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A Simple Way to Make Bridal Getting-Ready More Emotional | Rangefinder

It was a bustling getting-ready scene for the bride at her parents’ home in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Family and friends swarmed, putting on formal dress and makeup and passing food as music played and a team of five videographers filtered around to capture it all. In the middle of it all, wedding photographer José Pablo Villarreal was having a hard time finding something simple: a quiet, intimate moment with the bride and her parents.

When it came time for the bride to put on her dress, Villarreal knew this was his chance to get something more emotional out of the getting-ready. “I suggested she do it in another room, although the light wasn’t as good,” he recalls, “but it was away from everyone and everything. Her mom helped her put her dress on while talking and laughing because of the trouble the dress was giving her.”

Villarreal began shooting the whole getting-ready scene wide, but as he stepped closer and closer, he noticed his composition changing as he removed elements from the frame. It looked cleaner, more emotional. Photographing using only window light to illuminate the scene, Villarreal composed the essentials of that moment—the bride’s back, her mother’s hands and the dress—in black and white.

“I chose black and white because of what the image tells,” Villarreal explains. “For me it’s so peculiar, yet a beautiful scene to document, to see how a mother still helps her daughter to get dressed even on her wedding day. For a mother her daughter will remain as her baby girl and she will help her, support her, protect her and be with her forever. These hands represent that, and I’m proud to have captured this for them.”

(Shot with a Nikon D750 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens at f/1.6, 1/400 sec. and ISO 640.)

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