February 12, 2016

Getting Ready Photos: The Beauty of Capturing Moments Rather Then Recreating Them






Wedding photography… being a wedding photographer is hard work. It’s a career that requires you to perform at your best no matter the situations or challenges that may arise. If it’s a rainy day, the lighting in a room is horrible, everything is behind schedule due to a wardrobe malfunction or inclement weather you are still expected to produce amazing photographs that capture the day and tell a beautiful love story. You are also the bringer of good spirits, a positive attitude and a calm shoulder to lean on; the glue that holds everything together behind the scenes.

This month I will be sharing tips for capturing timeless moments as they unfold rather then recreated them on the wedding day. I find that a photos is so sincere and deep when you capture it as it unfolds rather then trying to recreate the perfect shot. This week I will start with he getting ready photos.

Horn Photography + Design Katadm-130Her Getting Ready Photos
I adore the two shots above. The one on the left is of Kate’s mother and sister helping her into her dress. The gentle, caring yet intent look on her mothers face says it all. You can just see how much she loves her daughter and wants to make sure the dress is on perfectly so her daughter will be radiant. The look only a mother can have. Had I tried to reenact this photo the facial expression would have been forced and arms stiff – instead everything here is fluid, graceful and filled with sincere deep emotion.

The second shot on the right is Kate’s mother making sure the bows on the back of the dress are perfect. At that moment I realized both Kate’s ring and her mothers ring were right next to each other so I used this opportunity to capture that beautiful quiet moment that no one else was noticing.  And no the rings are not perfectly lined up on their fingers with the diamonds facing forward. That is exactly what tells the story as it was unfolding. Kate’s mother was working to make her daughter look amazing, she was not concerned about herself at all. All her love, energy, and thinking was on her daughter. So why would she be concerned about her wedding ring. It the ring was lined up perfectly the story would be different. This small detail adds so much to the over all wedding day story and captures a moment in time that is so precious and intimate.

5 Tips to capture her getting ready photos as they unfold
1. Make sure the brides getting ready area is clean, clear of clutter
2. Open the drapes to bring in gorgeous natural light. If raining we are prepared with an external flash or steady light.
3. Hang the dress in the getting ready area. I also set up the brides shoes, jewelry, garter + touch up lipgloss on a table or chair near by to help facilitate the getting ready process.
4. I walk everyone through the getting ready process before hand, this includes the bride, mother of the bride and bridesmaids.
5. Once everything is in place and ready to go, I go with the flow. I try to give as little input as possible once the actual getting dressed is underway. Part of the story is them all working together to get the bride ready to walk down the isle. Of course if they ask for my help I am ready to help in any way I can. But for the most part I capture everything as it unfolds.

Horn Photography + Design Katadm-096

Horn Photography + Design Katadm-233

His Getting Ready Photos
The grooms getting ready photos are just as important. While I am with the bride as she gets ready Brandon is always with the groom. When we first started shooting Brandon would just reenact the groom getting ready, usually because they would be pretty much dressed when he arrived at their room. The photos always came out good but they were missing that deep emotion the groom feels on his wedding day.

In lieu of this we started to ask our grooms to wait until Brandon arrives to start getting dressed. The photos we now capture in the moment have so much more emotion and story behind them. The top two photos of Adam getting ready are when he is actually getting dressed. There is not a slue of groomsmen helping him with each detail of his suit and making sure everything is perfect. Guys just don’t work that way. Instead it is the story of a groom who is preparing himself to marry his beautiful bride. Ensuring that he is dressed to the nine, with style and class. Each detail just as important to him.

The bottom left photo is one I particularly adore. While Brandon was taking some detail shots he saw Adam slip into the other room all by himself with a letter in his hand. So Brandon stopped what he was doing and quietly walked into the room after Adam. There he saw Adam somewhat hidden by the closet reading a love letter Kate had written him. Adam had chosen to read the love letter in a secluded place almost as if to protect Kate’s heart. To fully enjoy what she wanted to share with him without any distraction. A time dedicated to just her and her love. Brandon could have said “can you read that over there where their is a perfect background so we don’t see the hangers and closet behind you”. But he didn’t because that would have taken away from the story. There is such a beauty to where Adam chose to read the letter. No its not what the “world” says was a perfect backdrop, but it was real, authentic and tells the story of a man who will always protect his bride and her heart.

The bottom right photo is of Adam and his best man, so classic. This tells the story of two men and how they interact at such a pivotal point in each others lives. As women we are usually  face to face with lots of hugs and big tears when one of our friends are getting married. But here we see two men looking into the past, present and future all at once. Taking in the day as it unfolds. Two men that know, life from this moment on will be different, in their hearts lots of hugs and big tears still exist, but with a calm nature they stand tall with strength together.

5 Tips to capture his getting ready photos as they unfold
1. Make sure the grooms getting ready area is clean, clear of clutter
2. Open the drapes to bring in gorgeous natural light. If raining we are prepared with an external flash or steady light. (One and two are always the same for us)
3. Brandon will stylize all the grooms attire before he gets ready. Everything laid out, photographed and ready to go. Once he captures those photos the groom begins to put each piece on. Brandon will also make sure there is a seat (set in good light) for the groom to use when getting dressed.
4. Make the groom feel comfortable. Unlike ladies, guys are typically not as comfortable in front of the camera. This is where Brandon shines. He is a mans man. Brandon is great at making the grooms feel comfortable by making jokes and talking about, well what ever it is guys talk about. By the time we leave a wedding you would swear Brandon and the groom have known each other since high school.
5. Give the groom freedom. If a groom needs to walk around the room as he gets dress to kill the nerves, Brandon does not say a word. Instead he uses this as an a opportunity to move around the room himself to capture unique interesting angles that tell the story of the day.

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