Planning around light

In photography, lighting is everything. If you scroll through your favorite wedding feeds on Instagram or Pinterest, you're likely going to notice one commonality - beautiful lighting. Quality light casts delicate shadows, illuminates the best features without being too harsh, and lends glow and warmth. One part of a wedding day that can tend to get overlooked in the planning process can be where you are getting ready. Rather than thinking of it as "just a place to put your dress on," consider it as yet another backdrop to your day. Some of the most precious moments on a wedding day happen when you're in preparation mode, when you're putting the finishing touches on your makeup, your mom helps you put on your veil, and you have a sweet first look with your dad. These are all moments you will end up wanting to see in your album.

The most important consideration for your "getting ready" space should be lighting, and the first thing I urge you to consider is a room with a window (and the more, the merrier). When I walk into a getting ready space, I'm often asked if I need any additional overhead lights or lamps turned on. The truth is, no. The first thing I'll look for is any kind of window, and any coverings (curtains or blinds) will be pulled back or opened to allow as much natural light into the room as possible. Overhead lights can turn you orange or green and cast unflattering shadows under the eyes and nose, and the color of the bulbs in lamps can be unappealing as well. A best case scenario is a room with enough natural light that I can turn off all lamps and overhead lights and work only with what light is provided from the windows.

Other tips:

  • If you have the luxury of picking a getting ready space based on its style, consider the furniture and paint color on the walls. For example: light, soothing neutrals lend well to bridal preparation photos. White or very soft blue/green walls, shiplap and and board and batten will fit in well with the rest of the backdrops of a coastal wedding. Leather, rich wood and darker furniture have the masculine vibe you might want to see in a groom's getting ready space.
  • The outdoor area surrounding your getting ready location may potentially be used for group photos with your wedding party. A space with a view is of course wonderful, but a well-manicured lawn with greenery or a pretty front porch will work beautifully too.


So often our clients will choose a rental house or a large hotel suite to get ready with their mom and bridesmaids. With a lot of girls primping and prepping comes a lot of "stuff" - bags, clothes, snacks, curling irons and straighteners, makeup bags, water bottles. If possible, keep the prettiest, brightest room closed off from the group earlier in the day during hair & makeup as your designated space for "taking photos while getting dressed." Once we're ready to get you into your bridal gown, we can open the room up for photo time.


Don't forget that your "getting ready" space will also most likely be used for most of your "detail" photos. It's during this time of the day where I'll gather your invitation suite, jewelry, shoes, and dress to be photographed. For this reason, choosing a light-filled space is key.

Don't forget the groom

The boys and their "getting ready" space can sometimes be an afterthought in the grand scheme of planning. We've even had grooms get dressed in the public restroom of the venue. Although their "getting ready" coverage may not be quite as extensive as the bride and her girls, we do like to make sure your album is cohesive and beautiful. If you can pick an equally bright and beautiful space for your groom to get ready in, you won't regret it.