Let’s start at the very beginning…what is a Bridal Session? We’ll start there because there are so many couples out there who have never heard of these types of sessions! When speaking with Clients during their consults, I always assumed everyone knew about bridal sessions, mostly because they are a very popular tradition in the South. But since being a Wedding Photographer for so many years, I have photographed countless weddings for couples who were not local, either of out state and some even from out of the country. So I learned quick bridal sessions are not well know everywhere. So let’s answer just that:

“What is a bridal session, and why should I schedule one?”

Bridal Sessions are typically done one to two months prior to the Wedding. Scheduling the Bridal Shoot the same day the Bride does her trial hair and makeup for the Wedding is a great idea and we encourage that.
A bridal portrait session is historically a Southern tradition that actually began in Europe before cameras were even invented. Bridal portraits were originally oil paintings done for royalty and wealthy families, and were a way for the bride’s family to remember the special day. These were often framed and prominently displayed in the home for family and future generations to see.

Today bridal portraits are more commonly done then they were in the past, but still seem to be more of a prominent tradition in the south.  The bride schedules their bridal portrait session a couple months in advance of her wedding and she is photographed dressed in her wedding dress and other accessories she plans to wear for her wedding day. She might also have her hair and makeup done by the same person she is planning on using for her wedding day (which is something we strongly suggest, and will explain later why). The resulting bridal photos are kept secret before the wedding, and typically the favorite shot is enlarged in a beautiful frame and displayed at the wedding reception.

Okay, so that’s WHAT a Bridal Session is. Now, here is the WHY. Why should I schedule a Bridal Portrait Session?

Deciding whether or not you want to have your “bridals” done (as we call it in the wedding industry) is purely up to each bride! While I LOVE to shoot them because they allow for a lot of creativity and beautiful shots, the decision is based on the bride’s preference. Below are some of the reasons brides choose to have a bridal portrait session and why they can be really beneficial.

• Take stunning, stress-free, once in a lifetime, portraits – You’ll still have photos taken of just you on your wedding day, but bridal portrait sessions is a chance to get extra amazing, extra special photos of yourself in your amazing wedding gown without being worried about your wedding day timeline. You can get portraits of you in locations that you wouldn’t have time for on your wedding day. Bridals are also just between the bride, the photographer, and a couple of your friends or maybe your mom. So you will be more at ease and less self-conscious… allowing for you to look like you were straight out of a bridal magazine. Also, you’re going to spend so much time planning out your wedding day “look.” Why not dedicate 1-2 hours for your bridal portraits so you can really capture every little detail. As an added bonus, they are so much fun and are my absolute favorite session to shoot.

•You get to see how your whole look actually looks in photos. – One of the best parts about a bridal session is that you have the opportunity to see your entire wardrobe, accessories, and hair and makeup all put together before the actual wedding day. And you get to see how it looks in professional photographs. That allows you the chance to determine if you want to make any changes before your wedding day. That is why I always suggest using the people who will be doing your hair and makeup on your wedding day for your bridal portraits as well. For example, maybe the shade of lipstick you chose doesn’t show up on camera. Maybe your typical spray tan just seemed a little dark in your bridal portraits so you will instead go a shade lighter for your wedding day. Your wedding portraits are something you will and cherish have for the rest of your life…let’s make sure they are perfect!

•Bridal portraits will give you that extra “practice” – Just like your engagement session, your bridal session will give you some extra time in front of the camera and more time with your photographer. more one-on-one time with your photographer. It doesn’t seem like much, but practicing posing will help you be more comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day.

Okay, hopefully that all helped! When it comes down to it, bridal portraits are just another way to capture memories of an absolutely beautiful season of life, so have fun and enjoy yourself!



Leslie with Southern Tide Photography is one of the premiere Charleston wedding photographers, and now one of the most buzzed about wedding photographers in Atlanta, GA! Southern Tide Photography specializes in stunning, romantic, cheerful and joyful images for your special day! If you are looking for a wedding photographer in South Carolina or Georgia, or someone to capture your bridal session, we would love to hear from you! You can contact us here for more information.