Bridal Shoots: The Basics


You’ve got the dress, your photographer, and your venue. The days are dropping lower and lower on your countdown - you’re so close to the big day!

But before the ceremony, rehearsal dinner or the “I do’s” can take place you need to do a hair and makeup trial, final dress fitting and feel like a glamorous Victoria’s Secret model because it’s time for your Bridal Shoot!!!!

What is a bridal shoot? You may be asking yourself. And more importantly - Why do I need to do one?! And Lastly “What the heck do I bring to it?!”

Well, we’re going to answer all 3 questions today to make sure you have a smooth and fun bridal shoot while feeling like Angelina Jolie on the Red Carpet

What is a Bridal Shoot?

A bridal shoot is a Southern Bridal tradition. It’s an opportunity for your photographer to get more detailed photos of you in your wedding day attire. While you will get individual shots on the day of the wedding, more and more brides are leaning towards having a specific date and time, separate from their actual wedding day, to have a portrait session with their photographer.

Why do I need to have a Bridal Shoot?

No one “needs” to have a bridal shoot, just like no one “needs” a spray tan - but having one definitely makes you feel hella confident. And to be honest, the pro’s certainly outweigh the cons.

For instance, doing a bridal shoot allows you the opportunity to see what your hair and makeup will look like with your dress on the big day. If anything goes wrong, (i.e. your veil continues to fall off your head) you can know ahead of time and prepare your hairdresser for the big day.

In my experience, I knew from my bridal shoot I would need to have better hair extensions to keep my hair curled. After my bridal shoot, I purchased a new set of extensions and sent them to my hairdresser to work with before the big day - it definitely saved us time (and lots of hairspray!) when we got ready later that month on the actual wedding day!

A bridal shoot also allows you and your photographer more time to get more comfortable with each other. Your photographer wants to know and see how you move and how comfortable you are in front of the camera. On your wedding day, everything will be running on a strict timeline, so allowing your photographer and you to have a more flexible time together on a different day will ensure that you are getting the best shots in your wedding ensemble.

You’ll also get bonus points if you schedule your bridal shoot at your venue, around the same time your ceremony will be starting, as it allows the photographer to know what kind of lighting they will be working with and the best places to pose your family members, bridal party and guests. Nothing makes a photographer more elated than a prepared bride!

Lastly, having a canvas print from your bridal shoot is a beautiful keepsake and focal point that you can use on the wedding day. Many brides (including myself!) place their portrait near the reception entrance for guests to admire.

What do I bring to a Bridal Shoot?

Besides the basics (aka you, your dress, and your photographer) here is a quick list of the top 5 things you cannot forget when you do your bridal shoot.

  • Mock up of your bouquet

    • You can ask your florist for a mockup of your bridal bouquet to use during your bridal shoot. It’s an excellent opportunity to ensure that your florals are exactly how you want for the big day!

  • Extra makeup for touch ups

    • Just as you will bring extra concealer and bronzer for the wedding, make sure to bring them to your bridal session. You’ll be able to test out how long your “24 hour long lasting” lipstick actually stays on.

  • Props (a sign with your names, initials, your dogs, food etc.)

    • Besides your bouquet, having different, personal items for your bridal shoot enhances the experience for you and the photographer. Many brides who feel uncomfortable in front of a camera bring in things that will ease their nerves. Below are a few of my personal favorites from past bridal shoots!

  • Inspiration photos for your photographer to understand your desired photos

    • While you should have this sent over to your photographer weeks before the actual bridal session, having them on hand is also a fantastic idea. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to place your hands or pose, you can utilize the inspo photos to help figure out your placement in photos.

  • A friend to cheer you on

    • The peanut butter to your jelly, the rock to your roll - whoever it is, bring along a gal pal who is dedicated to making you feel fierce and fine. Being in front of a camera is sometimes kind of awkward, you don’t know what to do with your hands (Ricky Bobby anyone?), being serious doesn’t feel like your style etc… but having a hype gal with you telling you how beautiful you look makes the experience so much better. Examples of compliments your hype girl can tell you are:

      • “Are you a parking ticket? Because you have ‘Fine’ written all over you.”

      • “If it weren’t for _(groom’s name)__ I’d marry you myself!”

      • “Somebody wife that girl up - oh wait, (Insert groom’s name) already is!”

      • “Is your dad a boxer? Because you’re a knockout!”

      • “You are going to break the internet like Kim K, you’re looking so good!”

For more wedding answers, tips, how-to’s and more, check out the rest of our blog for weekly inspiration!