5 Essential Things You Need for the Best Getting Ready Photos at Your Wedding

Bride laughing with bridesmaids drinking prosecco

Using my knowledge and experience photographing lots of weddings, I’m here to give you advice on what you can do to get the best getting ready photos.

As a wedding photographer, I believe it’s such an important part of the day to have recorded. I love arriving on the morning of a wedding and capturing all the excitement, laughter and pre-ceremony nerves as you get ready to say I do. It’s such an underrated part of the day!

And, believe it or not, you have more control than you think over how your bride prep or groom prep photos will look!

But first, let’s talk about why getting ready photos are just as important as the rest of the day when it comes to photography.

Bride portrait in bridal suite with candles and flowers surrounding her

Why Are Getting Ready Photos So Important?

I don’t know about you, but I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, so imagine trying to remember how you spent your wedding morning without having any photos to take you back to that moment?

Having those important photos means that you’ll be able to relive your whole day from start to finish. Your wedding album will tell the whole story of your day, not just what happens after you walk down the aisle.

You will feel more comfortable and at ease having me around on your wedding day if I have already spent a few hours with you getting ready in the morning. You’ll be so used to me and my cameras by that point that you’ll hardly notice me the rest of the day!

Groom buttoning waistcoat in hotel room

Getting ready photos are important for your partner too! They get to see what you got up to and witness the transformation as you get ready. They’re even more special if you choose to get ready together!

If you’re getting ready separately and would like coverage of both parties getting ready, then a second photographer is the way to go. Add a second photographer to any package up to six weeks before your wedding, just get in touch and let me know!

Groom smiling whilst best man adjusts his bowtie

So, if you want wedding photos that tell the whole story of your day for you and your partner, getting ready photos are a must-have.

5 Key Elements for the Best Getting Ready Photos

When it comes to getting ready for your wedding, I’ve put together an in-depth guide with 5 important things to think about so you can get the best out of your wedding photography. The first 3 on the list play a hugely important role in the 3 things every documentary wedding photographer is looking for in great wedding photos: light, moment and composition.

Bride having her makeup done in window light


Where to Get Ready?

Choosing where to get ready can make the biggest impact when it comes to your getting ready photos and it’s always about the available space. The more space you have the better the photos will be. So whether you choose to get ready in a hotel room, a bridal suite at your venue, an air BnB, your own home or childhood home, making sure the space is big enough to be comfortable in is the key thing to remember.

Your getting ready photos will usually be the first images you see in your wedding gallery, so choosing a space that looks appealing is important to consider. Chances are, you chose your wedding venue because you loved the way it looked, so why not give your wedding prep venue the same loving treatment?

Best man pinning buttonhole onto groom's jacket in front of a big window

Say No to Clutter

People will most likely be coming and going throughout the whole time you’re getting ready and it’s so easy for clutter to build up, especially if you’re in a small room with lots of people. Having a bigger space allows you to spread out whilst keeping things as tidy as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have another room or closet to ditch your clutter in then that’s great, otherwise keeping everything in one spot as out of the way as possible is just as effective.

Howsham Hall bridal suite with dress hanging on the mirror

You could always nominate a friend or family member to do a quick sweep every now and again to keep the room looking tidy if need be. Remember, plastic bags, empty water bottles and your bright red hoody are all things that distract your eye from the people in photos and the story that’s being told.

Why Having More Space Is Better for Photos

Being a photographer means that I’m always working hard to get the best possible photos I can for my couples. I love to create photos that are interesting using different compositions and the more space we have to work in, the more flexibility we have in terms of creating unique storytelling photos that you’ll love and want to share! Wedding prep photos should never be an afterthought!

Bride and bridesmaids laughing and drinking whilst getting ready


The quality of natural light in the space you choose to get ready in is really important for great photos. The brighter the space, the better quality the photos will be overall.

Position yourself in the brightest part of a room for all the must have getting ready moments such as your bridesmaids helping you into your wedding dress or fixing the tie on your suit. Hint: This spot will most likely be right next to a window!

Ask your makeup artist to seat you facing a window as natural light for makeup photographs is much more flattering than the artificial light that comes from an LED ring light.

Here is an example of a gorgeous wedding portrait photos taken in good natural window light:


Having a positive, fun atmosphere on the morning of your wedding is really important. It will make you feel calm and happy and this will reflect in your photos! So surround yourself with the people that mean the most to you and that make you feel good, whether it’s family, best friends or bridesmaids.

Don’t forget about music! Put a playlist together with upbeat songs that really get your energy up and have it playing whilst you’re getting ready or having your hair and makeup done.

Bride laughing with bridesmaids drinking prosecco

Good Vibes Mean Good Photos!

Sometimes, things don’t quite go to plan. It could be a dress malfunction, or that your flower girl suddenly doesn’t want to walk down the aisle. Whatever happens, remember that nobody else will notice but you – so don’t dwell on any negative feelings. Shake it off and don’t sweat the small stuff on the day!

And just in case, pick up an emergency sewing kit so there’s no need to panic!

Celebrate Your Favourite People

Why not celebrate the people close to you by making them feel special? Everyone loves to feel like part of something big, so things like matching robes to get ready in or personalised champagne flutes are lovely gifts that always go down well with a bridal party. Having matching outfits will really make it feel like a wedding and not just any old morning. They always look great in your wedding gallery too.

Capturing candid moments is the biggest part of my job as a wedding photographer and I often find myself smiling behind the camera or having a watery eye during an emotional moment. I especially love it when I have a bride or groom opening a card or gift from their other half before they see each other. It always makes for a heartfelt photo!


Keeping all your important bits and pieces together in one place will really help you to feel organised and prepared for the day ahead. You might have shoes, flowers, perfume, jewellery or other accessories. Laying all these out in one spot means that I can access everything easily and get some stunning detail photos quickly and efficiently before getting back to capturing you having a laugh with your friends!

Bridal prep stationary with candles, flowers and ribbons

if you’re on the lookout for bouquet inspiration, then check out this post full of awesome colourful wedding flower inspiration!

Whether you’re a bride or a groom if you have a wedding dress or outfit you want photos of, make sure to hang it somewhere so it’s on display.


Speaking from a LOT of experience, the biggest mistake I see most brides in particular make on the morning of their wedding is leaving it too late to get dressed. The last 30 minutes before your ceremony goes so quickly that you can literally blink and the time is gone!

The last thing you want is to feel rushed and stressed before you get married, as the emotion you feel will come across in your photos. When you look back over your wedding gallery you want to remember how excited you were to get married, not how flustered you felt because you were running late.

If you’re wearing a wedding dress, I would advise getting into it 45 minutes to an hour before your ceremony, or before you’re due to leave. Especially if it’s a corset back or button back! Trust me when I say that getting dressed 30 minutes before will not give you enough time to get everything done whilst still enjoying the experience.

Having someone on hand to keep track of the time is really handy, so make sure one of your wedding/bridal party has a watch to check on!

The Benefits of Being Wedding Ready Early

  • It gives you time to really soak in what’s happening and what you’re about to do. That means time to get excited!
  • Being ready early gives you chance to get some food or drink. Hydration is underrated at weddings, but if you’ve been on the prosecco since 8 am, chances are a glass of water and a croissant will do you a whole world of good!
  • There will be more time for photos if you’re dressed early. Why not have a reveal to parents, family, friends or your bridal party? Those reaction shots are priceless and sometimes the most treasured photos – especially if it’s an emotional moment with your friends seeing you in your wedding dress for the first time like this!
Bride first look with bridesmaids
  • Time to grab a quick portrait of the complete look whilst you’re still fresh! I love to take a couple of stunning photos of you before I leave. It’s a really nice way of rounding off that section of wedding day photos in your gallery.
  • If you’re ready early, I can leave early too! This means I’ll be able to capture your guests arriving and being seating and your partner who will be ready and waiting for you.
  • Time for a first look maybe? Having a first look with your partner is such a great idea and seeing each other will help calm the nerves before you get married.

Last Minute Getting Ready Checklist Before Your Big Moment

  • Go to the toilet one last time, seriously, and brush your teeth.
  • If your flowers are in water, dry the stems off with a towel or tissue.
  • Get into your wedding dress or outfit and shoes.
  • Don’t forget deodorant/perfume!
  • Do a reveal to your important people such as your bridesmaids.
  • Take a drink – of water!
  • Any makeup top-ups or last-minute hair adjustments.
  • Get family or friends to help with any jewellery or accessories.
  • Have a friend pack a bag with anything you might need later on in the day like makeup or your phone of course!
  • Take 5 and enjoy your big moment!
Smiling groom with best man pinning button hole on

Here’s a quick summary of how to get the best getting ready photos at your wedding:

I hope this blog post has helped you know what to look out for in order to get great getting ready photos at your wedding! But here’s a quick summary as a reminder:

  • Choose a nice big open space with lots of light to get ready in
  • Get ready with people who make you feel good and make sure to have a good music playlist!
  • Keep all your bits and bobs in one place and make sure someone is on hand to keep things tidy
  • Get dressed early! You’ll be grateful for the extra breathing room!

If you need any extra help or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch at any time! You can email me directly at info@jennakathleen.com.