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10 Beauty Tips for Your Best Bridal Portrait

Besides those great shots of you in your gown, bridal portraits provide you with the opportunity to try out your hair and makeup before the big day.
Besides those great shots of you in your gown, bridal portraits provide you with the opportunity to try out your hair and makeup before the big day.
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Think of your bridal portrait as a dress rehearsal for the biggest event in your life -- your wedding day. From your dress to your hairstyle, prepping for a bridal portrait can be a way for you to practice your beauty regimen before you say "I do." When the final photos are developed, you'll see if carnation pink lips are the right -- or wrong -- choice for your first kiss as husband and wife.

When it comes to how formal or casual you want your portrait to be, there are no rules. Take this time to explore different looks in front of the camera. Some brides don't even choose to wear a wedding dress for their portrait at all! In fact, it's becoming more common to use this session as a chance to take tasteful photos in lingerie -- resulting in a racy portrait that your groom will cherish long after your wedding night is over.

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No matter what you choose to wear the day of the portrait, make sure your hair and skin are in tip-top shape, and don't forget the importance of knowing how to pose to flatter your figure -- and which side is your good side. Do you know what it takes to shine in front of the lens? Here are 10 beauty tips for your best bridal portrait.

Whiten your teeth for a bright smile on your portrait day.
Whiten your teeth for a bright smile on your portrait day.
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A big, bright smile is the first thing most people notice in a photograph, so whiten your teeth in advance of your portrait session. Most whitening products, like toothpaste, mouthwash and teeth whitening strips, can be purchased over the drugstore counter for less than $20. Of course, you can opt to seek a professional to brighten your pearly whites, but expect to shell out some of your hard-earned cash to get the job done. Professional teeth whitening treatments can cost anywhere from $400 to $600 and up.

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Take a good look in a magnifying mirror. Are your pores in need of a makeover? If so, consider booking an appointment with a dermatologist six to nine months before your bridal portrait takes place. Depending on the condition of your skin, a dermatologist might prescribe medication to treat acne and any other complexion problems you may have. It often takes at least six to 12 weeks for most medications and skin regimens to take effect, so keep this in mind when you schedule your bridal portrait.

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Keep your shoulders back and chin up to make yourself appear slimmer.
Keep your shoulders back and chin up to make yourself appear slimmer.
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Trick the lens and look slimmer in photographs -- all you need is good posture. Lengthen your figure and appear taller by stepping back on one foot and standing up straight; don't slouch. Push shoulders back slightly to slim arms, and lift your chin just a little to elongate your neck. Always turn three quarters when looking at the camera -- facing the lens dead-on won't look nearly as flattering. Whatever you do, don't hold your breath or buckle your knees -- you could pass out, especially if your gown has a snug corset!

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You may not wear a lot of makeup on a day-to-day basis, but consider wearing a little more than usual at your portrait session. Choosing a natural look could cause you to look washed out in photos. First, meet with a makeup professional and choose a foundation that matches your skin tone. Try different color palettes for your cheeks, eyes and lips, and find out which color combination complements your features. Bright lipstick will define your mouth, and eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara will showcase your eyes. Above all, you want to look like yourself in the portrait, so choose makeup you feel comfortable wearing.

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Schedule an appointment with your hair stylist to try out the 'do you've chosen for your big day.
Schedule an appointment with your hair stylist to try out the 'do you've chosen for your big day.
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How formal or casual do you want your bridal portrait to be? Depending on the formality of your portrait, you may need to schedule a trial appointment with your hair stylist in advance of the photo session. Be sure to bring your veil and any other hair accessories you plan to wear the day of the portrait, and show the stylist photos of updos you like as inspiration. Once you've pinned the perfect 'do, snap a few photos to document the look, and schedule another hair appointment the morning the portrait takes place. Of course, if you opt for a more casual look, you may choose to wear your hair down or style it yourself -- without hairspray or a massive stash of bobby pins.

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False eyelashes often get a bad rap. Sure, they're fake, but choosing the right pair will make your peepers pop in photographs. Try to choose a pair of false lashes that appear as natural as possible, and if necessary, seek a makeup professional to help you apply them to your eyelids the day of your portrait. Lash extensions, applied by a professional at a certified salon, are another great way to showcase your eyes. Over the course of an hour, a certified technician will glue extensions one-by-one to your eyelids, giving you fuller, longer, natural-looking eyelashes -- a treatment that costs around $200. However, unlike other false eyelashes, extensions will last throughout your portrait session and beyond -- each lash will fall out naturally over the course of a month.

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Shady, natural light, rather than direct sunlight, is most flattering for bridal portrait photos.
Shady, natural light, rather than direct sunlight, is most flattering for bridal portrait photos.
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Beautiful bridal portraits can be shot indoors or outside, but if you have the chance to pose in natural light, go for it! Choose a shady area for the most flattering photos, and avoid standing in direct sunlight. Areas with bright light will cause you to squint your eyes and wash out your skin. When in doubt, defer to your photographer with any lighting concerns you may have. Camera settings can be adjusted to accommodate any kind of light, so trust that your photographer can take a winning portrait no matter if you're in a studio or in the great outdoors.

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Like many brides, you may want to achieve a bronze glow before your bridal portrait session -- but steer clear of tanning beds and sunbathing. Not only are the sun's ultraviolet rays bad for your health, but they can permanently damage your skin. Avoid self-tanning lotions, too. Not only can they leave streaks and spots on your skin, but bronzer could sweat off and stain your dress. As an alternative, consider scheduling a spray tan appointment with a tanning salon before your bridal portrait takes place -- it's the only safe way to achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

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Don't be afraid to try various poses to get the best shot.
Don't be afraid to try various poses to get the best shot.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Your wedding gown isn't a garment that you wear everyday, so don't feel silly if you want to try it on at home and practice posing in front of a full-length mirror before your bridal portrait session. Depending on the style of your dress, it may affect your posture or the way you walk, so experiment with which poses look and feel most natural to you. While you're in front of the mirror, explore different facial expressions. Practicing by yourself will likely make you feel more comfortable in front of the camera lens later on.

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Before the photo shoot begins, try to let go of any insecurities and relax. Your bridal portrait session is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it's supposed to be fun! Bring your mother or maid of honor along for support; if nothing else, you'll need help getting in and out of your wedding gown. Be true to yourself, and if a particular pose makes you feel awkward, it's OK to tell your photographer you'd like to try something different instead. Not every shot has to be serious or formal, so have fun with posing and consider snapping a few candid photos, too. Sometimes the best photos are captured when you let your guard down, so laugh, let loose and enjoy this special occasion. All eyes are on you!

UP NEXT

Unique and Unexpected Bridal Style Photos

Unique and Unexpected Bridal Style Photos

Take a look at this photo album to see all of our style suggestions for the unique and unexpected style bride!


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Sources

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