Wedding Photography Trends: Bridals, Groomals, and First Looks

April 20, 2016

We all know there are things that trend in weddings. From decor to dresses, choreographed dances to cake replacements (i.e., donut cakes, cupcakes); we are starting to see it all. There are even new trends for photography.

Being raised in Wyoming and now living and doing business in Utah I have always known of the thing called “Bridals”. It can also be found outside the midwestern states in areas where the LDS culture is dominant. So it’s no wonder it’s starting to spread now that we have social media outlets to share crazy ideas and trends. And branching off this Midwestern trend are “First Look Sessions”, “Formal Sessions”, and “Groomal Sessions”. All meaning the same thing.

So What Exactly is a Bridal Session?

The origination of a Bridal Session was adapted from the LDS culture. Somewhere, somehow, from the dawning of time it’s always been a tradition to have an image of the bride in her dress displayed at the reception. And of course in order to do this before the age of digital photography, you had to have a photo session of the bride in her dress weeks before the actual wedding. Then you would proof your images to the bride for an enlargement for her to choose for display. Click HERE for an example of a session I have done on my personal webpage.

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How Has the Bridal Session Grown Into a “First Look Session”?

Most LDS couples get married in a religious temple pertinent to their belief system. This ceremony is considered sacred and thus no photo or video is permitted during the ceremony nor in the ceremony space. In recent years, brides have loved seeing the documentation of the “first look” that the groom offers when he sees his beautiful bride coming down the aisle. But this moment cannot be documented for these LDS couples. So LDS brides started getting smart. They started having their grooms tag along for their bridal session. And now they are getting two bonuses! They achieve the “First Look” as well as adding the groom to the bridal image that is displayed at the reception. And in doing this photographers have found this also saves time on the wedding day during formal portraits.

Brides and grooms that aren’t necessarily traditional about seeing the bride before the wedding day, have started taking this into consideration for their civil ceremonies. Especially if their timeline is pretty tight. It saves time and also gives them the opportunity to have photos of them in their wedding attire in a completely different backdrop than their wedding. And people love having variety! Click HERE for a post where Stacey previously touched base on this topic.

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How Do You Photograph a Bridal Session?

You may find yourself in a position where an LDS bride wants to book you, or even someone who just wants to follow this “trend”. When photographing a traditional Bridal Session for an LDS bride, it’s important to get a full shot of the entire dress. Other than that, you may find it similar to photographing a senior session, but just in a super fancy dress. It is easy to run out of posing ideas for a single person without their groom, so look for a future post dedicated to posing tips and tricks!

So whether you have been asked to do a first look, or even a bridal session, now you know how it came about, and how to tackle it! Please post any questions in the comments and we would love answer them!

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