Picture Perfect 1 ~ Wedding Prep

Approximate time:
2-4 hours

Having a good photographer is always important, and a great photographer can work to make almost any scene into something beautiful on the other end. A lot of photographers won't admit it, but that extra effort often isn't necessary, and can result in less photos of the things that matter most to you, and more time in post processing, waiting to get your wedding photos back.

I don't necessarily recommend that the bride and groom take responsibility for keeping an eye on all these things - after all, isn't that what the best man and maid of honour are there for? ;)

Here are a few things you can do to make your wedding prep time look even more beautiful in your wedding photos:

1) Simple

On your wedding day, with bridesmaids visiting, and family crashing in, it can be easy to lose sight of the mess that might be unfolding around you. Just take a step back and think about all the things you could hide away, and take a fresh look at the room(s) you'll be photographed getting ready in.

Some simple things you can do to mitigate the mess:

- Put all your your toiletries and odds and ends in the washroom, closet, or an adjacent room where you can get at them quickly.

- Too much stuff to move? Get ready in a different room than the one where all your clothes and sundries are.

- Still too much stuff? Ask a friend or relative if you can do your wedding day prep at their place, and then just bring what you need. This is actually more common than you might think! 

-Alternately, you might want to get ready in a nice hotel room, even when you live in the same town as where the wedding is taking place. This allows you to be in the same building as their visiting family or friends, and also adds the flexibility of quickly switching to the tidier hotel room of a friend across the hall if things get completely out of hand.

2) Big

Is the space you have mind for prep really large enough for you, your bridesmaids, all their things, your parents and your wedding dress(es)?

Fixing this could be something as simple as moving out into your living room or another room of the house that doesn't have a bed sitting in the middle of it.

If you're all going to be running into each other and stepping on each other's feet, you might end up running behind. In addition, having more room will increase the options the photographer has available to them for angles and will make it easier for them to sneak great candid shots.

3) Bright

One of the first things I do when entering the room is open most of the curtains/blinds. Some rooms, though, are just plain gloomy no matter what you do. I'll bring lots of flash equipment so that I can make the light work however I want it to, but if I don't have to deal with batteries, adjusting lights and angles, it will save me time to take more pictures. Also, not having light stands in the way, and flashes going off constantly can make your space and time more pleasant as well.

The artificial lighting already in the room can sometimes be helpful, but sometimes it can also be a hinderance, as some fluorescent bulbs cast an unsightly green light, and sometimes the light emitted by different bulbs in the same room will have different colour casts. Natural light is always your best friend.

4) Chill

Ask yourself, about any given part of your wedding day: "How long will that take?"

Ready for the correct answer? Here it is: Longer than you think. 

The more time you've padded your day with, the less stressed out you'll be. If you've over estimated one part of the day, you'll just have a minute to sit back, relax, and have a drink or snack with your friends later on.

It's a wedding day, not a wedding hour. You might as well make a day of it and get through everything at your own pace, and not have to always be worrying about the timing. This will also help a great deal with the last point:

5) Fun

Even with all the things you need to remember and accomplish throughout the day, the most important thing for you to do is to never lose sight of what the day is: a celebration. Goof off, tell jokes, take nothing any more seriously than is absolutely necessary. You don't want to be stressed all day, and you don't want to look like you were having a terrible day in your wedding photos afterwards. Get everything out of the way in advance and just enjoy your time with your friends and family.

Ironically, the most important thing you can do to make sure you'll have a great time on your wedding day is to have a good plan in place, and (this one is important!), people you trust that know all about your plans for the day who are in charge of making sure everything happens the way you want it to. By the time your wedding day rolls around, if something goes wrong, it should be someone else's problem. All the planning in the world won't do you much good if you have to tend to little problems as they arise all day. This is Your day, so make sure it's a vacation day, and not a work day!

Once you've gotten all that down, just ignore the photographer unless they need something from you, or you need something from them, and enjoy your day. You might be surprised at the results!