Although you might think it’s a good idea, don’t spray tan before your wedding or engagement session! As a photographer, I see so many orange brides in wedding photos and always conclude that it looks most flattering if the bride either embraces her natural skin tone or has just a hint of a tan from the sun.

Don't Spray Tan Before Your Wedding, why you shouldn't get a spray or fake tan before your engagement session or weddingDigital cameras pick up orange more than the eye does in-person, so when a bride has a spray tan, she rarely has a pleasing skin tone in the final images. While I always do my best to correct for this in editing within the hired scope of my work, the end result can still be that the bride is more orange than everyone else in the wedding party.

Bride and groom portraits for a brunch wedding at Tom Ham's Lighthouse, Cavin Elizabeth Photography
If your bridesmaids have not been tanning, you getting a spray tan creates a huge difference between the natural and orange skin tones in your photos: the bride will tend to look very tan (and orange) and, as a result, the bridesmaids will look much paler than they truly are. The same applies to a groom who has not been tanning.

Most makeup artists recommend passing on spray tans too. Because spray tans evenly coat the body with color, this means the natural areas that should be lighter, such as eyelids and the center of the face, reflect the light differently. MUAs have to spend a longer time building up product and layering contour to counteract the unnatural evenness of a faux tan. Also, the orange tones can make it difficult and sometimes impossible to give you a natural, wedding look.

Bride and groom portrait at Desert Ridge Estate in Palm Springs, Cavin Elizabeth PhotographyIn a world that still values a tan (rather than proper skin care and protection), I know it can be scary to think you’ll look pale at your wedding if you don’t spray tan before your wedding or have time to tan naturally. If you’re really concerned with not being incredibly tan, despite the fact that fair skin does photograph beautifully, try something more mild than a spray tan (i.e. Jergens tinted lotion). I promise that you’ll still have a little glow while sporting a natural and beautiful skin tone for your wedding photos.

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[…] the bride or groom might have bad skin that needs more attention, sometimes the bride has a spray tan that has to be heavily edited to look more natural, sometimes the lighting was extremely difficult […]
March 15, 2018
I'm a professional photographer and I have a very difficult time with spray tans. The worst I've seen is the spray tan in an almost unnatural orange followed by a poorly matched, paler, facial makeup. The bride's face was a different color as her neck and shoulders. The only way I could resolve it was to desaturate the orange in her body. It helped, but wasn't perfect.
    March 21, 2018
    It is very tough to work with spray tans. Natural skin tones always photograph better. Plus, pale is now something people are praising more, so hopefully we will see less and less spray tans!