5 Ways to Rock
your pre-wedding shoot
It’s that time of year, when the leaves turn orange, the days get shorter and wedding season is (mostly) over. It’s also when a lot of couples start to search for their wedding photographer, and start seeing words like pre-wedding shoot, pre-shoot and engagement shoot. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some tips with you about how to get the best out of your pre-wedding shoot, and what you can get in return.
As a mum who doesn’t own a pair of heels, I’d worry about you being too cold if you’re wearing strappy heels and a floaty dress to climb a mountain in February. It’d stress me right out! (And you could always have a quick costume change once you’re in situ, if that floats your boat.)
Be comfortable. Things to avoid are super bright colours and big logos, as these can dominate the photos, unless you’re both wearing super bright colours and it’s part of you to dress a certain way. Basically, I want you to wear what you like and look however best reflects you.
Choose the time of year wisely
Your pre-wedding shoot doesn’t have to be close to your wedding. Lots of people book their photographer in the autumn for a wedding the following summer, so naturally a lot of couples opt for spring time photos. You can totally do this, but there are no written rules as to what photographers prefer (despite what bridal magazines might tell you.)
You can have your pre-wed whenever it suits everyone. In fact, this photographer would thank you for choosing an autumn or winter shoot day, because spring and summer are full of weddings! However, if you’re keen to use a particular landscape or achieve a certain feel, then it’s worth bearing in mind that a shot of the Peak District looks different in February than it does in July.
From my point of view, Saturdays in the summer are usually booked up with weddings, so they must be scheduled during weekday evenings if you’d like to have the warmer weather.
Location, location, location
Location matters! I truly believe that if you’re having a quick shoot before your wedding then it should be in a place that means something to you, that you enjoy being in, or that looks bloody lovely. It’s nice to be able to back away from crowds sometimes and have a bit of stillness together, but it’s equally cool to be able to go somewhere you love regardless. The location of your pre-wedding shoot should be somewhere you look forward to being.
If you’re happier at home then that’s completely fine with me. I’d rather adapt myself to you than force you to do something you’re not comfortable with. If you’re unsure about locations and would rather go with a recommendation then that’s good with me.
My wedding packages include pre-wedding shoots within 50 miles of my home in Derbyshire, but I’m happy to go further afield if I can combine it with other work or a jolly!
Think about what you really want -and tell your photographer!
There are loads of positive reasons to opt for a pre-wedding shoot with your wedding photographer. You can use the time to get to know each other, to see how they work and let them put you at ease. You can bounce questions and ideas off them too, and seek guidance about any part of your wedding. You can add on a planning session where you discuss everything about your wedding. You can tell them about anything that makes you uncomfortable, and work together to find the best way to get the wedding photos you want ahead of time.
And of course, you can get some gorgeous photos to boot.
These are all realistic, positive reasons to have a pre-wedding shoot. But ultimately, an hour of being photographed can be quite exhausting if you’re not really sure why it’s happening other than “the photographer recommended it.”
Simply put, this is a collaborative process. If you have always dreamed of a photo of you both at sunrise in the Peak District with steaming cups of coffee and blankets, then let’s make it happen. If you’ve always wanted a snapshot of your real life as you hang out at home then let’s do it! If you want to sit on the beach with fish and chips, gazing into the sunset then I’m up for it. These insights into your life give me the opportunity to get photos that reflect you, but you have to let me in.
Bring your personality
I cannot stress this enough! I know that having a photographer wave a lens in your face is an odd experience, and I know that some people are more introverted than others. This also means that some people require a different approach.
I give couples very simple directions in a friendly way (IE not treating normal people like they’re vogue models) and use their reactions and behaviours as a jumping off point. It usually works, but rarely it doesn’t, and I have to try a different approach. However, as I mentioned above, this must be a collaborative effort. I don’t have a set workflow that I always use with every single couple, because I believe your photographs should be unique to you. That means allowing me in enough for me to figure out how to do that.
Revealing yourselves can make you feel vulnerable, and I get that. It’s why I recommend bringing the dog if you have one, and doing something, rather than expecting to be posed and positioned for the entire time.
If you’re considering a pre-wedding shoot as part of your wedding photography package then I hope you found this helpful reading. I absolutely love pre-weds, and will always recommend them to any couples who are nervous about having their photos done on the day. They’re a great way to break the ice and you get something beautiful out of it too.
Want to see some full galleries from pre-wedding shoots? Take a look at these: