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I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family and branding photographer & a Dubsado educator for family photographers who want to be more streamlined with Dubsado. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
First, many brides do not realize this, but bridal portraits can take up to 45 minutes and cut into the timeline of events. If you take care of the bridal portraits early on, it can ease a lot of unnecessary stress. Plus, with the added layers of bridesmaids, families, and people popping in and out of the bridal suite on the actual wedding day, brides tend to react to the beginning of their wedding day in one of several ways: they get overly excited, nervous, stressed, anxious about the timeline, very quiet and clam up, and the very rare bride is actually fully aware and fully present. So with a lot of pent up emotions, it sometimes is very difficult to take the bridal portraits because there are so many layers that can create some tension for the bride and it truly shows in her portraits.
Secondly, there’s a big difference between looking at yourself in the mirror at a hair and makeup trial and actually seeing how that hair holds up in the elements and how that makeup photographs. When it comes to being confident in your choices on your wedding day, bridal portraits before your wedding day help give you valuable time and headspace to best prepare for what the actual day will look like. If you’re considering a Bridal Portrait Session, I recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup, and your bouquet. I typically spend 2-3 hours shooting at bridal sessions and it’s nice to have something to hold (your bouquet) to make your hands feel a little less awkward! Also, this is a good excuse for you to work with your hair and makeup team and for them to let you know how long it is really going to take for you to get ready (so that you can plug that into your wedding timeline).
Third, when it comes to choosing a location for your bridal portrait session, I recommend using locations that are well-manicured, clean, and have great variety in indoor and outdoor locations. Wedding venues are usually a wonderful place to start – especially historic homes and resorts that have well-manicured areas. I want to keep your dress as clean as possible and still, get a lot of amazing images inside and outside. If you decide to do bridal portraits at your wedding venue, this gives you an opportunity to get prints of your portraits ahead of time and these make PERFECT Mother-of-the-Bride gifts.
Fourth, when it comes to selecting a date for your bridal portrait session, another great thing to keep in mind is the weather. In order to avoid being too hot during the summer months or too cold during the winter months, I highly recommend Spring and Fall. However, if you are on a time crunch, then I am confident you can work something out with your photographer because I try my best to accommodate with my clients (aka I once shot a bridal portrait session 8.5 months pregnant!) Let’s say your wedding is in the dead of winter, there is a high chance that you will not like taking bridal portraits outside because of the inclement weather, so plan ahead!
Many venues charge a fee for portrait sessions. Although inconvenient, the fee is often worth it in order to have use of their getting ready room and other venue services. I typically have to work with the venues on times, but I love to shoot bridal portraits in the afternoon as late as we can to get that softer afternoon light. However, if your venue has strict hours, I would say work with your wedding photographer to find the best shooting time which would accommodate the venue hours and to your schedule.
I even created a free checklist for you to use as a resource of what to pack for your bridal portrait session. You can check it out HERE as a free download Packing List for Bridal Portraits
As always, thank you so much for keeping up with my wedding photography adventures! I love serving you all through photography and I especially love working with couples who are joyful and excited about getting married! If you are newly engaged and are looking to work with an intimate wedding photographer or elopement photographer who would best capture and illustrate your love story with radiant and joyful portraits, please feel free to reach out to me! Plus, to jumpstart your wedding planning process, click here for my top secrets to rocking your wedding timeline!