Pre-wedding shoot in Devon

Is a pre-wedding shoot a good idea?

A pre-wedding shoot is not for everyone. But before you dismiss the idea completely there are a few things to take into consideration.

I have had many meetings in pubs, cafes, homes and wedding fairs with couples who confess to being camera shy or un-photogenic. More than often the couple will not take the idea any further and will not opt for a pre-wedding shoot. Either the future bride or groom can feel self-conscious and worry about being in front of the camera. This is why I always recommend the shoot, as it is a great way to over-come those fears. There is one occasion that always comes to mind when I hear from nervous brides.  One couple hired me for a pre-wedding shoot and we met up at a predetermined destination in Devon for the shoot. The bride was so nervous about being in front of the camera she was literally shaking and looked rather distressed. The last thing I wanted to do was make her more nervous.  As I always see these shoots as a collaboration we started off by just walking, having a chat and getting to know each other to help eliminate those initial nerves.  I then introduced the cameras, stood back and took a few shots.  It was also important for the partner to reassure and help with the process.  I will also say that they brought their dog along to help with diverting their attention away from me and concentrate their gaze on the pet’s antics. Bringing the pet along helped with the process of relaxing and getting to know me.

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Is a pre-wedding shoot necessary?

As I market my services as unobtrusive the engagements shoots are great to emphasise this and illustrate to the couple how I work. Most of the time I will ask the couple to walk along I will run ahead and start picking out shots, we then develop from there. There is, of course, some intervention from me.  I need the couple to be in the right light, and later stand in the right way and get a little romantic.  This is exactly how it unfolded with the said couple and as the shoot progressed the future bride became less nervous and started to enjoy herself. About half an hour into the shoot she began to relax, have fun and take the lead. We ended up with some great images.  By the end of the shoot she was coming up with ideas and her nerves had evaporated. This engagement shoot was so important for the couple. Had she not opted for the pre-wedding shoot it would have been difficult for her on her wedding day. She would have had to overcome those fears. Her wedding was perfect, she did not need to be nervous about the camera and it was one less thing to worry about. In fact by the end of the wedding day she was enjoying herself so much she did not want me to leave. That particular engagement shoot was the extreme and there are many variations in-between.

Benefits of a pre-wedding photo shoot

The benefits of the engagement shoot is that it helps build up the excitement for the main event, relax with the photographer, discuss ideas and most importantly have fun. It is also nice to display the images in an album or choose one for a signing board.  Frequently an image is used for invitations or save the date cards. So is the engagement shoot important? I would say for most yes. Most couples hire me for my natural unobtrusive style of wedding photography and the last thing we want is the couple to be self-conscious on such an important day.  I have had situations where every time the camera was pointed towards the couple they froze and looked at the camera.  This makes it more difficult to capture the natural shots.  Ideally I want to be ignored and become invisible.  Friends of a couple whose wedding I had photographed stated they could not remember seeing or being aware of me at that wedding. They wanted the same.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I took it as a great compliment and mission accomplished.  I don’t want to be a focus of the wedding but someone in the background providing unobtrusive wedding photography.

What do you wear to a pre wedding photoshoot?

The pre-wedding shoots can usually take place at a local beauty spot or favourite location.  If the couple are getting married in Devon I can also suggest a few places, as we are spoilt for some wonderful locations. If you are nervous and self-conscious I would suggest you choose a location that is not over populated or arrive at a time of day when there are few people about.  If on the other hand you are not self-conscious and would like a more populated shoot, that’s fine.

What to wear is also something you would need to consider.  Complimentary colours and styles are always good.  Dressing for the area is also a good idea, although the opposite could be true.  It depends on the personality and what you want the images to say.  Dressing for the season can be important, if it’s cold, wrap up.  Bright colours can work, but don’t overdo it.

So how does the engagement shoot happen? After we have decided on a location and time, we meet up and start off with discussing ideas and particular areas in the location.   As we warm up and get into the shoot, and if the couple are ready, I may ask for some fun shots and later a little intimacy. Most of the time the intimacy shots happen naturally, which is great.  On the whole the pre-wedding shoot is a chilled out informal affair that gives us a great chance to get to know each other and capture some great shots. Most importantly I want the couple to look good and feel relaxed so I can provide them with some great natural looking images which they can show off to their friends and family. Come the big day they will feel totally relaxed and comfortable having their photograph taken, thanks to investing a little time in the pre-wedding shoot.

Do you really need a pre-wedding shoot?

My final thought on pre-wedding shoots is, does it fit within the style of the photography I offer?  Is the pre-shoot a contradiction of my style of wedding photography? I don’t think it is. As already discussed, the shoot is all about getting to know me, the camera and it’s also a great way for you to see how I work with you. The pre-shoot is almost like a precursor to the couple shots on your wedding day and that’s it. Everything else, apart from group-shots are captured as your wedding unfolds. The couple portraits are just a small part of the day.

If you would like me to photograph your wedding and provide you with an engagement shoot, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.  I look forward to talking to you soon.


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