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Tips & Tricks

8 Tips For Groom Prep Photography At Its Finest

By Shivani Reddy on July 8th 2016

Preparation sets the standard of the quality of your work. Anticipating concerns and clearly communicating with your clients is ultimately what determines your professionalism and showcases your experience. With the hustle and bustle (literally) that goes on during wedding prep, it can be difficult to clear your mind and focus on getting clean backgrounds and perfect lighting, and all else you need for great shots.

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In the second course of our Wedding Workshop series, Photographing the Groom, we cover 8 tips that help you prepare for a successful shoot that will produce creative, journalistic imagery throughout the day.

1. Important Captures For the Groom


The first six tips are derived from our Communication & Planning course [the first release from the Wedding Workshop series] designed to help produce a successful shoot simply through the power of correspondence and preparation. Prior to the wedding, consult with your groom to make note of any specific people, places or things that hold significance to him on his special day. Focusing in on these details makes your product specialized and memorable for your clients.

2. Gather The Details


Instead of having to scurry around searching for the groom’s prized heirlooms and brand new dress shoes, have him organize his items of importance in one place so that they are easily accessible. Wasting time looking for them on the morning of will cut into your shooting time and, more importantly, skew your focus if something can’t be found. Most of the time, grooms don’t prioritize shots of their wedding details, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t photograph them.

3. Who are the VIP’s?


Identifying the VIP’s prior to arriving at your shoot will give you more time to set up shots utilizing them. Notify your clients that if their VIP’s presence is needed for any of the wedding prep shots then they must be available during that specified time slot. Get to know the people that are closest to the groom and familiarize yourself with them as the day goes on to build trust and a strong relationship.

4. How do we get the VIP’s Involved?


Create shots that include members of the family or close friends by directing the scene and prompting the action. The involvement of these VIP’s in getting-ready shots or simple family portraits generates naturally candid interactions.

[REWIND: Creating candid moments]

5. Are there activities planned?


I’ve been witness to both bride and groom prep, and by far, the men are more relaxed and focused on having the time of their lives than the women (who are usually knee-deep in stress and always running behind time). Figure out if the groom has planned any specific activities for his groomsmen, this can include: gift giving, an impromptu poker game, a toast, or even a last minute soccer match. Whatever it is, be ready for what’s to come and don’t leave any room for surprises.

6. Has the room been cleaned/reset?

The most common and forgotten step for prep is accommodating for messy hotel rooms. We all know men can get a little rowdy, but taking a moment to remind your groom to call in, to get the room reset and tidy, is going to give clean backgrounds to work with. Yes, you can edit out any bottles of bourbon or dirty underwear sprawled on the floor, but why waste precious post production time on such minute details?

7. Avoid Mixed Lighting


This item is left up to preference, however, in order to achieve clean and balanced light in your images try your best to avoid mixing the existing tungsten light commonly found in hotel rooms in the form of mediocre-looking lamps, with daylight coming through a window or any use of off-camera flash. If you prefer to leave the scene as is and keep any existing light, see here to learn how to flawlessly combine the two while still maintaining an evenly color-balanced image.

[REWIND: How To balance mixed light]

8. Observe the Group (Non-creepily)


As photographers we have more face-time with the bride, groom, and wedding party than most guests or vendors. That being said, strictly being present as a vendor and creating no personal connection will show in your work. To get the shots you need, you might have to coerce your subjects into getting out of their comfort zone. Study (in a non-stalker way) how each groomsman interacts with the groom and use that to determine what types of interactive shots you can plan for later on. The more comfortable you are in how you interact with them, the easier it will be to acquire your ideal shots.

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Photographing the Groom is a comprehensive course in our Wedding Workshop series that covers everything you need to know about how to create incredible wedding-day imagery; from posing the Groom and Groomsmen, learning how to light scenes with highly portable lighting setups, and so much more! Be sure to pre-register for this course in the SLR Lounge Store or stream it as each chapter releases as a SLR Lounge Premium Subscriber.

Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc


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  1. Tanya Goodall Smith

    Great images and tips! Groom prep always seemed like a non-priority, kind of thrown together in 2 minutes when I was second shooting weddings.

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  2. Julie Boyd

    Great read, great tips!

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  3. Paul Wynn

    Thank you for sharing the tips and beautiful images. Typically I don’t get to see the groom until the wedding ceremony, which is shame. For me following the bride is the top priority, but its great to have these ideas. Hopefully I will be able to use them with the groom and his guys at a future wedding.

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