Weddings: ​What Are Bridal Portraits? | Knoxville Wedding Photographer

Hi friends!

Today I want to talk with you all about a photography session that typically comes after your engagement shoot and before your official wedding day images. That’s right, I’m talking about your bridal portraits!

Some folks know what they are and can’t wait to take them, some folks are familiar and have already decided to skip this step, and some folks have no idea what they are or why you’d take them in the first place. So, I’m here to help that latter group out a bit. Here are the most important things you need to know about bridal portraits.

What are bridal portraits?

Bridal portraits are photographs typically taken a few months before the official wedding day where the bride poses on her own in her wedding gown in her venue of choice. The images can then be used as decor for the reception on her wedding day, as gifts to her parents, or simply as a treat to herself to remember how stellar she felt all dolled up for one of the biggest milestones of her life.

Why should I have bridal portraits done?

From a logistics standpoint, many brides appreciate this “dry run” ahead of the big day because it helps you calm any nerves or anxieties that are beginning to bubble up. They often schedule their hair and makeup trials to coordinate with their bridal session so they can try out their full look, assess how they feel, and see how they photograph before their actual wedding. This photoshoot takes the surprises, unknowns, and what-ifs out of the picture for the bride and leaves all the anticipation for the guests awaiting her official debut. It also makes those rushed, crunch-time moments that inevitably happen on the wedding day far less stressful.

On a fun note, bridal portraits offer the perfect chance to wear your wedding dress more than once without sacrificing that “Wow!” moment on your wedding day. For many women, this gown will be their most favorite dress they ever wear, so giving it a little more time in the spotlight just feels right.

What’s more, if you’re a really creative person with several photography visions that cannot all be tackled during the hour between your wedding ceremony and reception, a bridal portrait session gives you the time and room to explore and play with these ideas. Maybe one of your concepts doesn’t fit with the overall aesthetic of the wedding you’ve designed, so you can give that one a try in your bridal portraits by setting an entirely different scene just for yourself.

Pro Tips for Bridal Portrait Planning

Chat with me first.

Just like with any other kind of photoshoot, I find it incredibly helpful to at least hop on the phone and establish a little rapport before we step on set together. The more comfortable you are with me, the better your photos will turn out.

Secure your wedding look well in advance.

If you want to do bridal portraits, your dress needs to be wear-ready a few months ahead of your actual wedding, which takes coordination with your seamstress. It’s also important to think through your accessories and do a little more research for your hair and makeup trial so you’re more likely to love the outcome. (Think of it as less than a trial and more of a confirmation.) Speaking of, scheduling all of these elements on the same day at the right times is key, so call your artists ASAP to ensure their availability.

Have fun!

This is your time to shine solo in your beautiful wedding gown! Stay present for the experience, feel free to get as silly or serious as you want as you try different things, and remember just how special it feels to be at this pivotal point in your life.

Do you think you want to add bridal portraits to your wedding photography package? Message me to see what we can set up for you!

With Grit & Grace,
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio, Knoxville

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sarah keenan photographer knoxville asheville wedding family

meet sarah


I have an affinity to all things light and airy.  I love color, sunshine, romance, and laughter.  I love inspirational quotes, meeting new people, flowers, and the idea of finishing a great book.  My go-to drink is coffee.  My outlet is dance.  And, aallllll of my free time is spent with my crew, including our German Shepherd, Gaia.   

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Hi there!  I am Real Estate Photographer, Sarah Keenan.  Raised in East Tennessee and a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and all that offers runs deep for this gal.  Having worked in photography for over 14 years, I am excited to be back home and working along side folks like you.

As a small business owner, I personally understand the time, effort, and dedication that goes into leading a life as an entrepreneur. I thrive on efficiency.  I am on your team.  I am your Knoxville Real Estate Photographer. 

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