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Tips & Tricks

Tips for Shooting Groom Preparation Photos

By Michelle Ford on October 31st 2013

UPDATE: We’ve launched a full workshop on Groom Prep Photography. Check out the trailer below:

Introduction to Photographing the Groom

With most of the attention on the bride at a wedding, it’s important that we make a conscious effort to show the groom some love and attention as well. Most Grooms downplay their role in the decision making, but in reality, most of them care a great deal about the day and the pictures captured. It’s the groom’s day to be a superstar, the leader of the band, the star of the team, the man of the hour; and it’s our job to bring that out. Check out our video down below that talks about tips for shooting the groom getting ready.

Groom Preparation Tips Video

Capturing The Groom Getting Ready

It’s important not to rush while taking the guys’ photos, as it’s about getting the details and documenting the moment. It’s important to create a relaxed and fun environment so you can capture their natural interaction, their back and forth banter, and all of the great moments that happen when you get a guy and his closest friends together.

[SLR Lounge Rewind: Learn Engagement Photography]

It may not seem like it, but there are as many things to cover for the groom as there are for the bride. The one major difference between the two is the absence of the makeup and hair stylists. What that means is that there is more time to document and to shoot the candid moments, so we take full advantage of the time given.

details for the groom

Get To Know Who You’re Working With

In our studio the second photographer is usually the one taking the photos of the groom’s prep. That usually means that this is the first time that the groom is working with the photographer (as the engagement session was likely shot by the lead photographer). It’s crucial that trust is established and a good relationship is built, so having enough time with the groom and groomsmen is key. Also, find out who the people closest to the bride and groom are so that you can capture the intimate moments with those people during groom’s prep.

groom and groomsmen

Create A Story

We tend to shoot a series of pictures which show the progression of him getting ready. Usually he’s already half-dressed by the time we arrive, so all we need to do is coach him into the order we need to cover; buttoning the shirt, buckling the belt, getting the shoes one, etc. All of these actions can be fairly mundane, so this is where we start our creative warm up. Start thinking creatively on how you would want to stage the groom and the possible interactions he can have with his groomsmen.

groom getting ready

Aside from looking for the best light and positioning him strategically for the shots we need, we experiment with different angles and points of view. If there are significant family members in the room, like dad or brother, then we can enlist them for their help with the tie, vest, and the jacket because this will enhance our story. I’ll also take note of any notable themes, like matching socks, shoes, and any presents given to the groomsmen. If the bride sends a note or a present to the groom, we will capture his reaction in that moment. These are all storytelling moments that you need to actively watch out for.

groom and dad

It’s the little things that make people feel genuinely appreciated. Just a little bit more time spent with the groom goes a long way, and sets use up for a great compilation of images throughout the day.

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Michelle is a Southern California Portrait and Wedding Photographer. When she’s not geeking out with a camera she’s nerding out in her IT world. All other moments in the day are spent with her two wonderful children.

See her work on The COCO Gallery
check out her blog at frexNgrin

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter-Jon Harding

    Great tips as usual

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  2. me

    “…because this will enhance our story.”
    It’s not your story, but their story. Just saying :)

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    • Michelle Ford

      you are soooo right. it is their story. i’ll agree. although i hope you agree that the compilation of images is a collaborative effort between the narrator and the subject.

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  3. niyi muyi

    The groom has mostly been neglected when it comes to getting ready. Its important that the groom is professionally captured. This write up covers it all. Well done

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    • Michelle Ford

      thank you! you know it took our studio the first few weddings to realize that we weren’t giving the groom as much love as the bride and we sought to correct that.

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  4. Kevin C.

    Best sign out yet!

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  5. Ron

    Love this article, very informative. ^_^

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    • Michelle Ford

      thanks ron. it’s funny we look up stuff for the bride all the time right? not enough stuff about the groom.

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