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Here comes the bride, all dressed in white or maybe in a dress with colorful floral designs? Whatever may be the bride’s choice, her wedding attire is a wedding day highlight for sure. But before you photograph the dress (and the bride) in all its glory on the wedding day, a bridal portrait session is a chance for you, as the wedding photographer, to really help shine the spotlight on the dress. Plus, it’s also an opportunity for the bride to prepare herself for the wedding day photos. But if you don’t see why you should add bridal portrait sessions on your list of services or have no idea about what is a bridal session, this blog could help you understand the concept and even motivate you to start offering them asap! Hint: A more polished portfolio, more clients, more profits, etc, etc.

What Is A Bridal Session In Photography?

a wedding bride posing with the bouquet in her hand
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @sarafrance

A bridal session, also known as bridal session photography, is focused on capturing photos of the bride-to-be in her wedding dress. This usually takes place prior to the actual wedding day. The idea behind this photo session is to capture amazing photos of the bride in her dress. It’s essentially a bridal photography opportunity that you get so you can also practice for D-Day.

One of the best parts about the bridal shoot is that your bride gets to have a practice session for how she’s going to pose on the wedding day, and more importantly, it helps her get comfortable with the camera. Also, the bridal photo shoot style can be whatever your client wants it to be, so both of you can unleash your creative side! Moreover, the shoot could help her decide if any element, like her hair, makeup, or even the dress, needs to be adjusted or altered.

Read More: Bridal Portraits You Can’t Miss: Featuring ShootDotEdit Customers

How To Set Up A Bridal Session

a wedding bride posing in her wedding dress
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @flavio_d_photography

An important part of learning what is a bridal session includes mastering and setting up one for your client. To ensure that your bridal session is successful, you could create a preparation checklist beforehand. 

1. Send A Reminder

After a bride schedules a session, you could send her an email reminder a few days prior to the shoot. Add a list of items for her to remember to bring, like the dress, veil, ring, makeup, bouquet, etc,. This is important to ensure that she can prepare in time. Additionally, you could also give her a quick call to check if she is all set. This could help make your client feel special and could also contribute towards building a good relationship.

2. Scout Locations

a bride standing on the balcony in her wedding attire
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @olsondesignphotography

This phrase may appear often, but it is worth mentioning: Scouting the bride’s choice of location for the session is essential in order to plan out your shots. This can help you create a list of potential backgrounds, angles, compositions, etc., which can come in handy when you’re setting up for the bridal session. Also, in case she needs help deciding a location, go ahead and give her any suggestions that you might have for the kind of shoot she wants.

Suggested Read: The Importance Of Location Scouting In Wedding Photography

3. Add Light According To The Shoot Style

Another essential part of understanding what is a bridal session is lighting. Familiarizing yourself with or even mastering off-camera lighting could make a difference when your bride wants a particular photography style. Whether it’s bright and airy bridal portraits or dramatic bridal images, using off-camera flash and understanding the bride’s vision is key. This can help you determine which lighting style to use and also add that extra magic to your bridal session. 

4. Try Different Poses

a wide in her wedding dress walking down the beach
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @erickelly

Try to curate a list of bridal photo shoot pose ideas before your client’s portrait session. This can help you utilize your time to the fullest instead of scrambling for bridal portrait ideas during the shoot. Some bridal posing techniques include:

  • Close-up shots highlighting her makeup.
  • Bride holding the bouquet and smiling into the camera.
  • The bride posing against a door or window.
  • The bride sitting on the ground with her dress spread out around her.
  • A veil toss.
  • Candids or action shots.

Related Read: Bridal Veil Photography Techniques + Photos By ShootDotEdit Customers

5. Choose The Right Lenses

While it’s true that the lens you opt for has more to do with the look and style, you can switch between lenses to get a variety of images for bridal photography. For instance, lenses like 24mm or 35mm can be used to capture wide-angle portraits where you can play around with different compositions. Whereas using an 85mm lens, you can capture crisp, clean, tightly-framed bridal portraits with a shallow depth of field to make the bride stand out from the backdrop. 

Top 5 Reasons To Offer A Bridal Portrait Session 

Now that you know what is a bridal session and how to set one up, here are a few reasons why adding bridal session portrait photography to your list of services could be great for your business:

1. Build Your Portfolio

infographic stating offering bridal sessions could help you improve the quality of your portfolio

Having bridal sessions in your portfolio can be a great way to attract more clients. These types of photos can also showcase what you’re capable of as a photographer and also gives potential clients an idea of what they could expect if they hire you for their wedding day. Brides will especially appreciate your creativity and the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into these shoots for your clients.

Related Read: Tips To Curate Wedding Photography Portfolio & Get More Clients

2. Get To Know Your Client

Bridal sessions offer a great opportunity to get to know your brides and what they’re looking for in terms of photography. Going through the styling process with your client can help you understand what their ideal style is and what works best for them. It can also be a way to build trust with your clients, which is key in any photography session. Spending time with your client before the wedding day also helps them get to know you better and form a better relationship with you.

3. Get All The Must-Have Shots

infographic stating a bridal session allows you to get all the must-have shots in advance

Even with a wedding day timeline set in place, there can be unforeseen circumstances that can throw it off and cut into your bridal portraits session time. So, having done a majority of detail pictures and bridal photos before wedding day can save you a significant amount of time as it is already taken care of beforehand. This means that you don’t have to rush and can instead focus on capturing more creative or candid moments. Plus, even if the wedding day goes according to the plan, it means you get to take even more portraits of your bride. A win-win situation! 

4. Boost Profits

Adding bridal sessions to your wedding photography services can help you generate more revenue. And since bridal sessions are usually a little shorter than what you would typically cover on the wedding day, you can charge your clients accordingly. A bridal portrait session could add value to your wedding packages and make them more attractive to future brides. 

5. More Creative Freedom

infographic stating bridal sessions offer the freedom to experiment with poses, locations, backdrops, and lighting

Weddings are usually bound by location, time, etc., which is why bridal sessions are great for getting a larger variety of bridal portraits. Since the session is solely meant for the bride, it means that you get to focus your 100% energy on her. You get more time to experiment with lighting, poses, backdrops, and, if she’s agreed to it, even locations! We highly recommend having this discussion beforehand, so you don’t have to search for different spots on the day of the shoot. You could take photos by the water, on a mountain, in the desert, roam around the woods – you get the idea. If you have stunning locations at your disposal, you might as well try shooting there.

Further Read: 7 Techniques To Better Bridal Portraits

a black and white image of a bride opening the front door in her wedding dress
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography

Bridal photography is a wonderful addition to any wedding photographer’s services and portfolio. But the key to getting brides to go for it is in how you market these photo shoots. When you help your clients understand what is a bridal session, a lot depends on the story you tell and whether your brides are able to connect with it. Instead of being salesly, convey the emotional and practical reasons for opting for a bridal session. Even though it might add to your workload, bridal sessions are a fantastic way to impress your brides, get to know them better, prepare them for their wedding day photos, and offer them photos that look like they belong in a bridal magazine! Your brides will love you for it, and in return, you might expand your clientele, boost profits, as well as earn more 5-star testimonials and reviews.

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow your wedding photography business. A part of how we do that is by lessening your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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