8 Tips for Getting Pinterest-Worthy Bridal Photos
Are you one of those brides who had your bridal party line-up determined before you’ve even met your fiancé? Hey, there’s no shame in daydreaming about getting ready for your big day in cute matching robes while clinking together champagne glasses with your friends. These are the people who stood by you after every heartbreak with a bowl of cookie dough before you finally snagged “the one.” So, it’s exciting to honor them for being a part of your love story because each and every one of them impacted the amazing woman you are today. That’s why you told them, “I can’t say ‘I do’ without you.”
When you’re getting ready for your wedding day with your bridal party, you’ll want to make sure you get tons of amazing pictures that will help you remember this once-in-a-lifetime moment. To help you get bridal photos that are truly Pinterest-worthy, I’ve rounded up my top 8 bridal party photo tips. This post includes tips on how to decorate your space, how to get the best lighting, what to take pictures of, and more!
1. Pick a space with plenty of room
A lot of your day will be spent in the room you’ll be getting ready in. So, first and foremost, it should be a place that makes you feel comfortable. Consider: does your getting-ready room have enough outlets, counter space, mirrors (including a full-length mirror), a place to hang your dress without wrinkling the train? And does it have an en-suite bathroom (which is very important when you’re dealing with maneuvering a massive wedding dress)?
The room should not only be big enough to accommodate you and your tribe, but it should also have enough space to take beautiful photos. To avoid a series of uncomfortable close ups, the room should be large enough that your photographer can take photos without feeling like they’re intruding on every intimate moment. This will allow for them to get those personal close ups, but also back up to capture more details (like your bride squad watching in the background), giving each photo more visual interest.
2. Make sure you have natural light
The next major thing to consider is: does your getting-ready room have enough natural light? The light in your bridal suite space will make or break your bridal party photos. And, ideally, you want natural light because rooms with mixed lighting can create weird skin tones, which looks strange and is unflattering. A room with large windows (and, therefore, plenty of natural light) will create more flattering photos with richer and truer colors. For those who want traditional bridal photos, I usually recommend choosing a room with tall, clean windows that allow plenty of natural light into the space. This will provide a soft light that floods the room, giving you a warm and natural glow. If you’re looking for a more dramatic look, however, I’d recommend choosing a room with harsher light that beams into the room. This type of light will bounce off the walls and floors, giving your pictures a more dramatic look.
Another advantage of having a space with natural light is that your photographer can play around with the depth of field in your portraits. This means, while the main subject will be in focus, the background is left soft and blurry. This adds a beautiful effect to portraits and shots that highlight key touches, like your rings or wedding shoes.
Sometimes, though, your venue may not have any rooms with great natural light. For example, churches and other event venues will usually provide rooms to get ready in but, unfortunately, they’re often brightly colored classrooms with florescent lighting. While it’s hard to see in-person, this setting typically casts a blue or green tint on your skin in the photos. To give you another example, hotel rooms, a common option for a bridal party suite, can also have lighting issues. They often have orange tungsten lighting that can make your skin look more yellow or orange. But if you’re dealing with a venue with unfortunate lighting, you have options. Here are two easy solutions: one, rent an Air BnBto get ready in with lots of natural light and interesting textures, or, two, just take your photos outside while everyone adds finishing touches to their (basically fully completed) looks.
3. Clean the room
Wedding day preparations can be hectic— and with so many ladies getting ready in one place, clutter will pile up quickly in your getting-ready room! So, before you invite your photographer in, have your family and friends help clean out the room of drinks, food, clothes, bags, exposed undergarments and any other distracting items in the background. The best way to do this is to designate a point person in your bride squad to ensure no unwanted items will be in your photos later.
4. Plan for shooting sentimental details
To get the best bridal shots, there are two kinds of sentimental shots you want to prepare for: shots of your special wedding day items (detail shots) and shots of special moments between you and your bridal party.
Detail shots make for some of the best bridal shots. So, before your photographer arrives, be sure to get those pretty, sentimental items you want shot ready. Delegate someone to collect all of your jewelry, shoes, wedding rings and bands, invitations, dress hangers, your “something old” and anything else you want photographed in one area. Also, assign out tasks before hand to make the photo session as streamlined as possible. Some popular photos to take are putting wedding shoes on, tying or zipping the back of the bride’s dress, and putting on jewelry.
On top of planning to get shots of precious items, you’ll want to plan to capture precious moments. Bridal shots are a great way to showcase and highlight the more sentimental details of your connection with your bridal party. This could include getting a picture of your new sister-in-law putting a family heirloom on you as a way to symbolize you joining their family. It could be your mom and you sharing a moment for a loved one who passed away by having their picture in a locket or attached to your bouquet. It could be your best friend and you opening champagne to honor your long-standing friendship. It could be a time to read letters prepared by your new soon-to-be spouse or your bridal party.
There are no limits to the details you may want to document during this time. If you don’t know exactly what you want captured during your bridal shots, consider that they can be a lot more than just glamour shots. They could be done in a way that means so much more to you. Think about the bonds you share with the members of your bridal party and think about how you can capture those bonds.
5. Keep it simple
It’s so easy to go overboard when you find a beautiful space. But, remember, you’re the real focus of the day. So, keep it simple, and know that you don’t need to buy a million different textures or styles for your décor. If you keep your décor clean and simple, your pictures will look much less hectic, allowing you and your bridal party to take full focus (as it should be!).
6. Give yourself as much extra time as you can
I swear, Murphy’s Law is inevitable on a wedding day. (You know: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”) A vendor is always late, something is always forgotten, or the spot where you planned to hook up all of the audio equipment just won’t work. So, remember to add additional time into your schedule to compensate for any unforeseen challenges that can impact your day. This extra time will help your day go much more smoothly and ensure you aren’t rushing around in a panic if something goes awry. As a photographer, I’ll also say that having extra time ensures that you don’t have to miss out on shooting a special moment you wanted to capture (or taking advantage of a killer lighting opportunity) just because you’re running behind.
7. Hire a photographer that makes you comfortable
The camera truly shows everything, including when you’re uncomfortable. So, if you’re uncomfortable with your photographer, it’s going to show on film. Your photographer is essentially your shadow for the day. So, you should be comfortable asking them to take certain photos (boudoir shots?) or even just grabbing something for you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I chose my photographer because they made me comfortable” or “it was easy around them”. I’ve even had sessions where the bride challenged me to get her new groom to smile because he didn’t like to in photos. Challenge accepted! I’m no stranger to throwing out dumb jokes or making couples swing dance in order to show the genuine connection between the two of them.
Before you hire your photographer (whether you chose me or someone else), make sure to meet with them in person or schedule a smaller shoot together to see how they make you feel. The best photos are the ones where the couple feels at ease because then your photographer can capture the true essence of your relationship, versus it feeling staged.
8. Have fun
This is your big day! You are beyond gorgeous. You’re showstopper. While you may be smiling on the outside and worrying about the details on the inside, remember to stop and just enjoy it. It’s getting more and more common for people to say the reception is for everyone else. False! It’s a party to celebrate just how great your relationship is and to honor the fact that it’s going to last for a lifetime. So, have that glass of wine, dance to that Spice Girls throw back, and kiss your new spouse as deeply as you can. This is your wedding. So, enjoy every single minute of it, from getting ready to peacing out for your honeymoon. And if you choose me as your photographer, I promise, I’ll get every moment of that joy on film!