Preparing for Your Bridal Portrait Session

Hey Brides, it’s Lucy! Today I am sharing with y’all some advice about my favorite shoot, bridal portraits! So much thought and time goes into your wedding day look, why not get beautiful portraits taken of you looking your very best! On the day of your wedding, there will be time constraints; the bridal portrait session is your chance to relax and get comfortable with your photographer before the big day. When choosing the location for your bridal portraits, think about what kind of backdrop would fit your personality. For example, a field or garden tends to look more casual, as opposed to an urban backdrop that is a bit more formal. Try to get your bridal portraits taken about two months before your wedding day. This will allow time for retouching, making prints, and framing the portrait for your reception. So here it goes, my top 10 tips for achieving bridal portrait success:



  1. Bring the right person to the session. Is this person positive and uplifting? Bringing someone you feel comfortable with can provide lightness and laughter to your shoot. It’s totally normal to feel a little nervous about getting your picture taken, so bring along a friend or family member who makes you feel confident! Just make sure to not bring an entire entourage. Or, if you’ll feel more at ease with no one watching, another option is to have the portraits taken with just you and the photographer.

  3. Leave the cell phone in the car. It is distracting to the photographer if your friend is snapping photos on their cell throughout the session. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the shoot more without the distraction of texts, phone calls, and pictures. Also, cell phone pictures take away the photographer’s joy of presenting your photographs that we’ve worked so hard to create.

    Bride Getting Makeup DonePIN

  5. Stay out of the sun a week before your portrait session. Retouching a sunburn, sun spots, or tan lines is very difficult in post-production. Even, natural skin looks much better in photographs. If you want to add a little color to your skin, use lotion with added tint.

  7. Hire a professional make-up artist. After getting your makeup done, look in the mirror to make sure the color of the skin on your face AND body are the same. Sometimes your face can tend to be lighter than the rest of your body after getting makeup done. Talk to your makeup artist and she’ll know what to do.

  9. The bridal portrait session is a “test” for your wedding day. After you get your pictures back from the photographer, you’ll see if adjustments to your makeup, hairstyle, or bouquet are needed. Or you might find you need to alter your dress to fit differently.

    Bride Laying in FieldPIN

  11. Leave the bed sheet at home. The wedding gown won’t lay the same with a big piece of fabric underneath it, so if anything, just bring a pillowcase for sitting on the ground. Think about it, how many times will you get to wear this dress? Twice! So have fun with it; run through the field, lay in the grass, do what feels natural. If a sheet is involved, you won’t feel as mobile and free and poses may look stiff. Most bridal shops will let you bring the dress back for spot-cleaning. You’ll have to get it re-steamed anyway!


  13. Bring your gown accessories. To add a little color and interest to your shoot, bring your bouquet (fresh, not silk!), veil, and jewelry. Holding something in your hands or playing with an accessory adds interest and makes for a great shot!

  15. Drink plenty of water before your session. Wedding gowns tend to be heavy, and you’ll most likely be on your feet for at least 2 hours. Staying hydrated and eating snacks is very important!

    Perfect Light for Bridal PortraitPIN

  17. Time of day is everything for a bridal portrait. Because many wedding gowns are made of reflective materials like taffeta or satin, it’s imperative that we choose the right time of day to reduce glare on the dress. We recommend two hours before sunset to get that glowing, gold light.

  19. Be confident. If a pose isn’t working your photographer will let you know and make adjustments. Instead of thinking about how you look, just enjoy being in the moment; the best photos are made when you relax and feel comfortable. Seriously, enjoy yourself! How often do you get to put on a gorgeous gown, get your hair and makeup done, and feel like a model?

I hope this helped prepare you future brides for your portrait! Just remember, you are in EXCELLENT hands! So just relax and enjoy feeling special for the day.

Article by Lucy MacLeish
Lucy is an editor and photographer at Riverland Studios.
She is also a freelance portrait photographer and maintains a portfolio at lucymacleishphotography.com/.

  • September 14, 2014 - 5:23 am

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