Magazine Article


"Trash the Dress" Sessions
Create fun images, competitive edge, new revenue

Most brides have been fantasizing about their wedding attire from the time they were little girls. The fairy tale dress, princess tiara, cathedral-length veil, and all the pomp and circumstance surrounding their big day. As the long-awaited wedding day approaches, the bride begins searching for the perfect photographer to capture all the details.

Something catches her attention when you show her your work-something she never would have dreamed of before. The opportunity to "trash the dress." At first, she may gasp and think, "I could never do that!" But as she continues to browse your portfolio, she falls in love with the idea that this new trend in wedding photography could be the most liberating, artistic, fun photo session she could ever imagine!

As I was browsing the Internet a few months ago, I came across, a blog created by Mark Eric in the Fall of 2006, when he was inspired by an article on this trend by John Michael Cooper of Alt F Photography ( I was looking for inspiration at the time, something unique that would help me continue to break out of my shell and push the envelope with my work. And this was the best way to liberate my artistic side and provide my brides with something trendy and different.

Aside from helping me become a better photographer, our "trash the dress" sessions provide us with amazing portfolio images, and have become an extra source of revenue from the clients we love to work with: couples who are fun, trust us, and are willing to do anything to create fabulous, memorable images.

Most wedding dresses end up stuffed in a box somewhere, never to be seen again. So we figured that not only would these photo shoots be fun to do, but they’d be a great way for brides to show how committed they are to their new husbands, since they’ll never need to wear the dresses again.

Trashing the dress has caught the attention of the media and is becoming a hot topic on bridal forums, too. The website,, has already been featured on "Good Morning America," "ET- The Insider," National Public Radio, and in The New York Times. Photographers from around the world are contributing images every week to The site has received over one-half million hits since its inception, generated by all the media attention it has received as well as the positive response from brides and photographers alike.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph our first trash the dress session this year with an amazing couple, who would do anything for a great shot. While organizing their photo shoot, we decided to have all of our staff shooting that day to get multiple perspectives of everything going on.

For example, before the couple jumped into the pool, we had one photographer above them on the pool slide, two photographers on each side of the pool, and one underwater with an underwater camera. Some of the best images from that shoot are featured in this article.

The entire photo shoot lasted five to six hours at three different locations around town. We started with the bride getting comfortable in the water in a nearby creek with her hair and makeup still looking fresh. Then we moved to a downtown fountain and pool to completely submerge the couple underwater to capture some amazing moments between the two of them in unique settings.

Other photo shoot location ideas for a trash the dress session could include the beach, waterfalls, downtown areas, railroad tracks, a barn, even a car wash!

Not all dresses are ruined’ some just get a bit dirty and wet but can usually be dry cleaned and preserved afterward.

The best advice I can offer other photographers is to get out of your comfort zone and give it a try. It’ll force you to try things that will produce better images and most important, your clients will love them!

For more images,visit

Erin Hession-Wooton owns Erin Hession Photography, based in Carmel, Indiana. Specializing in weddings, portraits, and special event photography, she travels nationwide for her clientele. For more images and information, visit her blog at and her website at