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Capturing Beautiful Bridal Photos Abroad


Capturing Beautiful Bridal Photos Abroad

If you’re anything like me, you could lose yourself in dreamy bridal photo inspiration all day long. But, when it’s your turn to step in front of the camera, capturing images that clearly express the love you’re feeling in your heart—without capturing the nerves you may be feeling inside—isn’t exactly as effortless as it looks. Add on top of this the fact that—for those eloping overseas or hosting a destination wedding—you’re in a setting you might not be familiar with, and you can quickly see how a beautiful bridal shoot abroad can be a tricky thing to pull off.

Today, then, I wanted to share with you my top tips for capturing true-to-you bridal photos—no matter how out-of-your-element or camera-shy you may be feeling inside. Let’s dive in…  

1. Work with a local planner to select a photographer you’re comfortable with.

With language barriers and the complicated logistics of overseas planning, selecting a good photographer on your own can be tricky. Rather than going it alone, I always recommend working closely with your destination wedding planner to narrow down a list of the top 2-3 wedding photographers in your location—he or she will know far more than websites or online reviews can ever tell you. From there, consider having a conversation with each to get a feel for who best suits your personality, style, and budget. Being comfortable with—and having trust in—your photographer is the number-one thing you can do to ensure you look absolutely effortless in front of the lens.

2. Have a keen awareness of logistics.

Showing up extra prepared for your bridal shoot is one of the easiest things you can do to help calm your nerves and minimize any unwelcome surprises that could hinder the shoot. From working with your photographer ahead of time to ensure you’ve scheduled plenty of time to shoot at the locations you have in mind—to remembering to bring helpful items like lip gloss or a hairbrush—sit down long before your bridal shoot and think through how you want the shoot to go from start to finish. Some questions to consider include:

  • What time will you need to show up to capture the best lighting—and how long will it take you to get to your location?
  • If you’re shooting outdoors, is there a chance it might be windy, rainy, or that your allergies might act up? (Bring some tissue, eye drops, and powder for your nose if seasonal allergies tend to get the best of you.)
  • Will it be cold outside? (Feeling cold during your bridal shoot often results in stiffer movements and hardened facial expressions, so be sure to bring along a shawl or pretty coat if you’re shooting outside during winter months. Hand warmers and tea/coffee are also a great option for warming up in between clicks of the camera!)

3. Trust your photographer’s queues—even if they feel a bit odd.

The best photographers will know how to direct you to look your most authentic in front of the lens—but understand that this might not always feel the most natural. Walking, talking, and laughing in front of the camera in a way that translates beautifully in your bridal photos takes some tricks of the trade. (Crossing one leg dramatically in front of the other as you walk leads to images that make you look longer and leaner, but walking this way feels far from natural. Laughing while actually saying out loud the phrase “hee hee hee” will feel incredibly silly, but this trick leads to a smile that looks more natural. Tilting your chin one way while looking in another direction with your eyes results in a stunning portrait, but it’s never a move you’d make in real life.) Your photographer will help you hone your body movements and facial expressions, and some of that direction is bound to feel odd or awkward—which is why it’s so important to choose a photographer you trust to lead you in the right direction.

4. Think outside of the box when it comes to location.

When you get married in a country that isn’t your home, you may not be fully aware of all of the hidden gems your wedding location offers. I recommend working with your planner and photographer to scout out secret locations for your bridal shoot that make for stunning photos. While tourist attractions are certainly sought after for good reason (think: the Eiffel Tower in Paris), they can also be difficult to shoot at with so many people around—and having others watch you as you shoot can be a recipe for deep discomfort if you’re camera-shy and don’t love attention. Be open to settings like quaint gardens, farmhouses on the edges of town, little-known architectural gems, rural or desolate spots with incredible lighting and no-one around, etc. Do your research, work with your photographer ahead of time, speak to on-the-ground experts, and keep an open mind when it comes to location selection.

Need some seriously swoon-worthy inspiration for easy-breezy bridal photos? Look no further than these effortless images of the gorgeous Eva in Budapest…

Until next time, here’s to an effortless bridal shoot and a beautiful wedding!

Photography Credits:
Eva Tarnok |

Contact Exalt Africa for more details or to discuss your upcoming wedding.

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