Wedding Photography: Trash the Dress
I love it when the bride and groom commission me to shoot a Day After session,popularly known as a “Trash the Dress” session. They get dressed up (often in the wedding dress and tux again), so they look beautiful together, but they do not have the pressures of the wedding day. There are no time constraints, reception details or guests to worry about. The day has come and gone, and they are completely relaxed. And, by this time, they are completely comfortable with me, and they aren’t afraid to be openly affectionate with one another. The bride is also not afraid of getting the dress a little dirty—if she wants to keep it as an heirloom, though, I will recommend that she do a Day After location shoot or that she buy a different white dress to wear that might be a bit more disposable. The same goes for the groom.
For the Day After shoot, I either try to find different, interesting locations for our session or I may simply use locations from the day before that we didn’t have time to get to. Sometimes the bride and groom are having their wedding in a coastal town, but not right on the beach, and there simply is not enough time to get there and get back to the reception in the time-frame that they have allotted. If this is the case, I will recommend a Day After session—we often drive to several different, interesting locations.
My Day After sessions usually last about two hours, but have lasted much longer because I have so much fun doing them and the couple is usually having a great time as well. I feel like I can step outside of the box on the Day After sessions because of the lack of time pressure and “stay clean” pressure on me and the bride and groom.
Although the beach is the most common request that I get for a Day After session, I have also done some fabulous Urban sessions as well—lots of back alleys and forgotten side streets, broken-down vehicles and deserted factories—I have even photographed one of these sessions in the back of an empty 18-wheel truck!
If the bride and groom want to get wet, then I will typically take them to a beach, lake or a river (or even a pool), and they will often end up completely immersed in the water. With the right couple this can be a tremendously fun experience and it will allow you to get some incredible shots of the two
of them together. To get the bride and groom into the water during a Trash the Dress, I generally do three sets of shots. For the first, I start them off easy—usually by having them go for a walk on the beach. I have them get closer and closer to the waves until they are walking in the water—this part of the shoot will give some of the fun expressions— especially if the water is cold.
For the second shot, I have the bride and groom sit on the water’s edge. If we are at a beach, I have them sit in a position where the waves will get them wet. If we are at a river or a lake, I have them sit partially immersed in the water. I usually have the bride sit in between the groom’s legs and lean into him with her back against his chest. Once again, I give them the same cuddling instructions that I gave them on the wedding day. Most of the time I can tell them just to cuddle and they will do it. If not, though, I tell the groom to kiss from temple down to shoulder on the bride, going slowly. This is one of my favorite shots, and if it is safe to do so (no huge current) I will often take this photo from the water, so that the water is in the foreground of the shot rushing up to the bride and groom. Be aware of the waves behind you, though, and prepare to get wet.
For the third shot, I have the bride and groom lie on the beach, kissing. I try to set it up so that most of the waves will come up to the waist of the bride and groom—be prepared for the great expressions you will get if a bigger wave comes! If we are at a river or a lake, I will have them wade out into the water and kiss and cuddle in the water as the wedding dress swirls around the bride.