Your bridal portraits is a great opportunity to put together your full bridal look before the big day! I get asked a lot of similar questions from brides preparing for their sessions so I wanted to put together a guide that outlines tips and preparation that I recommend for clients.
When Should You Book Your Bridal Portraits?
Usually bridal portraits take place 1-2 months before your wedding. The main factor is making sure you have all of your alterations completed on your dress beforehand. This ensures the most flattering fit of your dress. After your dress has come in and you set up your alterations appointment, be sure to ask when the dress will be ready to go. The closest I do bridal sessions to the wedding date is 3 weeks. I want to make sure to have time to edit/deliver the images to you with enough time for you to print your favorites to display at the reception.
Make sure to reach out to me when you know when you are getting your dress back to get on the schedule. I book both bridal/engagement sessions on Sundays (Saturdays are reserved for weddings) so my weekend options get booked pretty far in advance. I also offer weekday sessions. Weekday sessions easy to accomplish in the Spring/Summer when the sun sets later, but can be a challenge during the Fall/Winter when the sun sets earlier. Generally bridal sessions are scheduled during golden hour which fluctuates during the seasons.
Where Should Your Bridal Portraits Be?
Location is the second decision to make. Some venues allow for brides to have there bridals on location. Usually the time slots available for these sessions are usually week days only (since most venues will be booked for events Fri-Sun). Be sure to ask your venue if they offer a complementary session for bridals on site. Other options include nature preserves, parks, botanical gardens, urban settings, or even studios.
Studios sessions are a great option if you are worried about weather. Texas can be notoriously moody when it comes to weather, and a studio session creates clean and modern images without worrying about what weather Texas will decide on the day of the session. Note that studio sessions will include a small up charge in order to book the space for the hour of your session.
Bridal Session Planning Tips:
Set up your hair/makeup trial the day of the session. Most hair and makeup artists include a trial run when you book them for your wedding. Using that trial the day of your session is a great way to look your absolute best for your bridal session. Bonus to this is not only seeing what your makeup looks like in the mirror, but you will get to see how it photographs in case you want to tweak anything prior to the big day!
Get a bouquet from your florist. This gives you something to do with your hands for most of the photos and adds color/texture to your portraits.
Give yourself extra time! Being a bride always takes longer than you think. Pad your timeline in getting ready and getting to your location. I would suggest adding in a half hour pre session in case your makeup/hair appointment runs late or you get caught in traffic on the way to the session. Also factor in how long it will take you to get into your dress. If you have a slip on dress or dress that zips it is pretty quick, but dressed with corsets and/or buttons take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to get on. Your session time does not include time for this. If we plan the session at golden hour, sunlight is limited and you don’t want to waste any of your photography time getting into your dress.
Get your nails done! I will definitely be getting some close ups of your hands to focus on your ring and on your feet to highlight your shoes. Having fresh polish or well manicured nails can make for a more polished look.
Bridal Portraits Checklist:
Make sure you bring ALL your bridal details. Veil, shoes, jewelry, hair pieces, perfume, etc. Making a checklist can help make sure you don’t forget anything.
Think about your undergarments. Make sure to bring a bra and set of panties that wont show, leave lines, and are a light color (though white and skin toned options are definitely best).
Does your dress or veil need to be steamed? Make sure to take them out of the bag and make sure they don’t need some TLC before you get to the session location. You can also bring a steamer with you if we are shooting somewhere that will have a bathroom to get water and plug it in.
Bring help! A family member or bridesmaid can tag along to help you get dressed, carry your accessories, and most importantly, be your hype man! Definitely keep your crew to one or two helpers only. Having too many people there can make things overwhelming.
A bottle of water! Gotta stay hydrated and being a gorgeous bride is definitely thirsty work.
Always feel free to reach out with any additional questions or concerns you may have regarding your bridal portraits. Helping brides plan is one of my favorite parts of my job!
Looking for more wedding planning material? Check out the blog post below!
Haley Katherine Photography is a Dallas Wedding Photographer specializing in weddings, elopements, destination weddings, and engagement sessions for couples seeking authentic, timeless, and cheerful imagery. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my portfolio.