Please may I take a photo?

Over the past few weeks the ever thorny subject matter of in store mobile phone photos has reared its controversial head. Whether you want to ‘free the nipple’, radicalise an audience, like Jay Rayner, a Mumsnet martyr or simply provoke envy and adoration in equal measures on Instagram, the sophisticated technology of the Pandora’s Box in your handbag is either a deadly weapon or a powerful ally.

To the point of desperation I, and fellow retailers, ask over and over again for ‘no photos’ in wedding dress appointments. This is not a conspiracy; it is common sense, experience and care for our clients. It is not for the reasons often cited “the designers don’t let us” or to stop the dress being copied. There are ample images of all wedding dresses online, including scroll over hi-res versions and even video on Sophia Tolli and Allure’s website. So here are our reasons for putting your phone away.

When was the last time you saw a photo and thought -That’s perfect? and we don’t mean on insta, we mean on your own phone that you have taken yourself. I  would dare to suggest that it’s never happened. So why, would using a photo as a method for selecting the single important purchase of a lifetime end up with a positive outcome?

Go back in your mind to a big life event, first kiss, fist dinner, first night……would any of these have been improved by looking at a photo? Do you really want to be reminded that there were sweat beads on your upper lip, hair stuck to your forehead, side boob, VPL and so on. No, those perfect moments are in your memories and all the bad bits are filtered ,so what you left with is a truly emotional response. During your appointment you’re naked and in a dress that doesn’t fit you and yet your asking your friends, family and wedding consultants to judge you. Someone pulls out the camera and even the most perfect sized dress on the most confident of women is enough to tip you over the edge. A week passes by and you decide to take a peak, the emotion of the day and settled and your look at an image you will forget that the dress didn’t fit and that there are several intermediate stages of technical fitting to go through. The lighting is bad, you had the wrong shoes on, no make up, someone shot you from under the chin, from a chair, at a bad angle – the list goes on. We are all our own worst critics so do not let any doubt creep into your mind, leave the phone at home.

I had a distressed call from one of my future brides that has ordered this dress, Sophia Tolli Innes for her wedding next year. Bride X was almost inconsolable as she had Google Image searched a picture of this dress as there is no official Sophia Tolli photo of it. The search resulted in a disturbing image of a bride in the same dress but it didn’t suit her and was ill fitting. The bride in question had also accessorised it badly and Bride X was panicking in case that was what she would look like. To me this is a cautionary tale from the age of social media, and why I try to protect image distribution…

1.  Buy a dress from a shop that will be frank and will let you know if a dress suits you or not.

2.  Make sure that the shop you are buying from has excellent technical knowedge and a back up fitting service.

3. It’s all about the fit – dresses from the most famous designers will be a costly fail if they don’t fit correctly.

4. Bad pictures are just that – endless searching the internet for images will throw out images of brides whose styling you don’t love in a dress you do.

5. Trust your own eyes and your own judgement.

6. Don’t take bad camera phone pictures of yourself in a dress – if you can’t remember it clearly, go back to the shop and try it on again.

7. If you can’t remember a dress – is it memorable enough?

8.  Don’t judge a dress by it’s marketing – the better the pictures the bigger the marketing budget the more expensive the dress(Pronovias/Rosa Clara).

9. Don’t let grumpy skinny models put you off a dress you love (ie, Jenny Packham).

10. Dress images are targeted at their biggest regional market (Maggie Sottero for the US).


It is for a combination of these reasons I prefer customers not to take pictures in the shop. I am met very often with outright rudeness and hostility when I ask people to refrain from taking photos. I am not trying to hide anything, conceal a dress’s name or designer or lock you into buying a frock from TBL. I am simply trying to preserve the bride’s mental image and feelings that she had for a dress and to prevent her from taking away a poor quality image of a possibly incorrectly fitting shop sample. It will not comfort the bride, it does nothing for the brands that I stock and the possibility of bad images being shared on Google Images to deter brides from brilliant gowns I find disturbing.

I would be thrilled to welcome any brides with their ‘proper’ photographer at The Bridal Lounge to conduct a ‘Pretty Woman’ style photo shoot! Amazingly cool images could be captured, kept for posterity or sent to absent family members! It would be fun to do a pre wedding shoot with your best friends and your chosen photographer – like an engagement shoot just for girls. The pictures would be amazing – and that, at the end of the day, is the lasting reminder of your day. Choose your dress with love and your photographer likewise.

♥   ♥   ♥

Now here are a couple of questions for you:-

♥  Have you ever been asked not to photograph a dress in a wedding shop and did this put you off?

♥  Would you rather buy a beautiful designer dress that doesn’t quite fit you right, or a bespoke dress by an unknown designer that is tailor made to fit you perfectly? {assuming both dresses are the same price.}

♥  Do you have any tips of your own?

♥  What have your wedding dress shopping experiences been like so far [or if you are married now, what were they like?}.  Good, bad, fun or frustrating?

Much love all,