Bridal portraits are quite possibly one of my favorite aspects of wedding photography. When I first started shooting weddings, I was most interested in pure photojournalism. I wanted to be a fly on the wall, capturing organic moments as they unfolded naturally. But as time went on and I began to study more about posing and lighting and wedding photographers I admired, I fell in love with portraiture. As someone who struggles a bit with social awkwardness, walking into a hotel room bustling with activity and bridemaids, makeup artists and hair stylists and nervous energy everywhere, I take a few moments to photograph details first. It helps me focus, keeps my empath brain from absorbing nervous energy while I concentrate on making art amidst the chaos. I then grab candids of the girls getting ready, getting to know everyone that I will be spending the day with. Finding the girl who’s going to be my go-to if I need help, quickly figuring out which are the most important or longest relationships to focus on throughout the day. Once the bride is dressed and ready to go, is my absolute favorite time to quiet the chaos, focus the room, and take a precious few minutes for bridal portraits.
Portraits are a totally different experience than any other time of the day. For brides who didn’t have an engagement shoot, this is the first step of a new relationship between the two of us. This is the first time I’ve asked them to sit or stand in a specific pose where the light is prettiest, and ask them to look into my lens and just relate to me. There is a wonderfully beautiful mix of excitement, nerves and pride. These are most likely the most beautiful photos a young woman has of herself, in the last few moments before she enters an entirely new journey in life. I like to start with the bride sitting near a window, preferably one I can climb into to shoot down in an angle that is flattering to everyone. I turn off all the lights in the room to use natural light for my bridal portraits, and with my Nikon 85mm 1.4, shoot with a large aperture between 1.4 and 2.8, which will blur the background if the room is messy. This is my chance to show the brides jewelry, to play with their veil, to photograph their rings and flowers, to have our moment where I get to know her through my lens before the rest of her life begins.
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