OK - so I get it. Many grooms are no overly keen on being photographed and are even less keen about getting up and being ready hours before the ceremony time. So what are groom getting ready photos and why would you consider having these photos?
1. As photographers we are story tellers and the groom getting ready is often the first part of the story of your day.
2. Your husband/wife to be will most likely not be there when you are getting ready and it's an opportunity for them to experience that time of the day
3. You have an opportunity to be photographed with parents, siblings, grandparents and significant people in your life
4. After the ceremony there is a short window of opportunity for family photos, bridal party photos and couples portraits however with the formalities out of the way you will be looking forward to the celebrations. If there are no getting ready photos it is often difficult to catch up with them after the ceremony.
Of course, you have to do what's right for you. Not everyone is going to have photographs of the getting ready stage of their day and that's ok.
If you are going to have groom getting ready photos we've put together a series of tips for you.
Location, location, location
Tip 1: Try to keep at least one room that has lots of natural light free from clutter
As professional photographers we need to be able to adapt to all sorts of environments and let's face it the average suburban house does not necessarily have high ceilings, architectural detail, and large rooms bathed in natural light. If the budget allows you could consider a hiring a fancy hotel room or air BNB but often the significance of getting ready in the family home is far more important.
In this case there are a couple of things that you can do to assist your photographer.
1. Ideally we will want to photograph in a room with lots of natural light - this is often the master bedroom or lounge so make the bed and clear any clutter from the room
2. Open window covering and outdoor blinds
Tip 2: Make sure you and all your groomsmen/women are dressed and ready when the photographer arrives
It may seem to be stating the obvious but you'd be surprise how many times that groomsmen are late. Sometimes they simply don't arrive on time and other times they haven't showered, shaved or they are waiting for someone to deliver their suit/shoes etc.
When we arrive all groomsmen/women should be completely dressed. The groom will have pants and shirt on and after we photograph the details we will capture the final stages of getting dressed.
Tip 3: - Have all your details gathered together - things like cuff links, watch, belt, tie, aftershave, rings, invitations and shoes etc.
Try to have all of your details on hand when your photographer arrives. Items such as - cuff links, tie, belt, braces, boutonniere, shoes, socks, watch, invitations, rings, aftershave and any other item of significance.
Final Stages of Dressing
Tip 4: Practise tying your bow tie or Windsor knot BEFORE the day.
Unless you went to a private school or work every day in an office requiring a collar and tie, there's a good chance that you won't be adept at tying a bow tie or Windsor Knot. If you are wearing a tie on your wedding day please take the time to google how to do it and practise getting it right in advance. If you have a large bridal party it's amazing how much time is spent on the ties.
Details on Groom
While we photograph details individually when we first arrive at the groom we feel that capture these items while the groom is wearing them provides a context.
Tip 5: Button hole flowers (or boutonniere) - every florist seems to have a different system of attaching boutonnieres. If you are unsure how to attach the flowers leave it to me!
I know this tip of leaving the boutonniere to the photographer doesn't sound like a good use of my time but in my experience it's often quicker for me to do it than leave it to the guys. Every florist seems to have a different system to attached the flowers - a combination of pins, clasps and my all time favourite - magnets! While the magnets are almost foolproof it doesn't mean you are going to get them all looking the same. If the one person attaches them all they are going to end up straight, at the same height as each other and hopefully still be there at the end of the night.
Tip 6: Be enthusiastic about having your portrait taken
Having your photo taken may not be your favourite thing to do but remember who you are doing it for. Your bride or husband to be will want a beautiful photo of their spouse, and let's not forget your parents, grandparents and any children you may have. It only takes a few minutes and we will often move to another room or quiet location away from onlookers so that you are more comfortable.
Tip 7: Remove mobile your mobile phone and wallet from your pockets. It's important to have them handy but it's not a great look having a bulging pocket.
Tip 8: Have drinks/glasses on hand for some celebration photos
Once the groom portraits are complete we now capture whole group photos, individual portraits of each grooms person and the groom with each grooms person.
Tip 9: Have family arrive half an hour before the photographer leaves for family photos
In the last half an hour of groom getting ready photos we ask that any parents, siblings, grandparents and any other family members or significant persons you would like to be photographed with, be in attendance, fully dressed and ready for photos.
Please don't underestimate the significance of these photos to not only you but your family members. As a mum of two boys these having photos of my son and immediate family before the ceremony will be very special to me.
Groom photos are generally taken well in advance of the ceremony and while this is the ideal time to capture these images, if family members can't be there, we will catch up after the ceremony.
Tip 10: If it's still too early to leave for the ceremony, consider changing out of your wedding attire
It's now time for the photographers to leave the groom and catch up again just before the ceremony.