GETTING READY -Tips & Tricks

Wedding mornings are the BEST! You’re with your best friends, getting ready to see your groom, and anticipate finally becoming husband and wife in just a few hours!! It’s one of my favorite times on a wedding day to show up, give you a hug, and then begin photographing all the fun stuff! In order to get gorgeous "getting ready" photos, here are some tips to help me to make these photos picture-perfect! 

"Getting ready photos" all depend on what you are wanting out of it. Some brides are very minimal with these photos only wanting a few pictures of her putting her dress on, and some brides really go all out and want tons of getting ready photos including the bridal party, gifts for the parents, and private letters exchanged between bride & groom. These few hours are some of my favorite of the day. They allow me to be creative, and get to know you and your bridesmaids a little better. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your "getting ready" session:

  • -Are you wanting to exchange gifts with bridesmaids and groomsmen? Now is the best time to do so!

  • -Do you want photos of all the bridesmaids/groomsmen getting ready together? Make sure they know- so they can plan on being ready!

  • -Do the bride and groom want to do a gift/letter exchange? You can do this privately with each other before the ceremony, privately on your own, or you can read them out loud to your girls ;) Either way, I think this tradition is one of my favorites.

  • -Will the bride and groom be getting ready at the same time? Please arrange different times (if possible) So I can get everything I need!

  • -Will the bride and groom be getting ready at the same place? If not, you will need a second shooter to get the guys, while I stay with the girls. (or you need to schedule different times for me to cover both)

  • -What details do you want photographed? Please see my details tips on the bottom of this page.

  • PORTRAITS! I loooooove getting portraits of my bride and groom in their room before we head off to the ceremony.


Timing of "getting ready" can range from 1-2 hours depending on what you have planned.
I recommend having me for 2 hours so I can get to the guys as well as the girls, but this is all up to you!
Please work with your planner to see what she suggests for the timeline.


1. Pick a location that is spacious, full of light and reflects your aesthetic.

Don't let your pre-wedding space be a mere afterthought — you'll be spending a significant portion of your day getting primped and pampered there. The getting ready area should be a special place with plenty of space that makes everyone feel cozy and relaxed. It should also compliment your vision for the day. For example, if you're having an elegant ballroom wedding, perhaps a suite at an upscale historic hotel would be a nice fit. If possible, try to book a corner room. When light is coming in from more than one direction it envelopes you, creating a soft light that makes everyone look fabulous. If you aren't able to be choosey on which room you get, I suggest finding a room with WINDOWS. When I am photographing details I often turn all the lights in the room off so we only use the pretty daylight that comes in through the window. Nobody likes the tungsten overhead lights. The more window light, the better. If possible, please ask your MUA to set up next to a window. 

2. Remember: Less is more.

I always swear by the motto that less is always more. Try to keep the numbers down in the prep room. The more people in the room, the harder it is for me to work around them. We want your loved ones near you, but try to monitor who comes in, and who stays out. And clean up all that clutter! A little background music and some mimosas are a must, as is a sense of humor to lighten up the mood and start celebrating!

3. MUA suggests the order of operations!

After speaking to a lot of make-up artists, I've been told to always try to get the brides makeup done somewhere in the middle of everyone else. If you schedule for all the bridesmaids to be done first, the MUA is usually rushing to finish the brides makeup and we aren't able to get pictures. MUA Jill Marie suggests having the bride get her makeup done first or somewhere in the middle of the bridesmaids. Once the photographer shows up, the MUA can stage some getting ready photos (touchups of lipstick and blush.) This ensures that the bride is done and ready to go before the photographer shows up for pictures.

4. Keep the room clean.

I.e. don't trash it! I often arrive ready to shoot preparation photos and end up spending lots of valuable time cleaning up before we can even get started. Throw away trash, hang extra clothes in closets and hide suitcases under beds.. If you keep things as organized as possible then we will have more time to work with you and the bridesmaids capturing the photos you want. Please remember, I value getting great photos as much as you do. If I have to photograph you in a messy room with dirty laundry all over the floor, I promise we both won't be happy with the photos in the end. 

5. Get all your details you'd like photographed together and in one spot.

When my assistant and I arrive we're getting a lay of the land, figuring out where the good light is and we are being introduced to everyone. Save us some time and energy by having your special details all in one place or box, so we can create stunning detail shots without the stress of hunting down those details! Have a special hanger you'd love your dress photographed with? I recommends asking your bridesmaids to take your dress out of its bag, and place it on that hanger prior to your photographer's arrival. It's also a good idea to get them to steam out any last minute wrinkles.

6. Don't forget the guys.

Speaking of grooms, while the prep photos of him and his guys aren't nearly as involved, they'll still need to follow a few basic rules. We always ask that the groomsmen be fully dressed, and for the groom to be dressed in his pants and unbuttoned shirt upon arrival. This allows us to take photos of the groom getting ready (buttoning his shirt, tying his tie, putting on his cufflinks, etc.) — then do some quick portraits of the groom alone and with his boys before we head to the ceremony. Another quick tip: empty your pockets, gentlemen! Cell phones, keys and wallets make for bulging pockets that aren't flattering in the least. Leave them in the room or have someone else carry them for you.

7. Share your creative vision with me.

Have ideas for specific getting ready shots? Let me know in advance. For instance, one of my brides asked for a photo of her pinning a memorabilia fabric to her dress. Please communicate these small things to me before-hand so that me or my assistant can look out for them.

8. Savor the moments.

The getting ready shots are just as much about the details as they are the candid moments. Relax, enjoy yourself, let us do our thing and try to pretend we aren't there. Feel the emotions of the moment and trust that if we need something from you, we'll ask.



I wanted to give you a list of some of the details to have ready for me so you get AMAZING detail shots of the items you’ve put so much time and thought into choosing! And the best part? Most of these can be put together days (or weeks!) before the wedding so you don’t even need to think about it on your wedding day! But make sure someone else is in charge of getting these things where they need to be AFTER they have been photographed. I would hate to have your wedding rings or vows left in the hotel because you assumed I was in charge! (I can’t handle that kind of pressure!) ;)



First, have the rings with you at your preparation spot! And don’t forget the GROOM’S ring!! Having all three together in one spot will help me be able to just grab them, and I’ll be sure to take good care of them! With all three I’m able to get some amazing shots of how perfect they all look together, as well as creative shots of your rings with your invitations!


Have all your stationary together so I can get some gorgeous shots of this! Save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards and envelopes, programs, and any other stationary you may have had related to your wedding! Since these are your colors, photos of these can really tie the whole day together!


Before you put your jewelry in, I’m going to snag some photos of it with your other details! Your sparkly earrings resting on your bouquet, or sprucing up the shot of the invitation suite really make for some beautiful shots! And I know you carefully picked your jewelry for your wedding, so I want to be sure I provide you with amazing photos of it!


I’d suggest just using your shoebox as a way to store all of this, but of course I’ll want pictures of your shoes! If possible, avoid wearing your shoes before your wedding day (unless you’re having bridal portraits, and be really careful to keep them clean during those!). This way I can get shots of them laying on your dress, or close ups without any dirt or spots on them. But I know my brides LOVE a good pair of weddings shoes so I always get giddy seeing which ones they went with! If you have worn the shoes before, make sure they are clean and ready for photos before handing them to me ;)


I love when flowers can arrive while I’m photographing details! This means I can focus on the flowers and get some incredible shots of them while they’re at their freshest point, and also incorporate them into the other detail shots. If your florist allows, see if you can even get some scrap petals or greenery from the bouquet so I can use that as well during detail shots! I know they always have scrap pieces that didn't make it into the bouquet, that I always love to incorporate in detail shots.


Keep it simple. I love just a basic white or wooden hanger. If you wish to get one monogrammed, that works! But a simple wood hanger is perfect for me! (Please don't make me shoot a gorgeous wedding dress on a plastic hanger.) ;) Make sure you have a bridesmaid or planner help steam your dress so it is ready for when I arrive! I love a good dress photo!

THE vows

Of course, everything is optional- including this. I promise I won’t thumb through them to get a sneak peak, but I do think getting photos of what you wrote them on is always special, or getting that messy handwriting can always be so timeless :)


I usually bring my styling board, ring boxes, and some ribbon with me to all my weddings, but if you have anything you'd like me to use, please remember to include this in your details so I can use it!

Timing of "getting ready" can range from 1-2 hours depending on what you have planned, or what you need photographed.
I recommend having me for 2 hours so I can get to the guys as well as the girls, but this is all up to you!
Please work with your planner to see what she suggests for the timeline.

There you go, All my tips and tricks on having a smooth getting ready session. I hope this answered most of your questions! Happy wedding planning :)