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Hey photographers! Do you ever find yourself panicking when it’s time to shoot the bridal party portraits? You’ve got a dozen or more people with their eyes on you expecting you to be amazing. This is the moment where you can wow them and possibly pick up more bookings, or you can disappoint or even frustrate them and give them a bad impression! Maybe you’re not the best in front of people, or maybe you have a more quiet personality, or maybe you just don’t have a system! I want to help!
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the bridal party portraits more efficient and enjoyable for the bridal party. But I’ve also had a lot of help! The biggest influence on the way I photograph my bridal parties is Katelyn James! She has a fabulous mini guide on photographing bridal parties that is well worth the price! Check it out and also look at some of her other mini guides while you’re at it! Bridal party portraits do not have to make you nervous, and today I’m sharing 3 simple tips to make the bridal party portraits go well every time! These tips can be applied to full bridal parties as well as the bridesmaids and the groomsmen photos.
Make sure you know where you will photograph the bridal party! Don’t take them outside and look for the best spot while they’re all following you. And try to avoid making them move locations! Because bridal parties can be large, you don’t need to waste time having them move spots. Find the best spot and stick with it! Look for even lighting across a large space. Open shade is great, but make sure it’s a large enough area so that you don’t have some faces in the sun! Be sure to keep the time of day in mind when looking for locations. Some places may look different when you are location scouting compared to when you will be shooting, so pick a spot that will have even lighting when you want to shoot!
You want to have a few “go to” shots that you do at every wedding. This ensures that you know your system and you know how to get what you want! Try to arrange the shots in an order that makes sense. Don’t go from an alternating shot with guys and girls, to a shot with girls on one side and guys on the next, and then back to an alternating shot. Start with the simplest formation and work on moving people where you want them to go from there! Roll through the poses quickly so they don’t get antsy. After you’ve gotten all of your key shots, THEN you can ask the group if there are any shots that they wanted to do. This is for the guys especially! Often they have some pretty silly ideas and LOVE to have their opinions heard. Getting the shots done quickly and efficiently will boost your image so much in the eyes of the bridal party! They don’t want to take photos all day!
This is a big one! You’ve probably heard me say it before, but one of the best ways to impress your clients and their friends and family is to be confident in your work and sound like a professional! Give concise, clear instructions in a positive way, and avoid using words like “um” and “maybe.” Katelyn James likes to tell her students to “gently command authority.” Be positive, uplifting, and confident. Also, if something looks out of place, don’t show it! Don’t say things like “oh no!” or “that doesn’t look right,” or “I did something wrong, hold on.” Just snap the shot and then make the adjustments you need while remaining confident and professional. It’s like a performance! My piano teacher would always tell her students to “fake it till you make it.” If you make a mistake, fix it, but keep your demeanor positive!