Genovese Ashford Studios Tips for Getting the Most From Your Bridal Portrait Session
Our goal at Genovese Ashford Studios is to provide our clients with the best bridal portraits possible, regardless of the situation. With each session we bring every ounce of creativity, knowledge, effort, and professional equipment that we have in our possession. However, as in any collaboration, there are things that clients can do and choices that they can make that will greatly increase the odds of a successful shoot.
Likely nothing will have a greater impact on your shoot. While it may seem that the weather is a variable completely out of your control, and it essentially is, your preparedness for the weather will have a direct impact on your shoot. Unfortunately no weather forecast is completely accurate and we must work with percentages and likelihoods, but just by regularly checking the forecast in the days before your shoot you can bypass or make plans according to what is likely to happen on the day of your shoot. Rain is the most likely weather phenomenon here in the south to cause you headaches for your bridal session. In the days before your session should the likelihood of rain become a greater possibly than 25% – 30% then it is probably a good idea to start making preparations. For locations that are completely outdoors, the possibility of rescheduling is the most likely outcome. If clients are making appointments that will need to be rescheduled for their shoot, or even just making arrangements to take off from work, looking at the forecast days ahead can mean the difference between losing money or not. We try to remain flexible for our clients because of the unpredictability of the weather, so we are usually open to making decisions even on the day of the shoot itself. However, your appointment and work may not feel the same way. In situations like this, any time the chance of rain gets high it is a good idea to start making arrangements for a reschedule. However, in some cases clients may find themselves in a position where this may not be possible. In this scenario moving your shoot to a location that has an indoor option is the best guarantee that there will not be a reschedule should the weather turn ugly. Keep in mind also that when it comes to bridal portraits, it’s not just whether or not it will be raining during your shoot but also if it will have rained earlier in the day as well. Once the ground gets soaked from a good rain, even if it is not raining by the time your shoot begins there are a number of ways that this could still negatively impact your photographs. Having you stand on wet ground, particularly when on dirt, gravel, and grass is certainly problematic for white wedding dresses and nice shoes. Also, particularly when warm or hot outside, the humidity will have a direct impact on things like hair, makeup, and how comfortable you are during your shoot. Our best advise is to closely follow the forecast before your shoot and plan accordingly.
Much like weather the temperature can directly affect your shoot, and by paying attention to the forecast beforehand clients can make decisions that can offset how much impact the temperature will have for their shoot. Summer heat here in the south is stifling. So much so that we advise all of our clients to avoid the summer when it comes time to schedule their portraits. However, in certain cases this may or may not be possible. Should you find yourself planning bridal portraits for the middle of the summer, our best suggestion is to choose a location that is indoors with air conditioning. No amount of photoshop will make a subject who is hot, actively sweating, and having hair and makeup being negatively affected look like they would on a nice Spring or Fall day with cooler temps. Outdoor portraits can still be achieved in some situations, but usually that is done by having access to air conditioning at the location of the portraits. We can perform the outdoor portion of a shoot in 10 – 15 minute sessions, where in between clients retreat indoors to cool off. If that sounds like more work than you bargained for then our best advise is to choose a time of year for your shoot that will have ideal temperatures, or to shoot in a location that is completely indoors to bypass the temperature and weather altogether.
The location of your bridal portraits will have almost as much impact as the subject itself. The location will affect the feel and theme of your shoot, it will affect your ability to deal with variables like the weather and temperature, it will affect how much time you’ll need for your shoot on the day of, and it will affect how easily you are able to get ready for the shoot. We have many, many locations that we shoot at regularly and are happy to help advise all of our clients when it comes to choosing a location. However, we also want to shoot in locations that our clients envision their shoot at, and in some cases our clients may have a suggestion for us as well. Do keep in mind however that not all locations are created equal, and in some situations some locations may actually be much less than ideal. Discussing your ideas with us will help us to guide you through the process of deciding on a location. You’ll want to consider things like how much variety of scenery the location has, how much shade (or lack thereof) the location has, if there are distracting or less than ideal objects or backgrounds in certain portions of the location, how close or far away the location is from where you’ll be that day, and how accommodating the location will be for you to get ready at before the shoot begins. Keep in mind that when we advise about the challenges a certain location may provide, this will greatly impact the outcome of your portraits. When the conditions are less than ideal, it may be more than just a challenge for us…. it may directly impact the quality of the photographs that we’re able to produce for you.
Time of Day
The quality of the lighting for your shoot greatly affects the quality of the images that we are able to produce for you. And nothing has a greater impact on the quality of the lighting for your shoot than the time of day that it happens at. When shooting outdoors, there is simply no better time to be shooting than as close to sunset as possible. As the sun gets closer and closer to the horizon, the amount of atmosphere that the light travels through increases. What this amounts to is the difference between looking at a lightbulb, and looking at light coming through a lampshade. The light is softer, more complementary, easier to work with, and generally more beautiful at sunset. For all of these reasons, when shooting outdoors our best suggestion is to schedule your shoot for the last hour and a half of daylight. Websites online will give you times accurate to the minute of when the sun will be setting for your area so that you can plan your shoot accordingly. However, certain locations will have restrictions and limitations on the times that they allow bridal portraits to happen. On our end, we will bring every piece of lighting equipment that we can to account for less than ideal lighting. The further we are from sunset however, the more important having a location that has plenty of shade or indoor portions will be. In no situation is shooting outdoors at noon ideal, so in some cases the hours of operation of your venue of choosing may make shooting there extremely compromised.
We recommend to all of our brides having someone there to help you during the course of your shoot. From helping to fix hair and makeup, to fluffing your dress, to carrying with you all of the items you may need during your shoot, it is always a good idea to have at least one person come along with you to help you during your shoot. Some clients come with entourages for their shoots. Some clients have a bridesmaid or their mothers along with them. Bridal portraits can be a bit of an undertaking, and having the right people there to make your shoot a success can make all the difference. And of course, it also gives you some people to celebrate with afterwards over dinner and drinks!
Your shoot will likely require some accessories. A bouquet is almost always a good thing to have for your shoot. A bouquet helps give you something to do with your hands during your shoot, and also increases the posing possibilities. Not every shot that we take will have your bouquet in it, but by not having one you will be more limited in what you’re able to get. It’s not required that you have an expensive bouquet of fresh flowers from your wedding day florist. In fact, we’ve had clients make their own bouquets for their shoots with great results and very little time and money wasted. We suggest keeping things simple, and they do not even have to be real flowers. Because we will not likely be zooming in on just your bouquet, it really will be just an accessory for your shoot. Also, we suggest to all of our clients that they bring along an old sheet or a shower curtain liner to put under their dress in situations where it may otherwise get dirty. This accessory will allow you to shoot in places that you otherwise might not be able to, and save you the headache or having to have your dress professionally cleaned after your shoot.
Yes, you’ll need to bring yourself along for your bridal portrait shoot. But you’ll need to be more than just present for your shoot. The success of your shoot can come down to how eager your are to participate. Bridal portraits can, sometimes, be a bit stressful on the day of. Once your shoot starts however, your ability to enjoy the shoot can greatly and directly impact the success of the shoot. For our part we try to have as much fun as we can with each shoot, and we try to interact with you in a way that will allow you to have fun during your shoot as well. Bridal portraits are fun! In fact, they are probably one of our favorite portions of wedding photography. Bridal portraits are an opportunity for us to be creative, a scenario that allows for us to take our time, a time to get to know our clients, and a moment for you to see how you’ll look on your wedding day. Have fun!! This is what you’ve been planning for all of this time, and every bride looks amazing when it all comes together for this moment!! We’ll do everything that we can to help you relax for your bridal portraits…. just shy of providing drinks! All you’ll need to do is to be our clay. Be open to our input, relax and get comfortable, share your ideas with us, and just have fun with it!!
Bring along your expectations and share them with us! But keep them realistic. We love hearing and executing your ideas for everything from poses, facial expressions, locations, to props and accessories. Bridal portraits are a collaboration, and we want to personalize everything that we do for every one of our clients. However, we still have to remain true to our style and approach to photography, and also have to deal with the challenges and scenarios presented by many of the things mentioned above. We realize that though we know much about bridal portraits and photography from many years of doing this professionally, this is likely the first time that you are doing this. Keep your ideas ready… but make sure to cater them to the scenario. Show us an idea you found for a pose, but keep in mind that we will do so in our own style and that your location is likely different from your example. Try to keep your expectations true to all of the suggestions mentioned above. And if you’re able to follow all of the suggestions that we’ve made above, you can certainly expect results like what you see from our website and all of the previous work we’ve created!
For more information on how Genovese Ashford Studios can capture your wedding day visit www.genovese-ashford.com. Your search for a New Orleans Wedding Photographer ends here!
Genovese Ashford Studios | Houston, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans Wedding Photographers