Bridal party photos are still alive and well for many couples despite the fact that 2020 has changed weddings as we know them. But no matter what, many couples are not ready to give up entirely on having a wedding party when they get married. And when planning, besides spending time choosing their vendors, looking for a venue, etc., a bride and groom spend a considerable amount of time on choosing their bridal party.
Since the people in the bridal party are usually the closest to the couple, you should try to stay close and establish a bond with them, too. The bridesmaids, the groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearers are the ones who will be participating in the wedding, but besides getting their action shots, you could think of getting creative with their images. While it’s a big day for the bride and groom, it’s a big day for their families and close friends, too. The couple will forever treasure those special moments with their bridal party. Here are some classic and creative ideas that you could try for the bridal party photos at your next wedding.
Classic Arrangements for Bridal Party Photos
1. Entire Bridal Party Photos
As the name suggests, get everyone together for this shot. You could take a formal spin to this with everyone smiling at the camera or you could ask the bridal party to get candid. If you have any jokes, then this could be the right time to deliver a good punchline. Alternatively, you can also ask the bridal party to engage in some fun banter.
If this is a COVID wedding, you could perhaps get the bridal party together and ask them to maintain some distance. Let them keep their masks on and then follow the above steps. When they look at these pictures in the future, they’ll reminisce about surviving a pandemic.
2. The Groomsmen with the Couple
These guys are probably a mixture of the groom’s best buddies, childhood friends or close relatives. Their camaraderie will make any picture look beautiful. You could guide them through the shoot and help them with their poses. You could also plan something more candid and take pictures when they are interacting with the couple during the day. It will look more natural and give a peek into their relationships.
3. The Bridesmaids with the Couple
Bridesmaids are very special to the bride. Just like the groomsmen, they can also be a mix of childhood friends, best buddies and close relatives. They pretty much ensure that the bride stays stress-free and that her day goes perfect. So, they deserve their limelight, too. You could keep this one formal and help them pose with the couple or you could also put a candid spin to this. Be on the lookout for moments when the bridesmaids are interacting with the couple. You could try to get photos that really show the bond between all of them.
4. The Groom with His Guys and the Bride with Her Girls
This is when the bride and groom are likely to be most comfortable, so try to take advantage of that. Their dynamics will already be evident to you, all you have to do is find that perfect lighting and capture every smile. In the future, this image will take them back to the day when all their loved ones came together to support them.
5. Switching Sides for the Bridal Party Photos
This could be turned into a fun photo. Get the groom to pose with all the bridesmaids and get all the groomsmen to pose with the bride. It’s possible that all of them are already good friends, and if that’s not the case, try to guide them through the photos and help them to get comfortable with each other. If there are any in-laws involved on either side, try to see if you can capture their family dynamics in the images. It’s a new beginning for the couple, so photographs with each other’s families will always be a dear memory.
6. The Couple with the Flower Girl
This shot is bound to melt some hearts (a collective awww is always a good sign). They are one of the most important parts of the wedding, so you might want to spend some extra time getting those perfect pictures of the flower girl and the couple. If you already have some ideas, you could show them to the flower girl. If you have a very young flower girl (between ages 4-7), a visual representation might probably be more helpful than a verbal one. You might also want to keep some candy (read: bribes) handy. And one day, when the flower girl becomes the bride, she’ll look back on this moment, too!
7. Solo Shots of the Bride and Groom with the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
This sounds too cute already! This is the perfect moment to catch the bride and groom in their most kid-like avatar. You could take some posed images and then move on to more natural photographs of the bride and groom interacting or playing with the flower girl and ring bearer.
8. The Couple with the Ring Bearer
This is another young member of the bridal party that you may have to spend some extra time with. Photos with children almost always leave people with smiles on their faces, so that extra time spent on getting that perfect photograph is worth it. To keep your young subject-focused, you could try to move away from the crowd. And of course, candy or bribes can work for you here, too! If you are having a hard time with any children in the bridal party, you could try to enlist a family member for help.
9. Shots with In-Laws in the Bridal Party Photos
If there are any in-laws in either bridal party, you can also take advantage of that and create some special photos of their interactions. You could get some formal shots of the couples together and individually with their in-laws. It’s a new beginning for both sides, so getting them together for pictures is an ideal way to help them commemorate this special occasion.
10. The Bridal Party in Action
Try to make sure you photograph the bridal party while they are performing their duties during the ceremony. These will turn out to be the most natural and candid shots, and if there are some goof ups during the ceremony, try to shoot those too! The bridal party and the couple will laugh about those photos later.
Creative Arrangements in Bridal Party Photos
Okay, now that you’ve already got your classic, formal and some candid shots, it’s time to get creative with the bridal party shots. While you might have your own ideas for this, try to be open to suggestions from the bridal party. There are so many props in a wedding, so there’s plenty that you can do to get some unique photos. Here are some fun photos that you can get of your bridal party.
11. The Bling and the Bridesmaids
Everyone wants to take a closer look at the ring, so you might as well get closer, too! You could ask the ladies of the bridal party to focus on the ring and capture that image. Alternatively, if they are already admiring the ring, take some candids as well. This can be a classic photograph that captures sisterhood!
12. The Dressing Room Shot
If the bride is doing her hair and makeup with the bridesmaids, it’s a chance for you to get up close and personal with the bridal party. This is a time when the bridesmaids are helping the bride with her makeup and getting her ready for the big day. There’s going to be laughter, giggles and perhaps some (happy) tears, too. While you are shooting inside the dressing room, try to keep your presence low-key. If the bridal party gets self-conscious of being photographed, you might not be able to get those raw emotions. Keep an eye out for personal moments and maybe keep a pack of tissues with you.
Don’t forget the groom in this process. If he’s getting ready with his groomsmen, you could take some amazing pictures of them too. Remember that these are extremely personal moments, so try to give them their privacy as well. Going into the dressing room to shoot? Read 15 Must-Have Wedding Getting Ready Photos to get some more ideas.
13. The First Look
If the bridal party hasn’t seen the bride’s gown yet, this could be a chance to record their first reaction. You want to be prepared for this shot, so you could try to coordinate with the bride. Ideally, you would want to get an image where you can see everyone’s reaction. It will be one of those shots that the bride and the bridal party will always remember.
14. It’s All About the Style in Bridal Party Photos
Notice someone from the bridal party rocking some funky socks or shoes? They could make for interesting and unique photos. Your bride and groom might also be wearing fancy footwear, so don’t forget the little details. If they are all wearing something unique, it could make for a cool bridal party photo. There could be something special about the way the bridesmaids have done their hair or something unique about the back of their dresses, so be observant and be sure to ask them if there’s anything special they would like photographed so you don’t miss a moment.
15. Get Crafty in Bridal Party Photos
You could ask the bridal party to hold up placards with personal messages or letters that spell out ‘love’. Make it as colorful as you want or keep it monochrome. It’s something that will also give the bridal party a chance to bond, and of course, test their arts and crafts skills. You could also involve the bride and groom in these pictures.
Another idea would be to get the bridal party to spell out ‘Just Married’ and the couple sharing a kiss in front of them. If they share a pet, bring them into this picture too.
16. Get on the Dance Floor
The dance floor is where people really let loose. Photograph the bridal party in action. You could ask them to get a little goofy with their dance moves too. These photos will definitely make it to a #ThrowbackThursday post one day or it could just be a running joke between the bridal party. Just let the bridal party do their thing!
17. The Groom with the Bridesmaids
This could potentially be an advance ice breaking session or it could turn out to be a really fun session if the groom and the bridesmaids are already acquainted. You could have the bridesmaids pull the groom’s cheeks or make funny faces with him. A little music could also help lighten the mood. Use a fun, upbeat playlist and let the groom and bridesmaids dance and have fun.
18. Work with Nature in Bridal Party Photos
Whether it’s a bright, sunny day or it’s pouring, work with the weather. It may be a little uncomfortable to shoot in the rain, but you could get some really stellar photographs, too. You could even suggest the bridal party dance in the rain! The combination of the rain, laughter and your lens will make for magical moments. If you find yourself surrounded by mountains or a beach, you could use them to add some drama to your background.
Check out our blog on How to Photograph a Wedding When it Rains for some tips and tricks to work with nature.
19. The Bridesmaids’ Bouquets
The bride spends a lot of time finalizing a bouquet for their bridesmaids. This is one of the images that you could try to get right at the beginning of the ceremony. Whether it’s a shot of just the bouquets or the bridesmaids holding their bouquets, flowers always make a photograph look pretty.
20. Selfie Mode
If you see the couple and the bridal party taking selfies, this is your cue to get creative. You could find different angles and distances that you could photograph them while they stay busy taking selfies. The whole bridal party is bonding at this moment, so you might be able to get some really cool and candid photos.
21. Take the Bridal Party on a Walk
This could be yet another chance of getting some candids where the bride and groom can just let go and be comfortable. Get the bridal party together and have them walk around the venue or other nearby locations. Let them chat and laugh out loud. It could be like their mini-break from the wedding. You could also try making conversation with them as you continue to shoot. If the venue has opportunities for dramatic backdrops like flower walls or fountains, try and use them in the bridal party photos.
This is not necessarily just for the ladies. You could try and suggest this to the groom’s side too. Mixing both sides together would also make for some fun images. If the wedding is in a beautiful, small town that looks like something straight out of a movie, try to find beautiful streets you could turn into photography spots.
22. The Bridal Party Peeking at the Couple
To set up this shot, you could have the bride and groom pose romantically and show the bridal party trying to catch a glimpse of the couple. It could make for a sweet and funny shot. You might want to step away from the crowd for this one and make sure that you are getting all your subjects in the frame. Find areas at the venue that would allow you to do this. If there is a garden at the venue, the bridal party could be inside the house trying to get a look at the couple in love through a window, or they could be peeking from behind a wall.
23. The Bridal Party Cheering for the Couple
As an alternative to the suggestion above, for this shot, you could have the couple in a romantic pose and their bridal party in the background rejoicing and cheering for them. With that much joy and celebration around, it’s bound to be a lovely image.
24. The Symmetrical Shot for Bridal Party Photos
This is especially stellar if the bridal party is color coordinated. And the photograph will come out looking even better if the background complements the colors.
25. Look For Heights
If you have access to a roof or a higher floor, take advantage by taking some bird’s eye view shots. Spot the bridal party among the guests and capture them as they are. They could be gossiping, or laughing at something, or simply chatting – it will be beautiful because it’s a real moment. You could also have them pose for you while you go upstairs to take the photos. If they are posing, they could look up at you, smiling or holding up their glasses.
26. Focus on the Bride
While this blog is all about getting those perfect bridal party photos, don’t forget about the bride. Get the bridesmaids and the bride together and have them pose with their back facing towards you. Now, let the bride stand out by asking her to turn around and face you. And there you go! You get the bridal party photo and put the spotlight on the bride in the same photo.
27. Focus on the Bridesmaids
To set up this shot, you could have the bride hold up a mirror to all her bridesmaids. Point the camera towards the bride with her holding up the mirror reflecting all her bridesmaids and shoot away! This photo allows you to focus on the bride and the bridesmaids in the same photo. You can also capture individual images of the bride with each bridesmaid. This whole series can also be done with the groom with his groomsmen.
Need tips to photograph a large bridal party? Our blog on 3 Steps to Shooting a Large Bridal Party could help.
28. Go Indoors
If there’s a large room with impeccable lighting and decor, get your bridal party to pose indoors. Get both the sides together and have them all look towards you. Some could be sitting, others could be standing. To make it more dramatic, you could ask them to keep their expressions serious, yet not tense. And of course, once you are done with all the posed photos, ask them to get a little crazy!
Read How to Shoot in Small and Dark Wedding Venues if you find yourself in a venue with less than ideal lighting.
29. One with the Food
If the bridal party is sitting down to eat, you could take some pictures without making them aware of your presence. People are not always comfortable being photographed while eating, so you might want to ask first. If you spot them at the bar, try getting them to do the classic “cheers” pose.
30. A Sparkling Beginning for Bridal Party Photos
If it’s nighttime, hand some sparklers to the bridal party. You could divide the bridal party into two rows and have them make a ‘tunnel’ for the bride and groom to pass through. Once the sparklers are lit, you could have the bride and groom run through the tunnel. This should give you the chance to get some lovely action shots with everyone in the picture. Besides being excellent props, the sparklers can also add some beautiful lighting to your images.
31. Up in the Air
The groomsmen could lift the groom into their arms for a playful shot. Alternatively, if they are okay with getting a little adventurous, they could also toss him in the air (this sounds way scarier than it looks). This might take some practice, so try to be patient. You could also suggest this to the bride. It will certainly be a memorable activity for the bridal party and the couple!
32. The Veil
Brides are often photographed with their veils, and for good reason. The veil tends to add a dramatic touch to the shot. One of the shots could be of the bridesmaids fixing the bride’s veil in the dressing room. You could also have the bride showing off her veil and the bridesmaids holding it or standing next to it.
33. Recreate an Old Photograph
If the bridal party has people the bride and groom knew from when they were young or if there’s a recent, fun photo of the couple with their bridal party, try to recreate it. It would be ideal to have an older photograph, so you could do a ‘then’ and ‘now’.
34. Involve the furry friends
If there’s a pet on either side of the family, include them in the bridal party photos. If the bride and groom are attached to this pet, they will love the idea of involving their fur baby in the photographs. You could also photograph them as they play games or perform some tricks with their pets. This way you really get the whole family together!
35. Get Sporty
If the bride or groom or both have a sports streak in them, then try to photograph them in action with their bridal party. Set up a match, divide the teams and add some stellar action shots to your collection. If you divide the teams according to bridesmaids and groomsmen, things are bound to get competitive.
Be Open to Collaboration
We hope this blog helps you make your own shot list for the bridal party. While it’s always good to be prepared, try to be open to suggestions from the bridal party. You may like their ideas better or even merge your ideas. If you are certain that something won’t work, let them know that classic photos look just as good. Pinterest is a great place for the bride to collect her ideas and share with you!
To learn more about creating a wedding day shot list, read Creating a Wedding Day Shot List.
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