What exactly is a bridal portrait session?
Bridal portraits happen when a bride and a photographer team up to make some beautiful images. It is a favourite part of many wedding photography packages in America, although probably more popular in the southern US, than the north. Bridal sessions are valuable in that there is rarely enough time on your wedding day, to devote to getting a few gorgeous images of you alone, in all your finery!
Why should I go to all that trouble?
Well, aside from the fact that it’ll be fun and a whole day of ‘me’ time, think nails, hair and makeup, it is a chance to make sure that your wedding day look, works as you had planned. Negotiate an extra trial for your hair and makeup and ask your florist to make a smaller trial bouquet for your bridal portraits. The resulting images will be cherished by your future husband, not to mention your parents and it’s another opportunity to wear that gorgeous dress!
Just how well do you know your wedding dress?
At a bridal portrait session, you going to find out how well your wedding dress fits, how easily it moves, how it feels like when you sit in it. You will experience its weight, and figure out how tight is too tight??!! I have actually had a bride faint during a bridal portrait session, due to her dress being laced too tight. I did catch her though, without dropping my camera, and I have the shoulder injury to prove it!!
Wedding dresses come with all kinds of petticoats, zips, straps, ribbons, lace, buttons and what the heck are those extra fabric panels for? You will also find out how well your underwear works under your dress; does it cut into in to you, does it cause chafing etc. How tight do you tie your petticoat, and where on earth does that go? I would rather you find out 6 weeks before, than on the morning of your wedding!
Some wedding dresses have a bustle, which I highly recommend by the way, as they are very elegant and functional, although at times notoriously complicated! It will help tremendously if at least one person has bustled your dress before your wedding day. As your photographer, I will have witnessed the bustling on the day of the bridal portraits, and may be able to step in to help, if need be.
This is also a great opportunity for your entourage to learn how to get you into your dress successfully, saving you time and stress on your wedding day. A dress rehearsal gives you time to make modifications to your plan ahead of your actual wedding day, changing unknowns into known!
Do your shoes fit?
At your bridal portrait session I would encourage you to wear comfortable shoes to do all the walking from one location to the next, but you will find out very quickly if your wedding shoes are bearable! You’ll be standing for several minutes at a time for some poses, walking quickly for others and possibly even spinning. Your bridal portrait session will give you a very good idea of how your shoes will perform walking down the aisle!
How does that elaborate ‘up do’ handle the perspiration, heat and all that dancing?
Your bridal portrait session is a great opportunity to test out that wedding hair! Based on your experience you may tweak your look a little, based on its longevity in the real world! Most brides will have at least one hair trial before their wedding day, so make the best use of it and have it photographed from all angles. You may just discover that you’d prefer a different hair style for your actual wedding day.
To veil or not to veil, that is the question!
There seems to be a trend lately where brides forgo veils, and I completely understand why, however, they do look beautiful in portraits and can be used for lots of fun shots. I would recommend getting a veil, or even borrowing one for your bridal portraits!
When should I do my bridal portraits?
Typically bridal portraits are photographed anywhere from 1-2 months before your wedding. This will give me more than enough time to process your images and arrange printing and framing for any that you might want to display at your wedding breakfast and reception. Several of my brides have given their Dads a little gift of a bridal portrait photo right before walking down the aisle!
Who do I bring to my bridal portrait session?
Please bring two people, if at all possible. I have all my equipment to carry and my assistant is too busy helping me with the photography, lighting and that darn sheet! Many brides bring their mums, bridesmaids, sisters or best friends.
Do I wear my wedding dress to travel to the shoot?
You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Wear something that is comfortable and bring your dress with you. You can change at the venue and worst case scenario, I have a pop-up changing tent that many a bride has changed in! Many brides will wear leggings with a loose shirt button up shirt or tube top, making it a little easier to get in and out of their wedding dresses.
Won’t my dress get dirty?
My assistant and I will make every effort possible to keep your dress in pristine condition. You will be asked to bring a cheap, clear or white shower curtain liner or a white sheet and whenever your dress is on the ground, it will be resting on a protective layer. This is actually one of the reasons you will be standing in one position for a while, it takes time to protect the dress whilst getting the perfect pose and hiding the sheet! That being said, I can’t guarantee that absolutely nothing will happen to your dress. Fortunately, if it were to get a little dirty, it will be on the underside and not be visible when you walk down the aisle.