3 Ways to Slay Bridal Party Photos
Oh, those dreaded words: bridal party. Most photographers don’t like this portion of the wedding day, and rightfully so. What do you do with so many people?! It’s hard enough posing one or two people, but when you have a bridal party sized at anywhere from four to sixteen (or more), stuff gets awkward fast. I’m here to share a little bit about how I keep it snappy, get people having fun, and make bridal party pictures one of my favorite parts of the day!
Efficiency is my favorite. Nobody likes bridal party pictures that drag on for an hour! One thing I’ve learned is that attention spans don’t last for long on a wedding day! I start pictures with the easiest of lineups: ladies on one side and gentlemen on the other. This is a super easy pose for everyone to envision and it’s an awesome warm up! Right after I feel comfortable with the shots I’ve gotten of that first lineup, I tell the party to go every other (guy, girl, guy, girl). This never fails to SLAY, because what could be better than the contrast of the dresses and suits? Hint: nothing. I generally do one formal shot (eyes on me, smiles), and then I tell the bride and groom to kiss and have everyone show me just how excited they are that their besties are MARRIED! Cue tons of enthusiasm from me, ‘cause if you’re excited, they’ll be excited! This usually brings on a reaction of cheers and bouquets being thrown in the air; aka NOT a boring shot!
Tip: Always make sure the bride and groom are centered. It looks much more balanced and pleasing to the eye. Also, to avoid awkward hands/arms, have the men stick their hands in their pockets and have the ladies hold their bouquets with both hands.
Again, attention spans are at basically zero throughout a wedding day, so you have to make this portion FUN for anyone to cooperate! I view this as a time to joke around, be funny, be crazy, and basically be a dork. It’s your job to not only capture formal shots of the bridal party, but also to capture their personalities. The bride and groom are going to look back on these and say, “DANG, our photographer really captured my sister’s laugh!” If you’re just quietly saying, “Um… maybe move over there and smile for me,” you’re going to get the reaction you’re prompting: a bridesmaid feeling awkward and “cheesing”.
Tip: Calm confidence is key. Be fun and be excited, but don’t be fake or nervously crazy. When I’m directing a bridal party, I’m making sure I get them excited while also making sure that I don’t go overboard and get people unnecessarily riled. It’s a balance. Learn it, and you’re golden!
Details, details, details. 9/10 times, brides have been planning this day for months. The bridal party is the bride and groom’s group of siblings, best friends, and sometimes even parents! They mean something to the bride and groom and, likewise, they should mean the same to you. Just like every other aspect of a wedding day, I take time to capture the details from the bridal party! Flowers, dresses, shoes, socks, ties, suspenders, color schemes, EVERYTHING has been planned and is special!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask the bride and groom what details they specifically planned and want captured. I’ve known brides who’ve bought special socks for all the groomsmen or really loved their bridesmaids’ dresses and haven’t gotten that specific shot from the day because the photographer just didn’t know. An informed photographer is a powerful one!
Other favorite poses: Selfie shot – tell everyone to bunch up like they’re going to take a selfie and tell the bride and groom to kiss. It’s easily one of my favorite things because it makes the bridal party really look like a family. Walking – when in doubt, walk it out! This is the best way to capture movement in the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Aurora Peterson is a Minneapolis, Minnesota photographer, who’s been shooting weddings since she was 15. Now, at 17, Aurora leads worship at her church, and runs a successful business based on her love for people, and by the grace of God, she says. Oh, and she’s going to the Delight October Retreat! Connect with her on Instagram, in our Photography group, or in Nashville!
September 9, 2016
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