I’ve long been an advocate of the pre-wedding (AKA engagement) shoot, as not only do you get to meet your photographer but on a more relaxed day than your wedding day, it also gives you an awesome set of photos during those heady days before you tie the knot.
Should you have a pre-wedding shoot?
You should absolutely book a pre-wedding shoot. I encourage all of my clients to have them, and in fact I think it’s so important that I include it as a standard feature in all of my wedding photography packages. Let me explain why.
For many of you reading this, the pre-wedding shoot may be the first time you’ve had a full-on professional photo session. It can feel a lot more intimidating than simply posing for a selfie or a group portrait as, whoa, the camera will be only on you with someone else watching. It need not be something to fear, though. There is no pressure on the pre-wedding shoot – we’ve got time, we can do retakes, there’s no one watching, there’s no one but us to worry about, and we can be as creative as we like.
It helps to think of the pre-wedding shoot as simply a practice session, a rehearsal for the wedding day, which if you think about it is very much like putting on a performance. Rehearsing your wedding day activities is just as useful as rehearsing for the stage, or any other kind of performance where you know you’ll be the centre of attention.
Most importantly, wedding photography can be a very intimate process, and truly great images are the result of a good relationship between photographer and couple. Pre-wedding shoots are an opportunity to develop this relationship. Read on for more about that.
Six Reasons to have a Pre-Wedding Shoot
One – FUN!
First and foremost, it’s FUN. While on the wedding day there will be time constraints, along with many different details and people competing for your attention, a pre-wedding session is just you and your partner and photographer. There’s no pressure, no stress. Without the constraints of wedding day, engagement sessions have lots of scope for creativity. You can have a super-relaxed session in a park or at the beach or visiting iconic locations. Or you can go take the opportunity to be silly and adventurous, if that’s more your style. Various pre-wedding shoots I’ve done have involved a Bollywood movie poster theme, vintage board games and camper vans, hula hoops, a disco ball in a tree, water guns, bubbles, coloured smoke grenades.
Two – it’s another chapter of your love story
Your pre-wedding photos can tell the story of you in ways that complement your wedding story, especially when you choose a location for your engagement session that is meaningful to your relationship: the place where you met, where you went on your first date, where you got engaged, where you first said, “I love you,” or somewhere that you enjoy revisiting together regularly.
Three – all the extra photos!
Having a pre-wedding shoot means you’ll have fantastic images for use on your save-the-dates, wedding invitations, wedding website, social media, wedding guestbook and/or to display at your reception.
Four – practice, practice, practice!
An engagement session gives you practice in front of the camera. While we do all live in the age of selfies, we don’t all necessarily have loads of experience of being professionally photographed by someone else. On your wedding day, it’s possible for this to feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to it or if you’re someone who’s ever said, “I really hate having my photo taken,” or “I always look awful in photos.” (As you might imagine, photographers hear this A LOT.) The biggest problem with these statements is that they tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we think we look awful in photos, we project this negativity, it’s picked up by the camera, and guess what – congratulations, we look terrible in the photos. We have to silence this voice and send ourselves a different message: “I look great, and I’m good at this.” If you think about it, posing for photos is a skill, and like any skill, it is improved with practice. Practice improves confidence, and confidence shuts down the voice of negativity.
Five – your photographer gains insights ready for the big day
The pre-wedding shoot is a chance for your photographer to learn more about you and your partner, how you interact with one another, about both of your personalities and how to shoot in a way that best showcases you as a couple. It also gives the photographer a chance to note any particular habits or tics either of you may have in front of the camera, what poses flatter you most, and how much direction or coaching you’re likely to need.
Six – any excuse!
Also, you get to snog in public.
So what do you think; have I convinced you yet? If you had a pre-wedding shoot, leave a comment below and let us know if you found it to be a worthwhile experience. What did you like best about it?
If you’re getting married and you fancy booking in for a pre-wedding shoot with me (which I offer both as part of my wedding photography packages or as stand-alone shoots), I can be found at PhotoMadly.
Gallery of PhotoMadly’s Awesome E-Shoots!