5 Reasons to Have a
Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot
When you’re searching for your wedding photographer, you might find that loads of them offer a photoshoot before your wedding. Some call it an engagement shoot, some a pre-wedding photoshoot – whatever they call it, it’s generally a quick shoot before your wedding day. It sounds a bit extra, and if you’re feeling cynical you might think it’s just a money spinner for a photographer, but it’s honestly one of the most useful things you can do in the lead up to your wedding day.
(FYI, I call it a pre-wedding photo shoot because it is something that happens before your wedding. I used to call it an engagement shoot but then couples said it was funny because they’d been engaged for a year or two. Pre-wed just makes more sense.)
Here are 5 reasons why you should have a pre-wedding photo shoot.
1. Get to Know Your Photographer
So you’ve spent upwards of a grand, possibly two, on a photographer. You might have had a phone call and several emails. Have you met them?
With most wedding photographers being willing to travel vast distances for their couples, there’s a chance you won’t actually meet until the day of your wedding. Having your pre-wedding photo shoot is a really good way to meet them in person before one of the most intense days of your life! If you are quite far away then perhaps suggest meeting somewhere in the middle, or maybe make a day of it.
Getting to know your wedding photographer is hugely important. We are with you on one of the most special days of your lives, and we’re in a position of trust. We want to see your emotions, see your connection and capture memories in a way that you’ll love for the rest of your lives. It’s a huge responsibility, photographing people when they’re under pressure and vulnerable, and I believe you can only put that trust in your photographer when you’ve met them.
2. It’s a Practice run for your Wedding day
I guess some folks still do wedding rehearsals, but I’ve yet to work with a couple has the budget/time/inclination. It seems quite extra, doesn’t it? Plus it involves a ton of other people who’ll be excited and want to get a slice of your time.
Your pre-wed is a practice run for me to see how you are together. How you hold each other, the way you interact, your reaction to having a camera trained on you. It lets me know if your the sort of couple who quite enjoy being physically affectionate, if you’re really not at all physically affectionate, if you need a distraction to relax, or if you’re super adventurous.
See, while I’m looking through my lens at you I’m not really thinking about exposure, metering, focal length or any of that other technical stuff. I’m not concerned about getting the lighting spot on, or even how sharp the focus is. I know my cameras well enough to trust my muscle memory in adapting the settings while I work.
This is practice. I’m looking for you two while my hands dance around the dials on my camera. I’m looking to see how close I can get to you, what kind of prompts get the reactions that reveal a sense of you. I’m looking for the best way to capture you.
3. Let your creativity run wild
Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What kind of emotion do you want to capture? Let your minds wander a bit while you’re choosing your location, and think about what would really work for you. Hang out at home with the cats, play video games if that’s your jam, climb a peak, run through the woods, wrap each other in a massive blanket at sunset, get ice cream in town…whatever you want to do is possible.
Put something of yourselves into your pre-wed. If you trust your photographer and start to feel comfortable around them then it makes it so much easier, and far more fun, to be able to capture you in that moment.
4. Get some beautiful pictures
What better way to trust your photographer to do a good job than being able to see work they’ve already created for you? Photography sits in an awkward space between art and document. It records a particular event, time and place, but with a sense of emotion. There are so many different ways to capture a wedding, and no two photographers will do it the same.
The pre-wed enables you to see how your photographer will shoot for you. And you get to see them, keep them, weeks before a day where you’ll have loads of photos taken of you. You could even have one printed large for guests to sign instead of a guestbook, or projected onto a wall.
Wedding planning is a long slog. So many bloody choices about everything! From making sure your older relatives are going to be happy and comfortable, to scheduling in that 80s rap dance off and trying to decide the font on your invitations doesn’t look shit… The family politics you might have to deal with, the dress length, the bad weather plan (hint: have one)…. It’s a lot.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re planning and why, once the world and his brother tries to have their say. And even if you have a small wedding with the calmest, most chill guests you could ever hope for, it’s still a bloody lot to plan. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a couple of hours after work or on a Sunday morning to just be together?
Aside from all the above points, all the couples I’ve done pre-weds with have always told me how nice it is to do this. They haven’t been so physically close in a long time, they feel all loved up and happy, and they’re genuinely excited for their wedding. On the wedding day, couples have come to find me to have some photos done just so they can do more of this.
So it’s true – I love pre-wedding photoshoots, and hopefully by now you do too! I wrote this post because I want couples to see that it’s not something to be nervous or standoffish about. A pre-wed is something to enjoy, with no pressure. I often tack time on for a meeting too, so we can have a coffee/beer together and chat all things wedding. I genuinely want to get to know the couples I work with, so I can capture something of their personalities and their connection. Meeting and working with you before your wedding is just part of that.
I offer all couples a complimentary pre wedding shoot with me in the months before their wedding, to make all this as straightforward as possible. I know other photographers see them as an add on, but it’s just part of what I do. They’re not mandatory, but they are nice.