Should we have a Pre Wedding Shoot?

So let’s chat about Pre Wedding Shoots …

The first thing to say is that I’m really aware a lot of couples when they start their Wedding planning journey have never heard the term “pre wedding” or “engagement shoot” before … let alone know what it is, what to expect or what they might get out of it!

So hopefully this article will help you decide if it’s something you think you may like to add to your photography package.

I’ve also sought the words of a couple of my past ‘pre shooters’ which I think is a really good way of explaining how they felt about it and what they got out of it …

So – for me a Pre Wedding shoot is essentially a trial run of how to expect your photographer to work with you & guide you on your Wedding day during your couples shots.

I totally get that a lot of people are petrified at the thought of having their picture taken … the most common phrases I hear from my couples are

“we hate having our picture taken, we’re not photogenic, we can’t smile, we don’t look good in pictures” … 

I can pretty much guarantee that by the end of a pre wedding shoot I almost always hear the phrases …

“well that was no where near as awkward as we expected … we actually enjoyed that!”  and when they see the images “we love them – we can’t believe it’s us!”

A pre wedding shoot can be a really good way of setting your nerves at ease ahead of the wedding day … going into your wedding day knowing exactly what to expect from your photographer – and feeling even more confident that they will capture images of you that you love is a huge confidence boost.

Generally I also find that couples who I have done a pre wedding shoot with, I can be quicker on the day at doing those couples portraits – getting you back to your guests sooner – spending as much time with your family & friends, relaxing & enjoying your drinks reception is the ultimate goal right?

Pre wedding shoot couples know what to expect, what I’ll ask of them – and most importantly why – because they’ve seen the trial run pictures and know to trust me!

pre wedding shoot

I usually do my pre wedding shoots around 6 weeks before the wedding – this means that you will likely have had your final meeting with your Venue so as an extra bonus we can run through the logistics and timings of your day in more detail and set a plan for exactly when you can expect me to whizz you off for a few shots.

Aside from actually having your photograph taken – a pre shoot is a great way for us all to get to know each other a bit better too!

Breaking down those barriers – getting to know my couples on a personal level all leads for a more relaxing environment on your wedding day and even greater chances to get those lovely relaxed and natural images.

I often feel that couples are nervous about telling me what they do and don’t like about themselves in pictures … but I would actively encourage bride or grooms to absolutely chat to your photographer about those things.

We are all only human and I can pretty much guarantee to you that everyone has something about themselves that they aren’t confident about … arms, hands, noses, ears, teeth, this side … that side … trust me I’ve heard it all!

And whilst I won’t guarantee that I won’t capture that on your wedding day (after all the majority of my time on a day is capturing you in a documentary style, relaxed and unawares) … I would rather know and be aware of it so that during your couples shots I know exactly what you are less confident with – and I can make sure I get images that I know you will look and feel amazing in!

I also totally appreciate that if you have children your wedding day is as much about them as it is you! That’s why it’s never a problem to bring them along for part of the shoot to capture some lovely family images too. But I always advise it’s best to bring grandma or a friend along too so that we can still focus part of your shoot on just your couples pictures …

My main approach to couples shoots is “don’t look at the camera” and I get that at first this can feel strange and alien – you are so used to having a camera pointed at you – looking and smiling! When in fact I try to get you to do the complete opposite … I want to capture you chatting, laughing and generally just being yourselves  so this concept can take a little getting used to.

A lot of my couples go on to use the Pre Wedding shoot pictures as part of their wedding day decorations … photo tables, table names, signing frames etc … it’s lovely to see those images used creatively on the wedding day!

So I’ve probably done enough waffling on!

Let me hand you over to a couple of my past pre shooters to share their experiences & words of advice …

Laura says …

“If you aren’t sure whether to have a pre-wedding shoot I hope my experience can help you decide. We weren’t originally going to have a shoot as weddings can be very expensive and you try to keep costs down where possible and stay within a budget but I can honestly say it was money well spent and worth every penny and I’m so glad that we did. 

Not only have we got absolutely beautiful pictures that we can look at for years to come but we got to meet Hayley in person, run through final details and get to know her more. Hayley is such a lovely, warm and friendly person. We were both very nervous but she made us feel completely at ease. I personally think getting to know your photographer is a big thing as you will feel more relaxed on your day”

“The great thing about Hayley, which I was told and can confirm is true, is how she manages to get the first shot she takes so well. Instead of trying to get a shot for a long time and it becoming forced or unnatural she gets it just at that perfect second. We don’t want to be posing for pictures for the whole of our wedding day so it was really reassuring to know how quickly Hayley works and that we will be back chatting to ours guests and drinking prosecco!

I personally also saw it as a bit of a practice shoot for the wedding too, we all take selfies these days but I hate having my picture taken (by somebody else!) so thought it would be a great opportunity to see what works and what I don’t like so much. You spend a lot of money on your wedding and photos and if there are certain things you might be conscious about it will help put your mind at ease”

Aimee says …

“We never thought we’d do a pre-wedding shoot because neither of us are great at having our photo taken but we wanted to have a picture of us at our venue incorporated into our invites so we cautiously booked in a pre-shoot with Hayley. It not only meant we got to meet the amazing Hayley early but it completely relaxed us about being in front of the camera and we got to explore hidden corners of our venue we’d never seen before!! The photos on the invites are some of my favourites ever and everyone commented on how beautiful they were.”

I hope that has helped give an insight into what to expect and what you might benefit from in a Pre Shoot!

If you think a pre wedding shoot is something which you might like to book in don’t hesitate to contact me and we can get it in the diary!

Hayley xxx

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