How to look amazing in your bridal portraits

March 02, 2018  •  8 Comments

Your wedding is just a few months away, and it's time to prepare for your bridal session!  What's a bridal session?  It's a photoshoot we do prior to the wedding day with the goal of having a featured portrait for your wedding reception.  It's a Texas thing for sure!  The wedding day can be very hectic and sometimes there isn't enough time to slow down and create a really beautiful portrait of the bride, so scheduling a photoshoot prior to the wedding day can ensure you get to preserve your bridal moment without the stress.  

McNay BrideHow to look amazing in your bridal portraitTess Osborn, a San Antonio Bride at the McNay Art Museum

Bridal Session Preparation

After you have found your dress, be sure to order it and have all alterations and fittings complete at least six weeks prior to the wedding.  This way you can schedule your bridal session at least a month prior to the wedding.  Some brides find that after wearing their dress during the hour-long session, they find details they would like to tweak before the wedding day. 

Eilan brideBridal PerfectionYour dress may inspire the bridal shoot location.

The bridal session becomes a dress rehearsal, allowing you to perfect your wedding day look.  Also, your wedding gown may inspire the location for your bridal portraits.  If you're wearing an elegant ball gown you may opt for an indoor ballroom location, or if you're wearing a long train, you may want an outdoor open area to allow you to feature that elegant lace.  You may be a cowgirl boot wearing bride that belongs on a Texas ranch location.  You'll know when you've got the dress!

Southwest School of Art BrideBallroom BrideElegant bride, Angelica Melendez at Southwest School of Art.


Work with a Hair and Makeup Pro!

I don't require that my brides hire a hair and makeup artist, but the photoshoot goes so much more smoothly when they do!  Local hair and makeup pros have the expertise to create a bridal look that will last in the Texas heat.  A majority of our bridal shoots happen in the spring, and even then it can be humid and hot, so it's important to have photo-ready makeup that will withstand an hour-long photoshoot.  Here are some of our recommended makeup pros!

Bridal makeupWork with a makeup pro!Makeup artist Rebekah Navarette created a flawless wedding day look that lasted all night for Marissa's outdoor Texas Wedding.

Rebekah Navarette featured above!

Bren Betico at Indulgences Hair Salon

Mistique Makeup

Madame Makeup & Hair

Vanity Eiland


Avoid a wardrobe malfunction!

The wedding date and the bridal shoot can sneak up on you during your whirlwind engagement.  Make sure to try on your dress, including undergarments and accessories to make sure all necessary adjustments are made with enough time for your seamstress.  Try on your bridal shoes and your veil.  Practice bustling and unbustling your dress and time it!  It's very helpful to know how much time it takes to achieve your wedding day look not only for your portrait session but also for the wedding day.  Wedding dress tip: if you have several buttons going down the back of your dress, bring a crochet hook to help with grabbing those fasteners.  Works great for the bustle buttons, too!

Bridal preparationBride Getting ReadyBe sure to try on your dress prior to the wedding day to avoid a bridal wardrobe malfunction!


Take care of yourself

Throughout your engagement be sure to take care of yourself.  Wedding planning can be stressful, but be sure to take time for exercise, eating healthy nutritious foods, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep.  You want your portraits to feature your glowing face, gorgeous skin, and healthy smile.  Also, I would advise against a night out at the bar the day before your bridal shoot.  Do have that fun night a little more in advance, but then give yourself a day at the spa instead.  Treat yourself!

Bridal portraitGlowing BrideShow your best glowy features in your bridal portraits by taking care of yourself throughout your engagement.


Don't forget the details

For the complete bridal look be sure to bring all the accessories you plan to wear on your wedding day to the bridal portrait shoot.  Bring your wedding ceremony shoes, but also bring a pair of easy slip-on shoes to walk around in as we move from location to location.  Make sure to bring your hair accessories, and the jewelry you plan to wear.  We want to capture all those gorgeous details!  Also, bring a bouquet.  Even if it's not the exact bouquet you will have on the wedding day, it's important to have an accessory for posing with your hands.  Many florists offer a smaller version of your wedding bouquet just for the bridal photoshoot.  HEB blooms can also create an all-white bouquet that will not distract from the bride.  

bridal accessoriesBridal DetailsDon't forget your accessories! Bring everything you intend to wear on your wedding day to your bridal shoot. Multicolor bouquetBridal BouquetFresh Fall bouquet by HEB Blooms.

Fresh white bridal bouquetDon't forget the bouquet!An all white bouquet is perfect for your bridal photos!


Good light and Posing

This last tip is my main responsibility!  Throughout the photoshoot I am finding the best light, putting you in it and positioning you to show your best self!  This is my jam, and my brides know it when I start cheering and jumping up and down during a photoshoot.  They know I'm getting gorgeous images, and it's all because my bride came prepared for the photoshoot of her life! 

Side lit bridal portraitsElegant BrideBeautiful portraits are all about great lighting and posing. Trust me to put you in the best light and provide expert direction for the best bridal poses.

Happy BrideBeautiful BrideHappy bride at Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas.

I hope these tips will help you to prepare for your bridal photoshoot.  To see some of our favorite portrait locations, follow me on Pinterest!

See more of our bridal portraits on YouTube!



Danyel Stapleton(non-registered)
What fantastic tips on preparing for bridal portraits in San Antonio. Wedding planning tips are the best!
Parker Radbourne(non-registered)
This is great advice about bridal portrait sessions! They really are the best "test run" prior to the wedding day that you could have, and it really helps you bond with your photographer! Wedding days are smoother and easier for both the bride and the photographer!
Amy Thompson(non-registered)
What great tips for bridal portraits! I have never shot bridal portraits here in California but they really seem like a great idea after reading this. Aria Productions really know their stuff!
Wonderful tips for getting the best bridal portraits! Such a great idea to test out the look before your wedding day!
Cathie Berrey Green(non-registered)
What great advice for the best bridal portraits. I love this southern tradition of brides taking pre wedding portraits and getting to practice their wedding day look. Bridal portraits with hair and makeup can really help determine what look who want for the Big day! Great post Aria Productions!
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