How to Prepare for Your First Bridal Portrait Session

We have guest blogger, Kacey Bradley, sharing with us some tips on how to prepare for your first bridal session.

How to Prepare for Your First Bridal Portrait Session

Everything about getting ready for your wedding is exciting and special! You get to personalize every detail of your ceremony and reception, so when the day finally arrives, you can celebrate the start of your marriage in the best ways possible with your family and friends.

To keep the memories coming and make them last, it’s a common practice for brides to have bridal sessions before their weddings. It’s an extra opportunity to dress up in your gown and experience the thrill that comes with walking around in your dream dress and veil.

Having a bridal portrait session is fun, but you should still be prepared before you meet with your photographer. Here are eight things you can do so you’re ready when the camera starts snapping away. 

  1. Schedule as Early as Possible

Even if you have the world’s best wedding planner, your life will still get pretty hectic during the last few weeks before your big day. Last-minute problems always arise, so you’ll find yourself busy with things you didn’t think about before.

That’s why it’s a great idea to schedule your bridal portrait session as early as possible. You’ll have more time to work with the details like where it’s going to take place and how long you want to spend there. Plus, you’ll get your pictures back sooner — and possibly even have time to frame them to show at your reception.

  1. Have a Backup Plan Ready

It’s always good to have a backup plan for big events, and that includes portrait sessions. Outdoor pictures can be gorgeous with the right lighting and venue, but what happens if the weather gets rainy or cold?

Talk to your photographer about a suitable secondary location in case something goes wrong. Think about how you could take pictures indoors, or another outdoor venue that wouldn’t require scheduling. Not all outdoor photoshoots are at reserved locations, so look around your town to see what inspires you.

  1. Consider Using Props

Professional photographers use props all the time to make every picture look perfect. Antique chairs or tables give you something to interact with, but the most common accessory is flowers. 

Real bouquets cost brides 7 to 8 percent of their overall wedding budgets, so you may consider getting silk flowers for your photos. Silk flowers are cheaper than real ones because they are artificial and simple to make. They’ll look just as fresh as real flowers, but without the hefty price tag.

  1. Get Your Dress Fitted

Dress fittings are different for every bride since it's unlikely your dress is going to perfectly fit you when you try it on the first time. Talk to your seamstress to make sure you can get your dress fitted and sent back as soon as possible. This way, you can have your portrait session done early.

  1. Let the Professionals Handle Hair and Makeup

You do your hair and makeup on a daily basis, so it might seem silly to spend money at a salon when you can do it on your own. When your portrait session happens, you’ll want to look your best. Professional cosmetologists will ensure your look is up to date and able to withstand an extended photo session.

You can attempt a few hair and makeup trials on your own, but they’re harder than they look. Don’t let yourself stress about perfecting your appearance on the day of your portrait session. A professional team will let you kick back and relax, so you can truly enjoy the moment.

  1. Bring Along Comfort Items

It sounds like fun to do a photo session — and it definitely is — but they can take a lot longer than you may think. With a bridal portrait session, your photographer will want to capture the best angles and poses to flatter you. Since that could lead to more time in front of the camera, it’s smart to bring along a few supplies.

Come prepared to your session with any items you may need if the photos run long. If you’ll be outside, bring a coat or blanket to stay warm between takes. Keep a cooler in your car with snacks and drinks. Whatever would make you comfortable, think about bringing it with you to make the process that much more enjoyable.

  1. Research Other Bridal Sessions

The best way to know what to expect from your bridal portrait session is to see what other brides have done. Social media and Pinterest are wonderful places to start! You can see different poses, props, locations and lighting options you might not have thought about. Researching could be a game changer for how you and your photographer plan your shoot, so have fun looking around online to get inspired.

  1. Bring Along Family and Friends

Showing up to your session alone could make things a bit awkward. It’s always more fun to have your family and friends by your side, so invite them to come with you and cheer you on. Depending on the time you have and your preferences, they could even join in on the fun for some cute behind-the-scenes candid shots you’ll cherish forever.

Preparing for your first bridal portrait sessions is essential to making it work. You'll walk into the shoot knowing what you're going to look like and what kind of photos you want to end up with. Spending some time researching will also prevent you from scheduling a second portrait session if the pictures don’t end up quite right. 

Try some or all of these eight tips to ensure you arrive prepared and ready to have fun during your bridal portrait session.


Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more! 

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!