The Photographer’s Guide to Bridal Portraits and 7 Tips
Bridal portraits have been a vital part of the wedding process for several hundred years now, and they are still just as important today. In this article, we will discuss the history and importance of bridal portraits and go over eight tips on how to capture the best bridal portraits for your clients.
A Brief History of Bridal Portraits
While it's tempting to think that the tradition of bridal portraits dates back to ancient times, it was actually the invention of photography in 1839 that brought them into existence. This was only a year after the first daguerreotype was developed by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and Francois Arago.
The very first wedding photos were taken by a French photographer named Gustave Le Gray. He took his first shots at a wedding in Brighton, England, in 1843. The bride and groom were none other than Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert, who would later become king.
That said, it wasn't until the late 1800s that the idea of posing for wedding photos really took off. One reason for this is because it became more affordable for couples to get their pictures taken, especially when Thomas Edison invented the wet-plate process in 1879.
Another reason is because people began traveling further from home during this period so they could get married somewhere else. This meant that friends and family were often unable to attend the ceremony, and as such, bridal portraits were part of the way for the couple's loved ones to experience the wedding.
Bridal Portraits Are Still Important in the 21st Century
You might think that bridal portraits are a thing of the past, but they're not. In fact, they're still very important for a number of reasons.
For starters, they give the bride a chance to get comfortable with the photographer before the wedding. That way, when it comes time for the actual wedding day photo shoot, the photographer can snap bridal photos but also focus on bride and groom shots and including the bridal party as well.
Bridal portraits are also great because they let the bride wear her dress prior to the wedding day. Wedding dresses are one of the most important, and possibly the most expensive, dress the bride will ever wear, so bridal portraits are a great reason to get to wear the dress twice.
The bride can also use this time to do a consultation of her hair and makeup that she plans to have on her big day. This may be the first time the bride sees their entire wedding look come together: hair, makeup, dress, etc. Once the whole ensemble is put together, this gives the bride a chance to get comfortable in her look as well as moving in their dress. Think of it as a dress rehearsal prior to the wedding day. It also gives brides a chance to see their portraits, and if there is something that they don’t like with their look, they can change it prior to the wedding.
Bridal portraits allow brides to capture their personality in a special way, one that isn't necessarily about the ceremony itself but about who she is as an individual. Since bridal portraits are captured prior to the wedding day, this gives the bride and groom time to order a print of the bridal portrait and display it on the big day.
7 Tips for Capturing Beautiful Bridal Portraits
Now that we have gone over the history and importance of bridal portraits let's look at how you can capture the best bridal portraits for your clients. Remember, wedding photography is an art that takes practice to perfect, but by following the tips and tricks listed below, you'll be able to capture amazing bridal portraits every time.
Get to know the bride
Before you begin shooting the bridal portraits, make sure you get to know the bride. A photoshoot is as much about the bride as it is about the photographer. You want to make sure that the bride feels comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera so that they can show their true selves in the photos. If you already know the bride, it will make things much easier because you can adapt the shoot according to their preferences.
Ask the bride for a list of must-have photos
Asking the bride for a list of must-have photos is a great way to start planning the shoot. This way, you'll know what the bride wants to see in the photos ahead of time, and you can plan the shoot accordingly.
Make sure the bride is relaxed and comfortable
One of the most important things in any photo shoot is that your subject is relaxed and comfortable. If the couple is not relaxed and comfortable, it will reflect in the photos. If your subject is not relaxed and comfortable, you might be able to salvage the shoot, but you will have a much more difficult time getting the photos you want. This is especially important for bridal portraits because the photos will be a lasting memory of the wedding.
Use natural light to illuminate your subjects
When you are trying to create beautiful photos, you want to use natural light whenever possible. This is because natural light is the most beautiful light that you can find. By using natural light to illuminate your subjects, you will have more freedom to work with the composition of your photos, and you'll be able to produce better photos for the bride.
Shoot at various locations if possible
Shooting at various locations is a great idea for bridal portraits because it will help you to create different types of photos. There are many different types of bridal portraits that you can create. From standard portraits to creative shots. Shooting at various locations will give you a lot of options and will allow the couple to choose what they like best from a variety of different shots.
Experiment with different poses and angles
There are many different types of bridal portraits that you can create. You can shoot traditional portraits and have the bride stand in front of a beautiful background. You can also create beautiful photos by photographing the bride from above. The possibilities are nearly endless. By experimenting with different poses and angles, you can capture unique shots that the couple will love.
Define your key lighting with a test shot
If you don't have a consistent light source, your photos will all have a different look and feel. This is why it is important to define your key lighting with a test shot. Defining your key lighting will make it much easier to create consistent photos and allow you to recreate the same lighting in every photo, which will help you capture beautiful photos every time.
We hope this article has given you some insight into the history and importance of bridal portraits and inspired you to try out some new things when photographing bridal portraits for your clients. Remember, social media platforms like Instagram may have changed the way people share their photos, but as long as people are still getting married, there will always be a need for bridal portraits captured by a professional photographer.