For Brides: 5 Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits | NC Wedding Photographer

This post is part of a series for brides (and grooms!) or for those who are helping someone plan a wedding. My goal for this series is to help you make informed and educated decisions about your wedding day so that it will be as beautiful as possible! If you're joining me for the first time, you can catch up here:

1. Should I Do an Engagement Session?
2. What Should I Wear for My Engagement Session?
3. Should I Do Bridal Portraits?

4. Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline

5. How to Get Great Getting Ready Pictures
6. 6 Things Every Bride Should Get Ready for Her Photographer
7. Should We Do a First Look?
8. Five Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits

5 Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits

Bride and groom portraits are one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I absolutely love taking these pictures and I think they're extremely important. In fact, as I mentioned in my last post, 90% of the pictures displayed in my homes and bride and groom portraits of me and Alex. So how do you get great "Bride and Groom" portraits? Here's 5 steps:

1. Consider location
Think through the location where you plan to take your bride and groom portraits. Most of my couples opt to have their pictures taken at or around their ceremony and/or reception location and that's great! Just make sure that the location you choose has the "look" that you want. For example, if you're getting married downtown Raleigh but you want to stop in a field on the way to downtown to take your bride and groom portraits, your portraits probably aren't going to match the overall aesthetic of your wedding day. Also, try and find a location that has some versatility with multiple locations or options for getting portraits. Trust your photographer as well and ask them for advice and lean on them to find good light and spots at your location choice once you arrive.

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

2. Think about the time of day
Consider the time of day and the light when you plan the time of your ceremony and reception. For example: if you plan to do a "first look" at noon and take your portraits at 12:30 so you can make it on time to 2 o'clock reception make sure you realize that is the worst possible lighting of the day. The later in the afternoon or evening (or early in the morning) that you can take your pictures the better! The time of day should also play into your location choice. If you plan to take your pictures at noon, make sure you'll be somewhere that has plenty of shade or diffused light (i.e. light shining through trees or other objects that help "diffuse" its harshness). In addition, depending on the time of your wedding, consider allowing your photographer to steal you away for an additional 15 minutes of portrait time during the "golden hour" (the hour before the sun sets). I always ask my couples if they're willing to do this because I know they'll be so happy they did when they look back on their beautiful sunset pictures!!

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

3. Leave plenty of time
I can't stress this enough. Leave plenty of time for bride and groom portraits. These really are some of the most important pictures you'll be taking all day! I always ask for at least 30 minutes with just the couple and ideally I like 45 (30 minutes before ceremony if doing a "first look" and 15 minutes during sunset).

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

4. Consider doing a first look
I've already written a whole blog post on this topic and so I won't spend much time here. I encourage you to consider doing a first look because otherwise, it's very difficult to get 30-45 minutes for bride and groom portraits between the ceremony and the reception. Typically the photographer has an hour between the ceremony and reception and bridal party pictures and family pictures usually take at least 45 minutes which leaves 15 minutes or less for the photographer with the couple. If you aren't planning to do a "first look" I highly encourage you to allow your photographer to pull you away for an additional 15 minutes of portrait time during your reception.

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

5. Interact with one another
You should trust your photographer and allow him/her to pose you. However, I always encourage my couples to interact with one another while I pose them! I want them to consider my poses more as "suggestions." My hope is that posing my clients will lead to them interacting naturally. Remember as your photographer is taking pictures that it's one of the happiest days of your life and try and allow your natural emotions to flow out of you and pretend like your photographer isn't even there (I know, easier said than done)!

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

If you found this post helpful or interesting please share it and/or leave your thoughts or feedback in the comments section below! Check back next Wednesday and I'll be sharing my next post in the "For Brides" series on how to get beautiful ceremony pictures!