We have to talk about Grooms. How much time do you allocate on your wedding day for your Groom prep and just as importantly when does or when should the photographer do the Groom’s prep before the ceremony? Do you even need photos of your guy getting ready?
Groom Prep or No Groom Prep?
The more and more I get asked to photograph the guys the more I love the Groom prep. But the decision to have me there while you’re getting ready is completely up to you and your fiancé. If the Groom doesn’t feel comfortable about having their photos taken during the dressing then that should be respected. That being said part of my job as your photographer is to make you feel comfortable with me, so hopefully that wouldn’t be an issue (but I do get it). Some Grooms may not feel like they will have time to have the photographer there. As you will read further below there are ways around the timing of the Groom prep.
So what happens during the Groom prep?
From my personal experience with “Groomscaping” when I arrive to start I’m hoping that all the groomsmen are there (Groom included!) and have already settled in with their gear or perhaps they’ve stayed over the night before. My first job is to introduce myself and start to blend in with the furniture. I want my groom prep shots to feel natural and unobtrusive so I start with the Groom’s details (shoes, rings, tie, cufflinks, tie pin, aftershave etc…) and let the guys interact around me. Maybe they’re having a beer and a laugh and I will capture that too.
If my Groom has a specific profession or interest that they’d like to represent that in the detail shots then I definitely want to encourage that. I also keep in mind with the details that some of these shots may be in the wedding album and so I want the Groom’s shots to tie in with my Bride’s details.
Justin’s super hero theme was really cool! I brought along some comic books for the background on the details to emphasise the theme.
When there hasn’t been a mention of a specific theme I will use whatever there is handy at the Groom’s location. Brad got ready at home and I used this beautiful chest for the detail shots.
Adam had only just received the keys to his new apartment with Bec and this chair was a good choice.
Once I’ve finished the detail shots (approx 15-20 minutes) and if they are hanging around together talking I will take a few candid shots of them. After an appropriate lull in the conversation I ask the guys to get dressed. I instruct the guys to go get their suit pants on (and have their privacy if they feel like they need it) and then come out to finish putting their shirts on and everything else on. While they are getting dressed I will photograph the closer in detail shots and hopefully some fun groomscaping shots because it’s meant to be kind of fun getting dressed on your wedding day!
As always with any portion of the day I’m building images to create a story of your day. The details form an important part of that.
Once dressed, I like to get the more formal individual portraits of the guys and then focus on the Groom a little more. Following the individuals a couple of “formal-esque” group shots and more relaxed group shots.
And ladies, in my nine years of photographing weddings I have observed that there is always that one groomsman who loves to play up for the camera – he’s actually very cleverly distracting the Groom from his pre-wedding nerves and raising the whole mood of the day #takingonefortheteam! And so I salute you sir! (Plus he looks awesome and why would I stop shooting?!)
I’m not normally a fan of the buttoned up arms around the back shot but this was a spontaneous group shot and the grins are genuine. To me that’s much more important. So if the guys are going to do something off the cuff, I am a big fan.
And that’s about all we have time for. The Groom’s shoot usually takes between 40 minutes to an hour which in reality is less time than what I took to write this post!
Timing during the day
When you get to know me, you will see that I like to keep it as genuine as I can. However with the Groom prep its not always possible. If you are getting ready in a very short proximity to your fiancé (for example a couple of streets away or in the same apartment complex) then we can do it in real-time. Otherwise unfortunately guys I will ask this hard question – “can I come to you first in the day?” Meaning that the grooms party will most likely get dressed, undressed and dressed again closer to the ceremony time.
There’s benefits to doing a kind of trial run on the day with your photographer:
The Missing > If anything is missing, socks, cufflinks, undies, jackets etc… then you will know early on in the day and can plan to pick up said missing items before the wedding begins.
Get on with your day > If you have lots of things to do, say you have to set up part of the ceremony then organising your photographer to come early will free you up to get on with your day.
See it totally rocks for your photographer to come early (?!) Hehe. And it’s perfectly natural that even if you are geographically close to your fiancé that you may opt to have the groomscaping session first up in your day. Plus there’s always beer. 😀