Want Great Getting Ready Images? Here’s How!

Not every gal wants getting ready images but for most brides after a photojournalistic (story telling) wedding portfolio, the ceremony pre-game is a must have.  If going the family heirloom route, starting your album with gorgeous images of final touches, dressing, and details are pertinent to recanting your wedding day and sparking those fun memories.

Cantarera_0147_MelissaMcClainPhotographyFrom the photographer perspective, I love capturing this part of a couple’s wedding day.  It’s the anticipation, catching natural candids, nervous expressions, and emotions that can make this small part of your wedding day that much more special when looking back years from now.  Although not hard to capture great images during this time, there’s always a few things to keep in mind if getting ready images are important to you.  Not to neglect the gentlemen, but as Jason describes to almost every couple, Bride getting ready shots are always fun, elegant, and beautiful where for the men… it’s basically putting on another pair of pants!  Yes.. we gals are super jealous that our grooms can roll in two hours before the ceremony and still look like rock stars while we’re up at the crack of dawn getting primped and prepped:)

Here’s a few food for thought items on achieving kick ass getting ready images:

*No Junk in the Trunk– Okay a total expression, however getting ready images are much more elegant when bags, trash, and other must have prep items aren’t scattered in various places throughout the getting ready room.  cohen_0122_mmpAs a gal, I completely understand us ladies have baggage and NEED a ton of products and things to feel our most glamorous, however asking your maids to sequester their items to a specific area of the room can take your prep images to the next level of photojournalism.  I usually recommend, depending on the location, to “junk” areas farthest away from natural light windows since the majority of getting ready images are captured in that vicinity.  Along with the amazing images, keeping things orderly will make the end of night departure so much easier instead of scavenging for your items in a potential drunken bliss.

*Open the Curtains– Within reason of course!  If your getting ready room has the means, throw open the curtains and let the natural light pour in for the most beautiful light.

*Gather the Details- With months of planning out the details of your dress, shoes, and accessories, I want to make sure we’re capturing those special, well-thought-out items before you don that gorgeous gown if possible.  I usually recommend for brides who love details, to have your MOH or bridesmaid gather the items you want photographed into one location.  Upon arrival those are the go to items I typically will capture first and REALLY want to capture if possible as potential publishing opportunities on blogs and magazines will always want to see your well planned details.baughman_0025_mmp

*Everyone Dresses Before the Bride– Completely aesthetic and your bridesmaids might thank you for it, but consider having your dressing assistants in their gowns before zipping you up.

*RELAX! Your Face Tells All– Most brides during the getting zipped, fastened, tied into her dress beam a gorgeous natural smile or relaxed thoughtful expression.  In some not so perfect dressing moments such as the 32nd loop on the corset, it’s easy to hit that “OMG are we done yet” or “What do you mean it’s not _____”  expression which is captured on camera.  Take a breath and relax!Baranowski_0204_MMP

*Keep the crowd to a minimum– It’s easy to invite close friends and extended family into the getting ready room, however keep in mind that it can crowd up your room and make grabbing different angles and perspectives a challenge, not to mention potential added stress.  Either opt for a sizable getting ready area if expecting a large group or keep your posse to a few close important people.

What do you recommend for the best getting ready images on a wedding day?


Humor, Harley and Hot Pink- Nicki & Tug

10339198_10152816399027259_6810086192327579362_oThere is nothing worse than being cooped up at home when you really just want to party.. or know of a REALLY good party about to happen!  Although it may have been a bit shy of the recommended 6 weeks postpartum, I absolutely could not miss Nicki & Tug’s kick ass wedding held at Armstrong Valley Winery!  Jason, Whitney and I met up with this beautiful duo, capturing a heartfelt first look, super funny outhouse outtakes, and some good ol’ creative portraiture.  There was even a tabby cat stole the show, walking down the aisle with one of the bridesmaids!1487935_10152816400027259_1091321652940730303_o

Nicki & Tug had a super sweet exchange of vows and a blending ceremony which included Nicki’s daughter and Tug’s son, who was just able to clear the table to pour his sand.  Afterward the couple joined family and friends with some tasty pretzels, wine and other assorted snacks!  The hit of the night was the sparkler exit as Nicki and Tug drove through on their yellow Harley!  A gorgeous wedding with a gorgeous couple- who1781383_10152816398347259_1211305529378430208_o could ask for a more perfect day!

For more images from Nicki & Tug’s wedding click here!

Venue: Armstrong Valley Winery

Catering/Cake: The Uncommon Caterer

Entertainment: Provolve Entertainment

It’s PBJ Time- Julie & Peter’s Classy Downtown Wedding!

Ah… a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.. seriously who didn’t grow up on these?  It was the perfect pairing of sweet jam with salty peanut butter. baughman_0025_mmp Cut diagonally on white bread, with cheese puffs… OMG I’m salivating!  Couples have been finding cute acronyms and sayings to sum up their wedding theme for years, but no one has met the ultimate PBJ couple like we have!

Peter and Julie contacted us from California for their super classy downtown Harrisburg wedding, with visions of elegance matched with good old fashion fun!  Through the planning process, Julie emailed often with new ideas and details that were being planned.. basically teasers up to their wedding day!  I was blown away when walking into her Crowne Plaza Hotel suite as she had all of her details laid out perfectly to be photographed.  baughman_0313_mmpFrom the invitations, to rings, to her lucky six-pence.. it was all there!  My favorite detail was her drool-worthy shoes from Pedro Garcia that complimented her gown beautifully!

Post first look, Peter, Julie and their small bridal party got creative with us around the state capitol complex.  One of my favorite creatives captured is a recreation pose from a pick up they pulled off on their engagement session!  Their ceremony concluded to a line of silver streamers and a brief carriage ride to their reception at the Harrisburg Civic Club.  As were her getting ready details, Julie planned every last touch of class to the tiniest detail including PBJ chocolates from Trader Joes, Beautiful white floral arrangements, and multiple versions of Mad Lib cards for guests to fill out and share with the couple.  Julie and Peter even planned a live local band, Cruise Control, for some top class entertainment!  The day was simply magical and will go down as one of those weddings we could photograph over and over again!  baughman_0150j_mmp

Click here for more images from Peter and Julie’s wedding!

Ceremony: Harrisburg State Capitol Rotunda

Reception: Harrisburg Civic Club

Catering: Karen’s Catering

Officiant: Dave DiRaddo

Flowers: Weddings and Blooms

Ceremony Music: Molly Rahe

Gown: Taylored For You

Coordinator: By Design Weddings and Events

Entertainment: Cruise Control Band

Makeup: Makeup by Chelsea

Cake: Camp Hill Bakery

A Spring Country Club Wedding- Kara & Jake

Spring and Fall are two of my favorite seasons for outdoor weddings.casher_0004j_mmp  The only challenge of course is the chance of precipitation which thankfully was a very minimal worry for Kara and Jake’s wedding day, as the rain stopped and sun returned within a half hour of their walk down the aisle.  Kara and Jake chose Colonial Country Club in Linglestown for their beautiful, heartfelt ceremony, stating vows in front of about 100 of their closest friends and family.  Post ceremony we took full advantage of the gorgeous blooming trees and well manicured grounds of the country club.  Kara and Jake celebrated with Klock Entertainment and even had their little man, Brayden, rocking out his excellent dance moves all night!  Casher_0656_MMPMy favorite moment from their wedding day was working with the couple and their super fun bridal party while recreating an image Kara dreamed for her wedding portfolio- everyone’s personality shined and I can see why the couple loves each of the folks invited into their bridal party!  Congratulations Kara and Jake and we wish you both the very best on your marriage!

Click here for more images from Kara & Jake’s Wedding!

Venue: Colonial Country Club

Entertainment: Klock Entertainment

Flowers: Hammakers Flowers

Stylist: A & Z Styling Techniques

Cake: Schenks Bakery


Two Cultures, One Love – Cory & Chi

It’s extremely common and a very beautiful element when coupleseckrote_0539_mmp-edit choose to acknowledge their personal paths and cultures on their wedding day, such as Cory and Chi’s beautiful blending of two cultures, Cory’s American traditions and Chi’s Vietnamese roots.  Cory and Chi first met on popular dating site (hooray for online couples!!) eHarmony.com and after a very interesting first date these two became inseparable.  Cory and Chi are also some of the luckiest people we’ve met as last year at a local bridal show they won the whole wedding she-bang including their venue, catering, entertainment, and other great wedding essentials that most couples spend some serious green for. eckrote_0018j_mmpOne detail that was extremely important to the couple was preserving pieces of both cultures into a traditional wedding day.  After their traditional Catholic ceremony at Holy Name of Jesus in Harrisburgeckrote_0743_mmp and a stop over at Italian Lake for their posed creatives, Cory and Chi dressed for their reception entrance into vibrant Vietnamese wedding attire and celebrated a tea ceremony with their parents.  eckrote_0033j_mmp-1The tea ceremony is a Vietnamese tradition of accepting each other into new families.  Overall Cory and Chi had a gorgeous day to celebrate with their closest family and friends and are sure to celebrate many more amazing anniversaries together.

Click Here to see more images from Cory and Chi’s wedding!

Venue: Clarion New Cumberland

Flowers: Weddings and Blooms

Cake: SweeTreats

Entertainment: Mixed Up Productions (Damian)

Hair/Makeup: MariaTeresa