There are a lot of elements to consider when it comes to taking amazing bridal portraits. A while back we outlined some details to help achieve your best photos (check them out here), and now we’re back with some tips for bridal portraits that were created specifically for photographers! Our friends at creativeLive have pulled together some expert advice that, when coupled with our piece for brides, will ensure the bridal portraits of your dreams!
Without further ado….
Tips for Taking the Best Bridal Portraits: Lighting and Location
Every bride wants to look like an ephemeral princess on her wedding day. Award-winning photographers, and instructors on creativeLIVE, Jasmine Star and Scott Robert Lim have a few simple suggestions for making the bride look her best on her big day:
“There are two main considerations when it comes to bridal portraits from a photographic perspective: light and location,” Jasmine says. “Natural light will always yield the prettiest results, so any time you can arrange to prepare in a room with lots of window light, it’ll definitely play to a photographer’s advantage.”
When evaluating a wedding venue, make sure to assess the lighting in the room in which the bride will be getting ready. Are there windows? Natural light throughout the day? Curtains you can pull back or close to manipulate how much light pours into the room? Both Scott and Jasmine agree that natural light will yield the prettiest pictures. “The more light you have in a room, the better.” Scott agrees, adding, “I always look for good light, I am constantly looking for good light. The way you can tell that a subject is in good light is if you see some beautiful light catch in their eyes.”
Scott suggests that photographers “sandwich” the subject in light — from the front and the back. “I put the bride in natural light, and then I have my assistant turn on the video light, which creates a rim light, or separates the subject from the background. It gives your images a pop, but it’s not that hard to do,” Scott explains. In lieu of a video light, Scott suggests photographing the bride in front of a window to create the “halo effect.” This is especially effective for dark-haired clients, Scott says, as the background light creates a “rim light” effect that makes the bride stand out from the backdrop.
Another idea is one that can often get lost in the chaos of the wedding day. “If a bride is preparing in a small hotel room, a great tip would be to ask her bridesmaids to pick up scattered items from the floor and make the best,” Jasmine says. “Simple changes in an environment’s cleanliness can make all the different in preparation photos.”
Scott also recommends involving the bridal party in getting-ready shots. “I try to create interaction,” Scott reveals. “Maybe I can get the Maid of Honor to help her put on her necklace, or hold a mirror, or get all the bridesmaids around her. I try to get them to interact, and I like to get them to do something together, to just have fun and laugh, and make the bride pretty as they prepare her.”
The one common denominator to great bridal portraits is light, Scott says. “Light is timeless. With technology nowadays, it’s not necessarily the intensity or quantity of light, but the quality of the light.” Scott recommends using a video light and a simple shoot-through umbrella. The video light “is great for detail shots, and adds that little pop to the photos,” Scott says. “It’s also very easy for rim light, and when you shine that video light through an umbrella (normally $20 or less), all you have to do is turn your ISO past 800, and you’ve got a beautiful shot.”
Jasmine Star and her husband JD are international wedding photographers, educators, and entrepreneurs based in Southern California. The husband and wife duo started their business in 2007 with little more than a bag of simple photo gear, but a lot of heart. Jasmine was voted Top 10 Wedding Photographer in the World, Top 5 Most Influential Photographers, and her work has graced the pages of the world’s leading wedding publications (Town&County, Inside Weddings, The Knot, Ceremony, Cosmopolitan Bride, Wedding Magazine, Destination I Do, Bride&Bloom, Exquisite Weddings) and featured in industry publications (American Photo, Photo Professional, Rangefinder, Professional Photographer, Resource) alike. They are teaching a free course on The Art of Being a Second Shooter August 6-7.
Scott Robert Lim:
Internationally acclaimed, master photographer, Scott Robert Lim, was awarded the prestigious 2009 WPPI Kodak Award and was inducted into WPPI’s Society of Excellence and has earned an Accolade of Outstanding Photographic Achievement by one of the world’s largest photographic societies.