Come Shoot With Me: Watch Me Photograph Bridal Portraits

Learning to photograph the bride on a wedding day is an important part of being a photographer. Sometimes you don’t get lots of time for portraits, so you have to work with what you have to make sure you capture the timeless, breathtaking images that the bride deserves.  

I know it can be overwhelming to feel rushed or like you’re not going to be able to get in all of the shots you’re hoping for. How do you get those beautiful, photojournalistic portraits throughout the wedding day? I’m breaking this down along with my exact camera settings, lens choices, and more in this post!

This is one of my favorite portrait series of a bride that I’ve ever taken. I loved it for a couple of reasons.

1. For this wedding, they had a Rolls-Royce rented and brought in. I knew I wanted to get bridal portraits at this specific location. Even though it was kind of a hectic wedding day and we had to use a longer lens, the entire setup was gorgeous and I was still able to capture some beautiful shots.

2. Furthermore, it was pretty bright outside. An early afternoon in May meant direct sunlight. I was shooting at ISO 200 F/2.2 and 1/2000 of a second shutter speed. I used an 85mm lens. I love the series of portraits that I got. For the lens on my other camera, I shot on the 24-70 so you could see a wider portrait at 24mm. My settings for this were a little bit different at ISO 125 F/3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/320.

Below are my top 2 tips when it comes to shooting bridal portraits and how you can achieve the journalistic and natural, unposed moments. 

Tip #1: Wait and Be Ready

First, you always want to wait and be ready. For instance, my bride was not in a mindset of taking portraits, where she was looking at me for direction or feeling like she needed to pose. She was really just hanging out, watching her guests arrive, seeing people she knew. Because of that, I knew I couldn’t be actively posing her. I needed to step back, have my settings dialed in, and be ready. 

I also anticipated those moments she was going to see someone, laugh, brush back her hair, touch the steering wheel, and other things like that. Those are the moments that are going to be really beautiful to photograph but hard to tell your client to actually do. It’s better to wait, and let them happen organically. 

Tip #2: Use A Longer Lens

Next thing you’re going to want to do is use a longer lens if you can. It is important so you aren’t right in your client’s face as much. Not to mention, they can kind of forget that you’re there. You’re waiting with your settings ready and able to be 10 or 20 feet back while still getting a somewhat intimate portrait. Just like with the 85mm I had, the bride didn’t feel like I was right there or she had to be perfect. She could really just authentically react and be in the moment.

Additionally, this is really cool for your clients because on their wedding day, they can be present and excited. They can feel like the camera is not right there but get back their gallery with these beautiful moments as if you were right there. One of the best things your clients can say about you is that you got moments they didn’t even realize you were there to get.

I’ve really enjoyed hearing from you during this “Come Shoot With Me” series. Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see the first few videos, you can check them out here: Bride & Groom Portraits, A Wedding Ceremony Without Flash, and A Wedding Reception. I can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts and how these tips will help you get beautiful bridal portraits. 

Let me know in the comments below wheat some of your biggest takeaways were!

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