Tips for a great bridal session

Anytime in Houston is always a good time to start thinking about getting with your wedding photographer and getting your Bridal session done (really, almost anytime in Houston is a good time!).  As a wedding photographer, one of the reason I enjoy doing a bridal session is that it allows me to have some one on one time with the bride and get to know her.  This helps her to be more relaxed with me during the wedding because we take time to get to know more about each other during this time.

I find out more about her personality and she discovers mine and we work better together later on.  As you prepare for your session, here are a few things to remember:

Poses and Positions

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Hermann park bridal session, bridal portraits, wedding dress, bridal pictures in Hermann park, Mecom fountain

Your photographer may have some ideas about poses or positions, but this is your session and it’s best if it shows ‘the real you”.  check out some of the Bridal or Wedding magazines for ideas on poses and go with what you like.  You don’t want a pose that doesn’t flatter you or one that when people see it, they don’t recognize you.

Above all, be yourself and allow your personality to show in the photos – if you are the conservative type, then you would probably not be comfortable with some of the “America’s Next Top Model” type poses, but, if you are the carefree type, traditional poses might be too boring.  It’s always best to get with your wedding photographer beforehand and discuss what you are looking for in the final portrait.

Location, Location, Location….

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Houston and the surrounding Metro area offer some great locations for shooting Bridal sessions.  Hermann Park, Mecom Fountain, Rice University, The Downtown Theatre District, Historic Richmond Rosenberg, Helen’s Garden in League City, and Oyster Creek Park in Sugar Land are just a few places that come to mind that are popular spots for shooting.  some brides are even allowed to use the location where their wedding or reception will be held and those can be some very scenic locations as well.

The Bridal should also be personal so think about a place that may have meaning for you – a neighborhood park or clubhouse, your college campus, etc. – any place that holds a special meaning to you.  Also, while you are preparing for your Bridal session, be prepared for a “Plan B”.  Sometimes, especially in Houston and the Gulf Coast, weather can change quickly.  It can be sunny in the morning and rainy by the afternoon.  During the winter months, it can be warm one day and cold by the afternoon.  If you are planning on an outdoor bridal session, see if the photographer has an indoor location for use as a backup.  Some Hotels, Model Homes, even the venue where your reception will be held.

Hair and makeup

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The Bridal session is also a good time to ‘practice” with your hair stylist and make up artist that you will use on your wedding day.  You can try out the hairstyle you want and get an idea of how it will look as well as your makeup for that day.  When it comes to makeup, sometimes, less is more; if you are not a heavy makeup wearer, then it shouldn’t show in the Bridal session, because it won’t look natural.

Time of the Shoot

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The best time to shoot is usually early morning or late afternoon for at least two reasons:  lighting and temperature.  During the early morning, the sunlight is not as harsh and gives a more pleasing look to your skin over hard, midday light.  Late afternoon also gives a warmer “glow” to the skin and is not as hard.  Both times are also good because it is not as hot and you won’t “glisten” (see sweat) as much and will be more comfortable during the shoot.

It’s also a good idea to have some bottled water or maybe eat light before the shoot.  Depending on the wedding photographer, most sessions last at least an hour and some last three to four hours depending on the number of locations and the style of the photographer.  another issue with time is how much time before the wedding the Bridal session should be done.  The session should be done at least 45-60 days before the wedding at the latest, but there are times when a session can be done two to three weeks before the wedding.  Have at least two or three dates in mind for your session, just in case something happens (weather, emergency, etc.).

Company during the shoot

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One of the recommendations I give some brides is to bring a friend or two or family member along to the session.  This sometimes allows the bride to be more relaxed as well as making the shoot more fun.  They can assist the bride with her dress, help retouch her hair or makeup, give her water as needed, etc.  Some photographers have their own assistants for this type of work, so check with your photographer first to make sure.
Proofing usually takes a few weeks and the photographer will contact you to allow you to view the proofs so you can make your choice of print.  for example, I store my images online and offer my brides a private, password protected gallery so they can view their images and make their choices.  Above all, have a good time, this is one of those once in a lifetime events and you want it to be something you can look back on as something you enjoyed.

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