FAQ : How to Photograph a Wedding Dress

W
hen I first started my business, I read on a photography forum how important it was for a photographer to shoot a each wedding as if seeing the day with fresh eyes. Regardless if a photographer had photographed a multitude of weddings at the same venue, it's imperative to not shoot the wedding in the same way. Just because I can shoot a bride in the same location, doesn't mean I should. It's easy to fall into a pattern or routine, but it could also impede creativity.

In order to articulate my point further, I'll illustrate it with a recent example. Last week I photographed Chris and Elise's wedding at Pelican Hill, but I had also photographed another wedding there the week before. Pelican Hill is one of my favorite venues, but after shooting in the bridal suite over ten times it's easy to feel stifled by the same location to photograph wedding details, like the wedding dress. Elise was an easy-going bride who truly valued photographs, so I asked permission to take her dress and photograph it elsewhere on property, away from the bridal suite. Elise readily agreed.

When possible, my goal is to photograph the wedding dress in two locations for diversity's sake. Because Elise was having a garden-inspired wedding, I took the dress to the most garden-y area on the Pelican Hill property and captured a couple photos in an environment that would lend itself to the album design at a later point in time and enhance the story telling of the day.




I was also lucky enough to have the coordinator bring a dress form to the wedding. In light of this, I also documented the wedding dress indoors against a basic background should Elise decide later she prefers this set up. I, of course, captured more photos than the ones I'm showing here, but this is to provide context for what I'm referring to.


The goal for every wedding is to approach the day's details in a way that reflects the theme/story/color scheme, maximize natural light, and reflect the bride's personality. If you'd like to see a behind-the-scenes video tutorial on how I photograph a wedding dress on a wedding day, feel free to check it out here


I'm incredibly thankful to have brides, like Elise, who'll extend their trust to allow me to be creative and produce images in new ways given the same location.
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air - WHERE IS THIS DRESS FROM??!  11.02.12 - 8:40pm
Brooke - Two locations, great idea! I haven't had the chance to do that recently, time to take control of that timeline. ;)  10.24.12 - 11:24pm
Hannes Uys - The first dress image is quite groovy.  10.01.12 - 2:06pm
Lydia - As a wedding photographer in South Africa, this is some information I can use to improve on my work. Lovely photography of the dresses. Thanks for the write up.   09.30.12 - 11:06pm
Katie Jackson - If the bride is getting ready in a hotel, the hotel usually has nice wooden hangers that I like to use instead of the plastics ones. If it's not in a hotel, I think it is totally worth the effort to keep an extra "pretty" hanger in my trunk. A nice hanger is a must for the dress pictures. Oh and of course, great post as usual Jasmine! Those are some gorgeous dress shots!  09.27.12 - 11:54am
dani davila - thanks for sharing Jasmine, thank you so much.  09.27.12 - 4:54am
Ron Smith - Sometimes, in our desire to be creative, we risk not getting the photos our clients desire. I always try to remember that what's old and "done" to me might be exactly the image my client wants. For a wedding, my first priority is to always understand what the bride wants. After that goal has been completed, I use whatever time is left for "original and creative".  09.26.12 - 12:41pm
Ashley Christine - Wow, this totally inspired me to revolutionize the way I look at my locations, clients & their details! But, I second Sarah Hawkins question; what if your bride's dress is hanging on an ugly plastic hanger? Do you bring your own? Thanks J!!  09.25.12 - 5:30pm
Jackie Beale - hey jasmine, sometimes I think brides want similar photos taken to what they see on your portfolio of the same venue. I would think it would be alright to photograph in the same places, for their sake, and also photograph in different places once you are done with the others.   09.25.12 - 1:26pm
ashley goodwin - Okay okay okay. I was JUST saying the EXACT SAME THING to my amazing journalist friend Becca! And THE GIRL HAD HER DRESS ON A FREAKIN DRESS FORM!??!?! Killah. the second shot is my favorite. You need a video of you taking this dress and hanging it, because I need to see how that goes down. I am always PETRIFIED to touch the dress! WAIT! Is JD the responsible party? ;)  09.25.12 - 1:09pm
rich - your posts always so helpful!  09.25.12 - 12:27pm
Liz D - So beautiful, great ideas, thanks for sharing!  09.25.12 - 11:27am
Charla Storey - These look fantastic! I love the dress! One shoulder strap! YES PLEASE! :) Thanks for sharing!   09.25.12 - 10:43am