Pre-Wedding Shoot – and why you need one!
“we don’t need a pre-wedding shoot!” …. this is how many of our booking enquiries start, but why is this?
I thought I’d attempt my first proper blog, and help demystify what a Pre-Wedding Shoot is for, and why you definitely DO need a pre-wedding shoot!
With the exception of a very small handful of clients, we always go and meet everyone who wants us with them on their wedding day. We sit for a couple of hours, drink tea, talk bobbins, chat about what we do on the day, how we do it, and more importantly talk a lot about the couple and their wedding.
We call these our Meet & Greets, and it’s the first time you get to know anything about each other. They’re key to making sure you click with each other. If you don’t click, how can you possibly do the best job possible on the day of the wedding
Having lived by this rule, since 2012, there have only been 3 potential ILTO clients that has been turned down …. simply because they were dicks! I don’t click with dicks!! It also goes to show it’s not just about the money too, as one of them offered to pay double!
Anyway, back to my point! Many people book wedding photographers up to 2 years in advance. If you don’t do a pre-wedding shoot with them, you run the risk of potentially not seeing them again until the actual wedding day. You’re effectively strangers again!
If this happens, where’s the rapport? Where’s the connection? There simply isn’t one! On the most basic level, this is why a pre-wedding shoot is important …. but there’s much more to it than just this!
Depending on the photographer, the clients and the styles they all like, the pre-wedding shoot should broadly follow one of two paths.
- If the clients are confident in front of the camera, you agree the location for the shoot based on the artistic look and feel that the bride and groom would like.
- Real people (myself included) generally “hate having pictures” taken of themselves. This is usually because they’ve never had a decent picture taken! When this is the case, which it has been for 90% of our clients, you work to build their confidence. The transformation you see over the time spent shooting is so rewarding! You turn self-conscious couples into absolutely loving the camera, and the “arty” stuff just naturally happens from there! Boom
This breaks down even further, so bare with me!
From the photographer’s perspective
It’s key to see how people are with each other. This is key to making sure that the shots you capture on the day are relevant and personal to the client. If we get people hugging, kissing whatever, and they wouldn’t normally do that, the shots wouldn’t be natural or relevant would they?
Personally, Clare (my wife), and I can’t keep our hands off each other, but not every couple is as tactile …. anyway, moving swiftly on!
Some couples are decidedly “clunky” with each other. If clients are like this, you run the risk of getting them to clam up completely. You’re asking them to do things they wouldn’t normally do ….. in front of people with cameras!
Something else that’s important for me, is to know whether the bride and groom are “serial blinkers”. I don’t think that this really needs much of an explanation, because if you’re a blinker, you’ll know exactly the challenge you present to photographers!
Everyone knows a blinker, and if we know that if one or both of the clients are blinkers, we have to do certain little things to make sure we see actual eyes, and not eye lids on the day….. failing that, we just take more memory cards with us!
From the client’s perspective
Your photographer should provide little hints and tips to get you feeling awesome in front of the camera! Simple as that! By doing it during the pre-wedding, it guarantees that you don’t have to spend time on the day of the wedding trying and finding the key to making the shots work. This means that the personal shots are done as efficiently as possible. The happy couple can get back to their guests and carry on enjoying their wedding!
We explain to our couples that there will naturally be some pre-wedding shots that they prefer more than others. That’s also the point! We do all sorts to try and work out what are the least flattering shots or poses for our clients.
Which is their “good side”? ….. to be fair, they usually end up loving their bad side when we’ve taken a good shot of it! If they don’t like how they look in certain shots, they know not to do whatever it is they’re doing – hey presto, no unflattering shots!!
We show clients the difference between holding the bouquet one way or another. We show grooms how to use their pockets in flattering ways so it doesn’t look like we’re having a fiddle! (because as blokes, we simply can’t leave our pockets alone as you know!) We even show couples how to walk away form the camera properly (yes, there really is a way!)
More importantly, we piss about and have a laugh! We prove that you can take something they’ve initially dreaded, and turn it into something they’ve loved! Clients always finish the session excited for the wedding pictures again.
They know that if we can make them look and feel a million dollars in jeans and a jumper, that they’ll look simply stunning on the day in the dress and the suit! The natural shots we capture are because on the wedding day, we don’t tell people what to do! They know which shots and poses they loved from the pre-wedding, and they replicate them, or at least we start with them and work from there.
Yes, obviously I’d like to push that at times, and get shots that I want, but it’s a balance. These are shots that won’t be hung on my walls. These shots won’t be shared with my friends – people who don’t know them. They’re ultimately not MY shots (barring Copyright and all that guff of course!)
Also, if they have kids, we let them bring them all along, and it turns into a mini portrait session. Why?
Well, all kids are different, and if you can bond with them over something fun like a pre-wedding shoot, it doesn’t take them 4 hours to warm up to you on the day of the wedding, and therefore we don’t miss any shots due to little people being shy! It also let’s them get used to having a professional camera pointed at them!
The majority of children are used to having an iPhone pointed at them for a picture. However, when a photographer lifts a professional camera with a flash and big lens on it! Well, that’s something they’re just not used to, and they can freak out initially! We’ve even had the odd family dog join us! We love it!
The end result is that the client ends up with plenty of pictures for them to smile at and share; they even print them off to use as signing canvases for the wedding itself! They happy couple also have pictures they love where they’re not all dressed in the wedding finery!
The sad thing for me I all of this, is that many photographers charge for pre-wedding sessions. How they justify this, and how people fall for this shit I simply do not know!
You’re probably already paying a significant amount of money for a professional photographer to cover your wedding day. So, with this in mind, if they can’t free up a couple of hours to spend with you doing this, you have to question if they have your best interests at heart?
So …. there you have it!
Do you see why you definitely DO need that pre-wedding now?
Now stop reading this and get on to your photographers to ask when they’re doing your pre-wedding shoot!