Okay, I have decided to do something a little bold. A little bit different. Before you read on, I would like to say that no, I have not lost my photographic marbles. Well, not yet anyway. You see, I have decided to ditch the phrase 'getting ready shots' and replaced it with 'behind the scenes' Good plan!
I do have my reasons. This is not me just going out on a creative whim trying to stand out from the wedding crowd. I have indeed given this a lot of thought. Too much perhaps.
Its more than me just not liking the term 'getting read shots' although I do think its dated but that's not the reason why I have ditched it. You see, 'getting ready shots' is a misnomer. You are not getting ready for your wedding, getting ready is part of your wedding. Its just the business that happens out of view but equally as important. I view wedding photography as akin to photographing theatre. What happens behind the scenes in theatre plays a key role to what happens on the stage. Its the brief hurried moment in time that sets the scene for the main act. Essential to any production. Preparation is key.
Its hidden from the audience but fundamental to the main act.
I do see weddings as a whimsical romantic time that very much reminds me of the Nutcracker. All pretty ballerinas and eloquent drama. If you are lucky enough (privileged is probably a better word) to be a wedding photographer, you occupy a special unique position. You can witness a wedding without being involved. You can be a spellbound audience member with special rights to photograph without being part of the unfolding drama. You have undeniable access to unseen places. Your job is just to see. See and to photograph. To be creative but not involved.
A wedding is a production that unfold before your eyes. Before your camera. The behind the scenes matter. Its the setting of the wedding scene that sets the tone for your event. I do not view them as getting ready shots, I view them as behind the scene shots because you are not getting ready for your big day, your big day has already started. The show is in the pre production, and the cast of characters have arrived.
The behind the scenes make the magic of ballet and your wedding event possible. The madness and pretty chaos. The whimsical tulle and the soft hue ribbons. The randomness and the excited anticipation. All this deserve to be photographed and is integral to the wedding photographic story. Its part of your day and should not be bathed in expectations of how it should be captured
I repeat. Its important to get the behind the scenes work in action, however its not best practice to follow a prescribed list.
There are no so called must have shots for shooting the getting ready scenes. Its important that you do photograph this time but there are no bound rules. Regrettably with the must have shot lists come predictability and script following and when you follow a wedding scrip, artistic visions and authenticity gets lost and everyone's wedding photographs look the same.
Its important to avoid visual clichés. There I said it. Nobody wants their wedding to be a visual cliché. The behind the scenes as I like to call the getting ready shots is not the time to create the dreamy contemplative bridal look that is so common place.
This is not the 1950s. You can be creative with your wedding photograph and let magic happen.