor gets the bride into her dress in a clean, tidy getting ready space which gives her the best wedding getting ready photos.

The more space you have in your getting ready location, the more you and your wedding party will be able to relax and spread out. The smaller the space, the more cramped and chaotic the morning will feel.

When you have ample space to get ready in, your photo backgrounds are less likely to be full of clutter. And that equals better, less distracting wedding day getting ready photos.

There’s nothing worse than taking beautifully posed photos of you getting into your dress and having what looks like dirty laundry in the background. If you don’t have enough room for your wedding party to comfortably move around and get dressed in, your getting ready photos won’t look nearly as clean or as polished as they could.

Do yourself a solid and either book a hotel suite or a roomy Airbnb.

Even if your wedding venue has a getting-ready space, it may not be large enough for your wedding party. Consider that and my next tip in your planning.

2. Tidy up your getting ready space

Bride buckles her shoe in a tidy getting ready space which gives her the best wedding getting ready photos.

No matter how large your getting ready space is, make sure to keep your space clean! Trash and laundry in the background of your getting ready photos is not only unsightly, it’s super distracting. Throw out all trash, move laundry to a room you won’t be using, and remove any items from the space that “don’t make sense” in the “getting ready” scene.

3. Have a space with plenty of natural light

Bride and mother of the bride getting ready in a well-lit getting ready room, which gives her the best wedding getting ready photos.

When I think of wedding day getting ready photos, I imagine soft, beautiful, clean light. Those kinds of romantic images are only possible if you have natural light in your getting-ready space. Natural light not only looks dreamy, it allows me to honor your and your wedding party’s skin tones. Tungston light often makes people look either dead or like orange oompa loompas.

So, before you book your getting-ready location, make sure it has windows, preferably large ones. A space without windows should nixed immediately. The more windows, the better.

What if you’ve already booked a space without windows? Look around the venue for a spot with access to clean natural light.

4. Walls should be free of distractions

The best wedding getting ready photos have distraction-free walls as this bride reads a letter from her groom.

By now you know I’m a fan of clean, neutral colors especially when it comes to the background of my photographs. So this tip should come as no surprise. Pay attention to the wall color of your getting-ready room.

Are the walls particularly dark? Are there distracting elements on them? Are the walls bright and bounce light easily?

These are questions you want to ask yourself. Ideally, the walls will be neutral in their color, with few distractions, that bounce natural light off well.

5. Gather your detail items

Wedding detail flatlay with wedding invitation suite and bridal items were gathered ahead of time which allows the photographer to take the best wedding getting ready photos.

Help your photographer by gathering all of your wedding detail items together in one place before they arrive to take photographs. Put them in an easy to carry box that they can move to wherever the best light is. Items may include two sets of your invitation suite, all three rings, shoes, wedding dress, veil, and jewelry.

Remove any and all tags from dresses and suits and hang them up on hangers before your photographer arrives. Please also steam your bridal veil (if you have one) as well as your bridal dress and all of the bridesmaid dresses incase they have wrinkles in them.

Gathering your detail items and steaming your attire ahead of time means your photographer won’t need to waste precious shooting time hunting down your items.

Tip: If you haven’t put your details in an easy to carry box ahead of time, have your Personal Attendant do this as soon as you both arrive at your getting-ready location.

6. Send your photographer any “staged” getting ready photo requests well before your wedding

Staged bridal party getting ready with mimosas.

Want fun photos with your girls in your matching robes or pjs? Or perhaps you want a photo of your party popping champagne bottles? These staged wedding day getting ready photos take time and we have to account for that time in our photography timeline.

If you want to take these wedding getting ready photos, let your photographer know a month or more before your wedding. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT spring these photos on your photographer at the last minute. If you do, don’t be surprised or disappointed when they say no. Not because they don’t want to, but rather, because there isn’t time to take them or because someone isn’t done with hair and makeup.

And that leads me to my next tip…

7. Communicate your “photo ready” time to your hair and make-up team

Communicate wedding timelines with your hair and makeup team the best the best wedding getting ready photos.

This topic was recently brought up in a wedding industry Facebook group that I’m in.

A local makeup artist said that she and other artists are often running into the situation of miscommunication about when their clients need to be photo ready. She said they deal with surprise bridesmaid dress reveals, last minute timeline alterations, and overall miscommunication about the time they need to have everyone ready.

I feel for hair and makeup artists on this! Their work takes time. That’s why it’s imperative that you communicate your photographer’s “photo ready” time with your hair and makeup team. It is not the responsibility of the photographer to do this. We are all members of the same team and if one of us is left out of the loop, the whole team (and our work) suffers.

Help your vendor team help you and communicate your timeline needs to everyone.

8. The wedding party should be dressed before you put your dress on

Bridesmaids are dressed while getting bride dressed allows for the best getting ready photos that also make sense.

Unless you specifically want your wedding party to be in their robes or pjs as they get you into your dress or tux, they should be completely dressed in their wedding attire before you get dressed.

Your wedding day getting ready photos will look more polished and put together with everyone fully dressed as they help you into your dress or tux. This is one more reason why it’s important to communicate your timeline to your hair and makeup team.

9. Give yourself time

Groom takes his time which allows for the best wedding getting ready photos.

As a photographer, I know how much time I need to photograph your getting-ready portion of the day excellently.

I know that I need at least an hour for wedding detail photos. I know issues can arise when a bride gets into her dress. I also know that couples forget to schedule time to eat and we have to take time away from their first look in order to eat a sandwich.

Because I’m the expert at what I do, I know first hand that the getting-ready part of your day take time and sometimes takes more time than what you think. That’s why it’s important to have plenty of fluff time built into your wedding photography timeline.

If you’re making your own timeline, do yourself a favor and ask your photographer how much time they need for the getting-ready part of your day. And if your photographer is creating your photography timeline for you, let them dictate you how much time they need and don’t fight them on it.

10. Trust your photographer

Trust that your photographer will help you get the best wedding getting ready photos.

Your photographer is an expert and you’ve hired them to do a job. Let her do her job! Trust her when she asks you to do something. It may not make sense to you but that’s ok. You can trust that her requests are for the betterment of your photographs.

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I'm a free-spirited love and adventure seeker who aims to inspire joy, compassion, and beauty. I hope to show each person I interact with how remarkable they are and that they have value.  


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