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Photographing the Bride's Attire

Today's post comes from the book 100 Techniques for Professional Wedding Photographers by Bill Hurter. This book is available from Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

The Wedding Dress.
In most cases, the bride will spend more money on her wedding dress and more time on her appearance than for any other occasion in her entire life. The photographs you make will be a permanent record of how beautiful she looked on her wedding day. Formal wedding dresses often include flowing trains. It is important to get several full-length portraits of the full train, draped out in front in a circular fashion or flowing behind. Include all of the train, as these may be the only photographs of her full wedding gown. If making a formal group portrait, this might also be an appropriate time to reveal the full train pulled to the front. To make the train look natural, pick it up and let it gently fall to the ground. Do not ignore the back of the dress. Designers often incorporate as much style and elegance into the back of the dress as the front. Be sure to capture nice images of the bridesmaids’ gowns as well.

To show off the full dress and train, the photographer might pose a bride on a window sill so that the full line of the dresscan be appreciated.

The Bouquet.
Make sure a large bouquet does not overpower your composition, particularly in your formal portrait of the bride. The bride should look comfortable holding the bouquet, and it should be an important and colorful element in the composition. For best effect, the bride should hold the bouquet in front of her with her hands behind it. It should be held high enough to put a slight bend in her elbows, keeping her arms slightly separated from her body.

This is both a formal portrait of the bride and groom and a beautiful rendering of the bouquet. The couple’s shapes form a perfect triangle, which yields a very pleasing composition.

The Veil.
Make sure to get some close-ups of the bride through her veil. It acts like a diffuser and produces romantic, beautiful results. For this shot, the lighting should be from the side rather than head-on to avoid shadows on the bride’s face caused by the patterned mesh. Many photographers use the veil as a compositional element in their portraits. To do this, lightly stretch the veil so that the corners slant down toward the lower corners of the portrait, forming a loose triangle that leads the viewer’s eyes up to the bride’s eyes.

*Excerpted from the book "100 Techniques for Professional Wedding Photographers" by Bill Hurter.


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