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Bride Photography Tips

Capturing detail in the gown is important, but it shouldn’t override the person wearing it. With this in mind, approach the bridal formals by doing a number of poses, including a full-length shot, a medium shot with and without bouquet, and a head and shoulders shot with the veil.

When doing a full-length shot, pick up the train of the gown slightly and let it fall naturally. Don’t cut the gown off at the bottom of the image – let it be a curving design element. Also, don’t fuss with the gown other than giving it a delicate flow; too many times gowns are made to look like elaborate braids that twist and snarl around a bride’s feet.

The bouquet is an excellent prop for bridal formals. It should be held slightly above the waist in a natural, graceful way. Remember to have flowing lines in both the body and the dress and to have the arms bent in such a way that no hard angles or horizontal lines intrude on the grace of the picture. If the hands are showing, “break” the wrist for a flowing look. Also, don’t have the bride standing flat-footed, facing the camera squarely. Instead have her bend her body naturally, shifting her weight to one or the other leg.

Avoid the “passport” look and watch for a diamond design created by head, body and arms. If you use the bouquet in a medium distance or close-up shot, put it in focus if the bride is looking at it. Let it go slightly soft if it’s just being used as a design element or splash of color in the lower part of the frame.

One of the chief sources for an unacceptable bridal portrait is the burnt-out look created by the gown reflecting too much light in comparison with the rest of the tones in the picture. This may cause under-lighting on the subject’s face, but in order to get good skin tones in printing, the detail in the dress is lost. Be very careful with your lighting ratios.

One way to avoid the problem is to keep the main source of light away from the bride’s gown. Have the woman turn to the side and have her head turn in toward the light source.

If you’re using artificial light, feather the light across the subject rather than have it blast directly on to the gown.

Most bridal formals benefit from the use of a light vignetter or diffuser on the lens. The veil at the top of the frame and the gown or bouquet at the bottom serve as beautiful borders. Slight diffusion might also be desirable, depending on the light source and the subject. Natural light through diffusing curtains can create an excellent light in which to shoot bridals, although you should be careful of too strong a light source.

If the scene seems to have too much contrast, move the bride further away from the window, thus decreasing the intensity of light striking the gown.