It’s time for your bridal portrait. In the hectic rush to coordinate your schedule with the shooting venue, the photographer and your hair/makeup person, it’s easy to miss a detail that could have a major impact on your images. The bridal portrait advice below is designed to help you have an amazing, awesome bridal portrait experience. If you have any tips that would help other brides, please feel free to use the “Comments” to share.
1) Scheduling. You’ll want to check with your photographer on how far in advance of the wedding they want to do your bridal portrait shoot, since it will vary from photographer to photographer. The safest bet would be to schedule your bridal portrait photo session two months before your wedding date, but you’ll also want to talk to your bridal shop about the dress alterations so you can coordinate having the dress back in time.
2) Companions. I always tell my brides to bring along their best friend(s) and to feel free to invite their mom along as well. Not only will it help to make your session even more fun, but the additional hands can help you bustle your dress, fix your veil if it comes loose, and help carry a bag of necessities.
3) Snacks. If your bridal portrait session is going to take place around meal times, you’ll want to bring along something to drink (with a straw, of course) and snack on, to get through the shoot without a full meal. Also consider the time it will take for hair & makeup to finish, putting your dress on, and transportation to the shoot site, when deciding whether you might have some hunger pains mid-stream.
4) Details. Make a checklist of things to take with you and be sure to include the veil, your wedding shoes, wedding jewelry, and a floral bouquet that is close to the color of your wedding bouquet. (If you can’t obtain one from your florist, be sure to get loose flowers from Central Market and bundle into a homemade bouquet with ribbon from Michael’s.) If your shooting location will have more of a country feel to them and you’ll be in wild flowers/grass areas, you might want to bring a small bottle of insect repellent. Those wild flowers look amazing, but if you have open-toe shoes, the bites won’t leave you feeling your best.
5) Makeup. Even though you’ll have a professional apply your makeup prior to your bridal portrait shoot, you’ll want to make sure to have a small touch-up kit to take with you for your photos. It should include the must-have’s like, blotting tissues to take care of shine, lipstick, and setting powder. When you go to your stylist to have your makeup done for your bridal portrait session, be sure to have them add eyelash extensions for an amazing look in your closeup photos! Or, another great option is to go to a salon that specializes in semi-permanent eyelash extensions, like “The Lash Lounge” in Allen, Texas.
6) Hair. You’ll want to have a small can of hairspray and plenty of bobby pins for any hair touch-up’s that might be necessary through your shoot, especially if you’ll be shooting outdoors in the summer heat. If you plan to wear your hair down, be sure to talk to your stylist about products they can provide for you to quickly re-volumize your hair during the photo shoot.
7) Shoes. Of course, for your photos, you’ll be wearing your wedding shoes. But as you move around the location, you may want to bring some flip-flop’s so you’re more comfortable walking around for a few hours.
8 ) Skincare. Ok, I’ll be the bad guy here for a few minutes. While spray tans or tanning beds might look like you’ve been “sun-kissed” in person, to a photograph, it can make you look like an orange alien. The old adage of “apply more for photos to stand out” is definitely *not* good to apply with tanning. Keep your tan very light to look natural in the photos and avoid having an orange cast to the photos. Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before you shoot, and stick with your regular skincare regimen during the two weeks prior to your bridal portrait session. Changing skincare products can leave skin irritated, so be sure to check a professional before changing up your regular regimen.
9) Hands & Feet. I always recommend getting a manicure and pedicure a day or so before the bridal shoot. The hands will be in all the photos, and in close-up’s, you definitely don’t want the attention to go to your cuticles instead of being on you! The feet are routinely in the photos as well, especially if your wedding shoes are colorful and/or unique.
10) Expectations. Every effort is made to keep your dress as clean as possible, but be aware that no matter how much care is taken, the dress will get a bit dirty (especially along the hemline of the skirt). To help minimize this, bring along a sheet that is close to the color of your wedding dress so you don’t have to limit your images where you are only able to stand. With a sheet along for protection, you’ll worry less about getting the back of your dress dirty if you sit anywhere. After your bridal portrait shoot is over, I always recommend taking your dress in to a dry cleaner so it looks its best on the big day. Of course, the most important tip is to relax, have fun and make sure you feel as beautiful as you should! The bridal portrait shoot is all about YOU and spotlighting the beautiful bride that you are!