Bridal Portraits

Bridal Portraits

Want to take beautiful and elegant bridal portraits but don’t how to make them pop? Should you arrange a separate bridal photoshoot or do it before the wedding ceremony? As a professional wedding photographer, I have prepared several tips and shooting techniques that will surely come in handy for bridal portrait photography.

What Are Bridal Portraits?

Photos of a bride taken in a wedding outfit are referred to as bridal portraits. A couple's wedding photographer is typically the one who arranges a bridal portrait session. The bride poses in a fancy, fashionable, classic or extravagant manner so that the pictures resemble a fashion photoshoot. A bride may choose to show the images at an actual wedding or to put them in a wedding album.

When to Take Bridal Portraits?

bridal picture

A month or two prior to a wedding day is the most appropriate period to take bridal pictures. By that time, a bride will have her wedding dress ready. Also, in case something happens with a dress during a photoshoot, a bride will have enough time to fix it. A bride is supposed to be wearing the same attire in which she is going to attend the wedding ceremony. That's why a bride should be notified not to make significant changes to her wedding outfit throughout the period between a photo session and a marriage ceremony.

Where to Organize a Bridal Photoshoot?

Traditionally, a photo studio was a common place to take a bridal portrait. These days, brides prefer images that resemble engagement photo sessions – natural but remarkable shots taken outside. Many brides choose to arrange a bridal photoshoot at a wedding venue if it is possible. Other popular locations include a nearby garden, park, streets of the city or an area at the back of the house.

Are Bridal Portraits Necessary?

 
bridal shoot
bridal shoot
 
 

Taking bridal photos is an important part of wedding traditions in some areas, but it isn't obligatory. Nevertheless, many women choose to take bridal pictures before the wedding. The main reason why photographers organize it beforehand is that a bride will be extremely busy during a wedding. As a result, it would be almost impossible to take high-quality and proper shots. Moreover, when a bride is always in the motion, her hairstyle and makeup might not look so impeccable. With an opportunity to take formal bridal portraits in advance, you will be able to check the location and its lighting conditions. Besides, a styling team could come to assist. When you know that bridal portraits are already taken care of, you can fully concentrate on taking other important wedding pictures. In addition, if a bride has experience posing in front of a camera during a pre-wedding photoshoot, she will feel more comfortable during the photoshoot for the actual wedding.

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25 Bridal Portrait Ideas

When you need to think up creative bridal picture ideas, it might take a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, I have gathered a list of 25 unique bridal portrait poses of different styles to get elegant, lighthearted or striking shots that will surely diversify your bridal session photography.

1. A Flower Field as a Background

bridal portraits flower field

Any bride will look very elegant surrounded by flowers, especially if there are plenty of them. A field with yellow, red, purple or blue flowers will bring in a touch of vibrancy to bridal portraits.

2. With Balloons

bridal portraits balloons

Make a bride pose with a bunch of balloons for a playful shot! You'd better not just give them to a model, but, first, find balloons that are unconventional colors and shapes.

3. On Stairs

bridal portraits stairs

One of the dreamiest bridal portrait pose ideas is when a bride is standing on a staircase or just goes down. A train of a long dress spread onto the surface of the stairs will look magnificent in a frame.

4. Holding a Bouquet

bridal portraits bouquet

An accessory that is mostly associated with weddings is a bouquet that should certainly be involved in a photo. In order not to turn a bouquet into a distracting element, ask the bride to hold it near her belly button.

5. Near a Window

 
bridal portraits window
bridal portraits window
 
 

Positioning a bride by a window will give you the opportunity to get a well-lit and captivating picture at the same time. Taking such bridal portraits, you may also properly showcase the beauty of a wedding dress.

6. Involve a Memorable Object

 
seated bridal portraits
seated bridal portraits
 
 

Making a bride pose with a symbolic object of hers and her family is one of the greatest formal portrait ideas. For instance, in this image, a bride is sitting on her mother's sofa in a bridal photo session.

7. Include a Horse

bridal portraits with a horse

To take a truly fantastic bride portrait, you could involve a horse in the photoshoot. In this way, you will show a bride's unity with nature. In case a bride is fond of horses, such pictures will make even more sense.

8. On a Swing

 
bridal portraits on a swing
bridal portraits on a swing
 
 

The unique bridal portrait ideas include a bride posing on a swing. You may decorate a swing with flowers and give a bouquet to the bride so that she will look like a real fairy in a photo.

9. Piano

bridal portraits with a piano

One more interesting object that you can be used to take bridal professional portrait pictures is a piano. A bride in a white gown with a piano covered in flowers in the background will look exceptional in an image.

10. Editorial Style

 
editorial bridal portraits
editorial bridal portraits
 
 

You may choose an editorial style of bridal photography if a bride is a fan of such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue or GQ. Use your imagination, creative poses and locations to take bridal portraits that look like a magazine cover.

11. Opening a Door

 
bridal portraits opening doors
bridal portraits opening doors
 
 

One of the most exquisite formal portrait poses is a bride opening a door, as she will look like the queen of a castle. You just need to find a suitable location with massive and splendid doors.

12. Underwater Portrait

underwater bridal portraits

You may suggest a brave bride pose underwater. As a result, she will get truly eye-catching shots. A marvelously floating dress, hair and veil will certainly produce a wow effect on everyone who sees these pictures.

13. Surrounded by Candles

bridal portraits with candles

Candles usually symbolize romance. That's why you can place a model in a circle of candles which will create warm and soft lighting together with a profound and charming atmosphere in an image.

14. Use a Projector

bridal portraits with a projector

If a bride appreciates creativity, you can bring a projector to a photoshoot. By projecting any desired pictures, you will be able to create imaginative and artful bridal photographs.

15. On a Bridge

bridal portraits on a bridge

One of the best outdoor bridal portrait ideas that will bring film aesthetics into the shots is to take them on a bridge. If you wish to have mystical and dramatic images, organize a bridal photoshoot as early as possible in the morning, so that passers-by won't interfere.

16. At the Beach

 
bridal portraits at the beach
bridal portraits at the beach
 
 

There is no better place for a summer bridal photoshoot than a beach. A blue sea or ocean, along with a clear blue sky and sand will serve as a picturesque background for stunning shots of a bride.

17. Use Smoke Bombs

bridal portraits smoke bomb

Bridal smoke bomb photography could surely produce a surprising effect. With the help of colorful clouds of smoke, you will make bridal portraits play out in fresh colors.

18. Forest Fairy

 
bridal portraits in a forest
bridal portraits in a forest
 
 

Arranging a photo session in the woods is considered to be one of the most inspiring ideas for bridal portraits outside. Trees, logs and leaves will serve as a magnificent background and will demonstrate a bride's connection to nature.


 

19. Bring in a Bride’s Personality

original bridal portraits

Bridal portrait photography should primarily reflect the personality of a bride. In order to do it, you can involve peculiar elements or accessories, for instance, a hat or glasses that will showcase a bride's personal style in a picture.

20. Include a Veil

 
bridal portraits veil
bridal portraits veil
 
 

Such an irreplaceable wedding attributes like a veil must be used for bridal images. There exist endless variations of poses with a veil. A bride can play around with it in any way she likes, just don't forget to guide her throughout the process.

21. Focus on Location

bridal portraits location

While choosing a location for a bridal photoshoot, ask a bride to name a meaningful place for her and her husband-to-be or a spot suitable for their wedding theme. In this image, pictures of a bride are taken at the university, because it is the exact place where the couple met.

22. Overhead

overhead bridal portraits

Such shots are rather popular for bridal photography. Taking overhead pictures of a bride, you will be able to capture a wedding gown thoroughly and a bride might select this particular photo for a wedding album.

23. On a Balcony

 
bridal portraits on a balcony
bridal portraits on a balcony
 
 

Ask a bride to pose on a balcony looking pensively into the distance. As a result, you could get prominent and outstanding bridal portraits along with the picturesque view from a balcony.

24. In a Seated Position

 
bridal portraits seated
bridal portraits seated
 
 

Keep in mind that this specific pose may not be suitable for every bridal shoot – a wedding gown, especially a long one, won't look appealing. In case a dress isn't very puffy and a location is remarkable, you may get memorable images.

25. ‘Through the Mirror’ Shot

 
bridal portraits with a mirror
bridal portraits with a mirror
 
 

One of the most interesting ideas for bridal portraits is for a bride to pose in front of a mirror or to look in a hand glass. In this way, you will create an atmosphere of wedding preparations in a shot that will have more dimensions.

Bridal Shoot Tips for Beginners

Wedding photographers always have to be ready to concentrate on the bride only. Though it’s a rather challenging task, you get a chance to capture delicacy and beauty, as well as sincere emotions of the soon-to-be-wife. You need to constantly guide her as it’s much more difficult to pose alone without bridesmaids or fiancé. We offer you 10 useful wedding photography tips for bridal portraits that help you take astonishing pictures and improve your professional skills.

1. Showcase the Dress

bridal session photography

Start your bridal photoshoot by asking the bride about the dress she chose. This might be the most important dress she has ever had and there is surely a story about why she picked it. A lot of them are really expensive and come from luxury stores like House of Brides. Thus, make sure to capture different elements of the outfit during the bridal session photography. Fragments of the dress she appreciates most, laces and ribbons, peculiar details like buttons or ornaments – all this deserves your attention. Try the back view and remember to photograph the shoes. Any additional accessories, like a tiara or a veil, must be seen in bridal pictures.

2. Prepare the White Sheet

bridal session photography

It goes without a saying that brides worry a lot about the way their dress looks in the frame. They always want to be neat and pretty. There is one simple technique, which helps greatly. I always have a white sheet which I place on the ground if I wish to photograph the bride in a beautiful sitting pose. You need to fix the sheet if it is seen under the dress and then start the portrait session.

3. Make Sure You Have a Helping Hand

While collecting bridal portrait ideas, think about how to realize them all at the photo session. Will you be able to do everything on your own? Will you need a partner? Ask the bride if she plans to invite someone to the set. Usually, a mother or a sister attends it and willingly become your assistant. In case she doesn't bring someone who can help you to arrange the dress train and the white sheet, control bouquet and the hairstyle, make sure to have a reliable partner to avoid spoiling the whole portrait session.

4. Focus on Small Things

 
bridal session photography
bridal session photography
 
 

The accessories matter a lot. A lot of couples shop in stores like BHLDN to make sure their day is perfect. Women tend to spend lots of time and money on their hairstyle, makeup, jewelry and details like a veil, shoes, etc. Capturing them for the bridal portrait is a must. This will undoubtedly please your model.

Make sure to ask you bride about every detail of her wedding outfit and choose the suitable bridal portrait poses to conveniently capture them.

5. Props Are Obligatory

When you talk to the client before the bridal shoot, you need to discuss possible wedding photography props for the bridal portraits. Things like a wooden picture frame, crystals, umbrella or a smoke bomb can add diversity and style to the bridal session photography.

6. Proper Lighting

 
bridal session photography
bridal session photography
 
 

By default, natural light is optimal for the bridal portraits outside the studio. If you are lucky with the weather, make sure to take some bridal portraits in the open air. Although, a window can also become your light source if you have a photo session indoors. When you are limited to artificial light, use the quality equipment and adjust it to get a soft and warm effect, which resembles natural light.

7. Learn More about the Bride and the Location Beforehand

 
bridal session photography
bridal session photography
 
 

Before you take the first shot, learn more about the bride and the shooting location. Later, you can use this information to take a personalized bridal portrait that has a special story behind it. Take notes while you are talking to the bride, think everything over and choose some suitable bridal portrait ideas. This way you will be sure that you won’t miss any important pictures.

8. Prepare the Shooting List and Learn It by Heart

bridal session photography

Each client has some common ideas for wedding photos and they expect to see such pictures in the wedding photo album. Pictures with rings, family portraits, group photographs and other typical photos are the must. To free your mind for the creativity and deliver all of the above, I suggest you create a wedding photography checklist, memorize and keep in mind these required photo collections beforehand.

9. Encourage Sincere Emotions

bridal session photography

The fake smile may spoil the best bridal portraits. Remember that the bride is very nervous so be gentle and patient at the photo session. Your goal is to make her comfortable and relaxed. Then you can capture her sincere and spontaneous emotions. Compliment her, give her some time to relax and she will reward you generously. Try to catch different emotions to get memorable wedding portraits.

10. Provide Feedback

bridal session photography

Constantly give your model pleasant feedback and positive emotional support. On the one hand, this keeps her in high spirits and on the other hand, prevents her from thinking that she doesn’t look the way she’d like. So don't simply hide behind the camera, Remember that you are partners and need to cooperate to get great results.

Best Bridal Shoot Photographers

If wedding photography is so popular, who are the best portrait photographers, who impress people with breath-taking pictures? Learn more about talented and creative shooters to get some inspiration. Some of them are well-recognized professionals, some are outstanding amateur photographers, but they all achieved a lot in wedding photography.

1. Aaron Delesie

 
wedding portraits aaron delesie
wedding portraits aaron delesie
 
 

Aaron Delesie is listed among world's best professional photographers. His photos have been published in 30+ countries around the globe. He is well-known in the U.S. thought magazines, media and television. His manner goes beyond the technological capacity of even latest cameras and his bridal portrait shooting styles is really awesome. His pictures are frequently published in magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, People, Martha Stewart, Oprah, etc. For the last twenty years, he has traveled all around the world shooting breakthrough events for the VIPs and confirming his status of the most stunning wedding photographer.

2. Elizabeth Messina

 
wedding portraits elizabeth messina
wedding portraits elizabeth messina
 
 

Elizabeth Messina is known for the unique atmosphere of her works. She is one of the artists, who have their own specific and inimitable manner. Her style is all about the natural lighting and filming. The magic she catches into the frame vibes with a dreamy mood, as well as tender and natural tones. As a true artist, she follows her heart and doesn't let herself to be swayed by trends. She strives to display the moments of love and harmony in her bridal session photography.

3. KT Merry

wedding portraits kt merry

Based in Miami and California KT, Merry is another photographer with a remarkable personal technique. She specializes in destination bridal pictures. As she comes from the fashion industry, it is no wonder she has become a famous shooter. Her ingenious dualistic approach helps her create beautiful, artistic and realistic pictures.

4. Sylvia Gil

wedding portraits sylvia gil

Sylvie, same as KT Merry, comes from the fashion industry. Based in California, she is French and travels a lot to work at the most beautiful weddings in the world. She catches all of the impressive moments that occur at the wedding. Both her heart and soul are involved in each bridal photoshoot to create unprecedented and flawless images. Sylvie has been named as one the world's top photography artists by Martha Stewart and by Harpers' Bazaar three years in a row, and a top shooter according to Bride's Magazine.

5. Samm Blake

 
wedding portraits samm blake
wedding portraits samm blake
 
 

Currently based in NYC, Samm Blake is a professional wedding photographer. She got an academic degree in photography and journalism in Australia. Since that time, she has become one of the best portrait photographers in the world. Her manner successively expresses her love for art and documentary in a complex and interesting manner. Samm often receives prestigious awards and has publications in a wide range of magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar.

6. Jose Villa

 
wedding portraits jose villa
wedding portraits jose villa
 
 

Jose is known as one of the best portrait photographers for his ability to capture fluent, pulsing, and lively phenomenon that is an average wedding. It seems that he tries to create energetic, dynamic, elegant artwork that is as individual as the people in the photographs. He gets numerous awards, such as the top Wedding Photographers by Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper's Bazaar, Style Me Pretty, and Vogue. Jose is one of top 10 wedding photographers in the world according to American Photo Magazine, and one of the most influential photographers of the decade according to PDN.

Now take some time and practice the ideas described in my article to become an outstanding artist and one of the best portrait photographers.


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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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