TRASH THE DRESS photography – New Zealand style

What on earth is “Trash the dress” photography I hear you ask?  Well, I was going to start by telling you what Wikipedia has to say on the matter but I thought it might scare some of you out of even thinking about Trash the Dress let alone trying it!

(The Wikipedia definition uses phrases like “to brave such an act of finality”…“formed in the creative destruction of the dress” and “destruction and deconstruction of a brides wedding dress to create a new artwork that the bride would be proud to display on their wall”.  You can probably see why I decided not to start with the full Wikipedia definition).

However the whole Trash the Dress phenomenon has evolved a lot since the phrase was first coined.  On top of this, different photographers in different countries treat Trash the Dress photography quite differently.

So what is the New Zealand take on “Trash the Dress”?  Well, I can’t speak for other Kiwi wedding photographers but I can tell you about my approach to Trash the Dress.  And my approach is probably pretty typical for the handful of NZ wedding photographers who currently offer Trash the Dress packages.

For me Trash the Dress in its simplest form is this: photography of the bride and groom in their wedding attire in the time, place and theme of their choosing.

Typically NZ brides don’t actually “trash” the dress.  However, because Trash the Dress is shot after your wedding day you don’t need to worry as much about the dress.  This frees you up to do things and shoot in locations that you (or I for that matter) would never consider doing on your wedding day.

For example, maybe you wanted to do a helicopter flight on your wedding day to get some stunning bridal party location photos but you didn’t have enough time or the helicopter flight simply couldn’t be made to squeeze into the budget.

With a Trash the Dress shoot we can put you in a 4wd vehicle and drive you to a mountain-top or a remote lake/waterfall to capture stunning location photos that would never be possible on the actual wedding day.

Or perhaps you want to come up with a theme or look for the Trash the Dress photos that is completely different to the wedding photos themselves.  Maybe you wanted some photos standing near a waterfall  but didn’t want to get your dress wet before your wedding?  Or perhaps you really wanted some photos of your beloved pooch at your wedding but pets weren’t allowed at the venue so you arranged a Trash the Dress shoot and sneaked him onto a gondola concealed beneath your wedding gown (I’m not going to mention any names here but you know who you are!).

Trash the Dress is all about you, your husband – and, of course, the dress.  (And possibly a dog, in some cases).  Your wedding by now is safely behind you.  It’s just the two of you so it’s very intimate.  You have more time and are totally free to do what you want.  You have already worked with your chosen photographer on your wedding day and (hopefully) feel really comfortable with him/her.   For all of these reasons Trash the Dress shoots are relaxed, intimate and lots of fun and the photos often have a dream-like, timeless quality to them which I really love.

The other great thing about Trash the Dress is this: if you know before your wedding day that you are definitely going to do a Trash the Dress shoot it takes a lot of the pressure off the wedding day itself.  You can spend more time having fun with your guests (and maybe getting more great candid shots) and less time away doing bridal party location photos.  Depending upon your photographer and the packages he/she offers you might be able to go for a cheaper package on the wedding day and use this saving to offset the cost of doing a Trash the Dress shoot after the wedding.

Here’s a link to a wide selection of Google “Trash the Dress” photos to give you some ideas (or quite possibly scare you off for good) – click on

You’ll see some pretty extreme stuff here (including a bride who’s dress is on fire – while she’s in it).  But you’ll also see some really beautiful, simple images like this one of a bride sitting in a field of wild grass, or this one of a bride on the beach at sunset.

So that’s what Trash the Dress is all about.  Does what I said makes sense?  What are your thoughts now on Trash the Dress?  Post your comments at the bottom of this page.  Does Trash the Dress sound like you?  If so then get creative & have some fun!

Trash the dress wedding photos

"Trash the dress" can be as simple and natural as taking your shoes off and getting your feet wet.

Author Details

Patrick Fallon

I am a wedding photographer based in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand. I have been full-time with the photography thing since 2006 and still can’t believe I get to do what I love for a job! Here are a few words that I think sum me up: I AM…tall and bald, happy, imaginative, constantly hungry, active and friendly. I LOVE…my girl, coffee, photography, fooooooood, my family and friends, riding bikes, being outside, the simple things in life, people… I love my life! I believe that wedding photography can and should be SIMPLE, NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL.

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