Trash the Dress at Lake Tahoe

bride in lake tahoe at sunset

Kristin wades out into Lake Tahoe at sunset for this beautiful trash the dress shot.

by Scott Sady

I’d like to introduce you to one of our newish offerings, the often misunderstood trash the dress photo shoot. This is an add-on to our wedding packages or could be included in the cost of our higher end package. Most brides will never step foot in their dress again after their wedding day, a day in which they often look and feel as beautiful as they will anytime in their lives. During a regular wedding photo shoot, we as photographers do a wide-range of things from documenting the moments and telling the story of your day, capturing the details and little still-life shots of your setting and organize a portrait session, all under a strict time limit.

Imagine what you could do if you take away that time limit and say “We are going to get dressed up for the sole purpose of taking the best pictures we possibly can.” I would love to have every couple to myself for two hours at sunset on each wedding I shoot, but that is impractical. Enter the trash the dress photo session. Usually done in next few days after the wedding, we get dressed up, talk about some ideas, bring some fancy lights out and do what for all intensive purposes is a fashion shoot in your gown and tux. It can be a lot of fun, but I may ask you to do whatever looks best for the photo, even if that means wading out into the lake. We were originally going to do an underwater shoot for this one,  but the clouds cut down the visibility underwater. In exchange, they gave us a heck of a light show.

These are not models. I want to be clear on that because a lot of wedding photographers starting out go to workshops and seminars where the lighting and the models are provided for them. This is an actual couple, shot at my favorite south lake tahoe beach. You can see their engagement shoot from January here. I hope to have their full wedding, which we shot the day prior to this, posted in the next few weeks. In the meantime, have a look, enjoy and consider booking one of these super-fun photo sessions as part of your wedding.

trash the dress photo shoot of bride in a tree

Kristin in a cool looking tree in South Lake Tahoe

tahoe trash the dress bridal photograph

Trash the dress shoot for Kristin and Dirk in South Lake Tahoe

bride and groom in tree

Kristin and Dirk

bride in tree

I guess I really liked this old tree.

bride in tall grass

The bride walking through some tall grass right along the trail

bride in a tree

The bride in a downed tree on the beach at lake tahoe

Same tree, different angle. Not a model, but probably could be if she wanted to.

bride and groom in flowers

This beach had a great stand of flowers with a trail right through it. South Lake Tahoe casinos are visible in the background.

panoramic on beach

The bride and groom in a panoramic shot at lake tahoe as sunset approaches.

trash the dress sunset shoot

Bride and groom at sunset on Lake Tahoe

bride and groom laying in sand

You can’t call it a trash the dress shoot if you don’t get a little dirty

bride and groom at sunset lake tahoe

Now the final rush for the good sunset colors

bride in lake tahoe at sunset

Bride and groom in Lake Tahoe at sunset

bride and groom in lake tahoe at sunset

The angle was just a bit better from out in the lake at sunset

My lighting setup for this shoot. A little big and unwieldy for a crowded wedding, but great on a secluded beach.


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  • Pat MichalecAugust 15, 2010 - 2:26 pm

    AS the Father of the Bride I want thank you capturing moments in my daughter’s life that I can now carry with me forever. Not only did you do so professionalism but a your true artistic ability shown through as those pics you took of the setting sun peaking through the clouds.

  • Kristin MichalecSeptember 7, 2010 - 3:20 pm

    Wow. I need to learn a new language to get some new vocabulary because NOTHING in the English language could describe these photos!!!

    Scott was absolutely incredible that afternoon… his eye for all things beautiful astonishes me. We’d be walking to our next location and randomly he’d say “Let’s get one over there”… and sure enough, the picture came out unbelievably perfect!!! Scott was completely professional and patient (especially with me-who was quite the princess that afternoon). He was also very cooperative and easy to talk to making the whole day FUN! He brought all kinds of extra equipment and even wore a bathing suit so he could get in the lake to take better pictures (despite the freezing weather)!

    I think the most important thing is that Scott made us feel comfortable to act, look, or behave however we wanted to (because it can get intimidating in front of a camera). His eye for the “perfect picture” is simply unparalleled.

    I can’t even express how pleased I am with these pictures and the things he was able to capture on film…how beautiful I felt in my dress…the love between my husband I… the colors of the magical setting we were in…and the true essence of Lake Tahoe.

    Scott did our engagement photos, our wedding photos, and our “trash the dress” photos… if I had any more professional shots to be done- He would definitely be who I would call… and if your looking for a photographer- you should too!

  • adminSeptember 7, 2010 - 5:31 pm

    Thanks so much Kristin. You guys were great. I should mention that Monique and I both shot the wedding and had a great time. That post is coming soon. What a sunset huh? I wish I could guarantee those for all my clients.