What Is A Bridal Portrait Session, And Do I Really Need One?

So you’ve found the perfect wedding dress and a hair/makeup artist, all to get dolled up for just one day. Or can it be more than that? A Bridal Portrait Session is a photo session that takes place prior to the wedding day where you get to put on your dress and get made up for solo bridal portraits. Oh yeah, and your groom is not invited (obviously, he can’t see you in the dress before the wedding!)

Bridal portrait sessions are a modern, popular trend of the south. And there are many great reasons! But if we can just take bridal portraits on the wedding day, then why is there another session dedicated to it?

This guide will help answer the biggest questions around bridal sessions and provide some of my greatest bridal session tips from my experience.


There are many benefits of scheduling a bridal portrait session prior to your wedding. One of my personal favorites as a photographer is that you get more time on your wedding day. From my experience, the “getting ready” part of the day runs late about 50% of the time. Trust me, when the clock is ticking before the ceremony, you’ll thank me that we already got your bridal portraits done. Plus, you get more time to just enjoy being with your bridal party!

Many brides have also told me that getting to do a “dry-run” in their dress was incredibly helpful. While your dress might be absolutely swoon-worthy, that often translates into reduced mobility. So just getting a chance to practice moving/walking in your dress ahead of time can be huge.

It’s also common for the bride, or family of the bride to print a nice bridal portrait so it can be on display at the wedding reception.


Bridal portraits are absolutely necessary. But do you really need a separate bridal portrait session before your wedding? Not really. But if you’re opting out of booking a bridal portrait session, make sure to coordinate with your wedding photographer and wedding planner. You’ll want to make sure you have time for bridal portraits during the wedding day. Even if you don’t want your own bridal portraits for yourself, your partner and most definitely your family will want them.


I always recommend getting your hair and makeup professionally done for your session. Many hair & makeup artists allow you to do a test run before your wedding day. The bridal portrait session is the perfect time to coordinate your hair and makeup trial!

If your wedding florals are important to you, I’d also recommend purchasing an additional bouquet for your bridal portrait session. (Not 100% necessary though.)

You’ll also want to coordinate with your seamstress. If you need to get alterations done on your dress, make sure to do so before the bridal session. As I mentioned earlier, the bridal session is a great time to try out the dress. Plus, this gives you the time to figure out any issues or problems ahead of time!

One last pro tip: bring your maid of honor, or even mom to your bridal portrait session. Just having another person there to help fluff the dress, carry the train, or even just serve as your hype-person is huge!

Bridal portrait with veil


At a minimum, you should take your bridal portraits where your fiancé won’t be at. Obviously he can’t see you in your dress prior to your wedding day. Other than that, choose a location that you feel comfortable with and that fits the vibe and décor of your wedding.

Oftentimes, the wedding venue you book will allow you to shoot your bridal session there. While that can be good for the consistency of your photos, you might also want something different. Any locations for engagement or portrait sessions in your area will work! If you’re in Dallas or around the DFW metroplex, check out my list of the best engagement session locations!

Not ready to go public in your wedding dress? That’s okay! Indoor studios like the Lumen Room in DFW can be a great option. Studios like these tend to provide props and furniture, and have great lighting.


Every photographer charges differently. And while there’s no “standard” cost of a bridal portrait session, you can expect it to cost about the same as an engagement session. However, there are a few questions you should ask in considering the value vs. cost:

  • How much shooting time do I get?
  • How many locations will we shoot at?
  • Are prints and digital files included?


Hopefully this guide helps you better understand bridal portrait sessions. So what do you think? Will you be booking one? If you haven’t already found a photographer for your bridal portrait session, or your wedding day, I’d be happy to get in touch.