Don't let your groom go forgotten about; make sure he has as much photographic coverage on the big day as the bride - beginning with his preparation, as detailed by photographer Anete Lusina
Most of the time the wedding planning and the actual wedding day revolves solely around the bride-to-be, whether intentionally or not - inevitably pushing the groom in to the background (not that many grooms mind that!).
So, it does not come as a surprise that groom preparation photography is something not that many brides and grooms actually consider, unless their wedding photographer specifically asks the couple if they are interested in having a second photographer on their big day to help cover photography from two different locations. And, it certainly is not often that grooms are vocal enough about having another photographer who covers their preparations before the ceremony, either. This might be due to the preconceived notion that a wedding day is the bride’s day.
Many grooms-to-be (as well as quite a few brides-to-be) do not actually know of all the options available to them when planning their wedding day, which is understandable because it’s such an involved and time consuming experience.
Photographers are going from traditional and heavily posed wedding group photos shot on film, to more and more photographers shooting in a relaxed reportage style - documenting the experiences and the emotions of the day, rather than visual statistics of who attended. And this includes capturing the few emotional and stressful hours the groom experiences before he gets in the car to head to the wedding ceremony.
Capturing the groom and his groomsmen becomes more important in wedding photography because they deserve to look back at their memories just as much as the bride deserves to enjoy seeing herself and her closest ones on her big day. And nothing is more beautiful than documenting the wedding day as a union of two people who started out on their own until they came together to say their "I dos".
Tips for the grooms to get the most out of their preparation photography:
1. Check them out
If your partner has already booked the photographer, look at your photographer’s portfolio before the wedding day. You will get an idea of the style and personality of the photographer, whether it is more traditional or relaxed reportage style. If you have any requests of particular photos that you’d like to be captured, contact the photographer before the wedding day and tell them.
This will allow the photographer to prepare in advance and scout possible ways of capturing those images as soon as they arrive, however, do not assume it will always be possible. It might depend on the location of your groom’s preparation, the size of the rooms, background and other variables.
2. Spick and span
If you are getting ready at home, it is advised to ensure the areas the photographer will access are tidy. This does not mean spending the night before your wedding day cleaning the house, but rather ensuring there isn’t clutter laying around on the floor.
3. Finer details
When a photographer arrives in the morning to capture the bridal party, usually the bride has not dressed and not done her make-up or hair. This enables the photographer to shoot the day from the very beginning, capturing the bride relaxing whilst she is getting prepared for the ceremony. Conversely, and more often than not - speaking from experience - the groom and the groomsmen tend to be already dressed from head-to-toe when the photographer arrives. This means, the photographer does not get a chance to capture the small details of their outfit and accessories before they have been put on, or the moments of tying one’s shoes, ironing their shirt, picking up their suit jacket from the hanger and so forth.
The groom should be aware of the photographer’s arrival time and wear something comfortable while the photographer gets a free reign to create artistic imagery of groom’s outfit and accessories before they are put on, such as pocket watches, any jewellery, fragrances to be used on the day, boutonniere, bow tie, cuff links and more. This often includes candid shots of the wedding rings, too.
4. Team effort
Once you are dressed, it is always a good idea, not just for the photography but also for a smooth running schedule, to ensure your and your groomsmen’s outfits are a perfect fit and nothing is missing. This means helping each other with arranging the ties or bow ties, attaching boutonnieres as well as double checking the rings, speeches, flowers and any other integral pieces to make sure they are ready before you need to leave. A good photographer will capture this as you and your groomsmen prepare, without any sharp interruptions.
5. Group shots
Depending on the schedule and your location, it is common to do a few group photos with you and your groomsmen as you are ready to leave for the ceremony. This can be done either in your house, garden, hotel room or any close-by location, such as if you live in the countryside or have any interesting urban features outside. For example, a brick wall or a cobbled street.
6. Travel together
Arrange with the photographer to go in the vehicle that you will be in, unless they wish to drive in their own car. This means the photographer has the opportunity to take a few shots of you either in the passenger or driver seat and allows the photographer to arrive at the venue first to fully prepare.
7. Getting to know you
Lastly, but most importantly, enjoy the process! Get to know the photographer in the morning - especially if you have not met them before - establishing a good rapport will allow you to relax more and assure you the photography is being taken care of, while you focus on the guests and your bride-to-be. Try not to be too camera aware and simply enjoy yourself, have fun with your groomsmen and guests, and your happiness will inevitably be caught on the camera.