7 Techniques to Better Bridal Portraits

7 techniques to better bridal portraits

As a bride begins her wedding shopping, she spends months scouring the Internet for her dream photographer. She wants someone who will capture all of the major events, be there for the candid moments, and of course, make her look fabulous during her bridal portraits – it is her day, after all.

Bridal Portraits

Over the past few months, we’ve given you several tips and tricks on how to use your favorite go-to wedding photographer poses for groups of people during the shoot – bridesmaids, groomsmen, and families for formals. Now we would like to take time and focus on how to pose just one person, the bride.


Taking photos of just the bride is exciting and challenging at the same time. On the one hand, you have the advantage of focusing all of your posing efforts on one person. On the other hand, it can take some extra effort to capture her true emotion since she is not next to her bridesmaids or soon-to-be husband. So how do you ensure you come up with the best bridal portrait ideas to make her look stunning? Not to worry, we have 7 easy posing techniques you can use to pose the bride at your next wedding.

1. Find the perfect light

After the bride spends hours getting her hair and makeup done, it’s time for you to make her shine. Often times, the background of the image is not important – it’s all about the light (which, as a wedding photo editing service for professional photographers, we know proper lighting is crucial to the success of the image). Try wedding poses for bride that have her near a window in her dressing room as she gets ready. This will help you create a stand-out image from the natural lighting.

Tip: For a more dramatic shot, use the light from a window to illuminate one-half the bride’s face.

bridal portraits window light

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Roberto Valenzuela

2. Add Simple Props

Does the bride have a bouquet or a sentimental item that she wants to be photographed? Have her pose with it. Not only will this allow you to showcase her selected prop, but this photo will hold more sentimental value because the bride is posing with something that is meaningful to her. If there are no props readily available, have her grab her veil or part of her dress. By giving her something to hold, you will also eliminate the issue of the bride not knowing what to do with her hands.

3. Encourage Natural Expressions

When it comes to facial expressions, we have all seen it before – the fake smile (this is something you likely saw from the bride, and even groom, during the engagement shoot). The bride is nervous and is trying to show off her pearly whites, but you can see right through that smile. So how do you combat this? Here’s a little secret: She doesn’t have to smile in every photo. Sometimes, the most natural and unique expressions come when the bride is doing something other than smiling. Try poses that allow the bride to look down or over her shoulder – she can also look at her flowers or ring with admiration. When you give her an opportunity to relax, she will give you genuine expressions that will create beautiful images.

bride posing with bouquet

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Roberto Valenzuela

4. Flatter Her Body Type

Every bride is different in shape and size, but one thing is consistent with all brides – the poses you select must flatter their body type! Rather than shooting every pose straight on, have her turn to the side, drop her front shoulder, and pop one leg – this will help create angles and dimension to the photo. To help accentuate her curves (or give her more if she doesn’t have any), have her place her hands on her waist to create an hourglass shape.

Tip: Rather than having the bride try to move a lot in her dress and 5-inch stilettos, take the opportunity to shoot her from all different angles and vantage points. One pose can look different when you photograph it from a few different angles! 

5. Correct her Posture

As the wedding day continues and the bride has been in the spotlight all day, she may begin to slouch a bit in photos (it can be hard to stand up straight in a heavy dress all day!). Take an extra minute to ensure that she is standing up straight, for this will make her look tall, confident, and more photogenic. A bride is her own worst critic, and she will thank you later for telling her to extend her chin slightly to conceal any sightings of a double chin!


Learn Posing From the Pros

Tip: If the bride is getting tired of standing, mix it up by having her pose on a couch or chair! This will help add variety to your poses, not to mention the bride will appreciate a break from her skyscraper heels.

6. Create Angles with her Arms

An area that a bride always seems to notice (and ask for you to photoshop) is her arms. Luckily, there are some simple tricks you can use to make her arms look closer to how she envisions them! Create distinction between her torso and arms by having her place her hands on her hips, or have her stretch her arms and reach for part of her veil. If she is next to a wall, window, or object that she can touch, have her extend an arm and place her hand on it.

bride posing with bouquet outdoors

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Roberto Valenzuela

7. Add Personal Details

Part of what makes the wedding day so special is the personal details that the bride has – you know the saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Take the opportunity to add these special details into photos with your bride. Maybe the bracelet she is wearing is her grandmother’s, or maybe the earrings she has on have a unique story behind them. To create a unique pose, have the bride place a hand on her earrings or necklace – while her hand is up, you can also include the details of her bracelet.

There you have it – 7 bridal poses and tips for bridal portraits to make her feel and look her best. As you prep for your next wedding, think about how you can use each of these techniques to create stunning bridal portraits. For additional tips and tricks to use when working with the bride on the wedding day, click the banner below to download our Posing for the Wedding Photographer Guide!

1 Comment

  1. Oswald Wallen

    Thanks for the information. Robert has great skills. Please continue to share as we equip each other to be better at our craft.

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