WHY TOP PHOTOGRAPHERS INSIST ON A PRE-WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
For the couple - Why have a PRE-WEDDING ENGAGEMENT SHOOT?
The first reason
is confidence. Most couples are not professional models. In fact most couples have had numerous bad photographs taken of them over the years and so dread the thought of being the centre of attention all day in front of a camera. So many times couples say to us "We're not photogenic". What they really mean is that they have not yet had a good professional photograph of themselves. The engagement pre-wedding session allows us to change that mind-set and show the couple that they look good on camera.
The second reason
couples benefit is they get to find out some simple, yet very effective tricks the pros use to look good and look natural on camera. There are lots of ways to look into a camera, straight at it is not the right way. Yet this is exclusively the way people look into the lens. If you are worried about a little double chin then we can show you how to stand so that its smoothed away. Simple techniques learnt over years enable couples to feel ready for their wedding photography. We've even balanced a 6 foot 4 inch groom with a 5 foot 1 inch bride, and no we didn't use a box. Height differences are quiet common and can appear to really jar on a photograph. Slouching is NOT the answer as this makes the groom look hunched over, not attractive. Simply opening the grooms legs will bring him down to the level of the bride in the most natural looking way.
The third reason
for couples to have a pre-shoot before their wedding is stylisation of images. Our style is very artistic and intimate. We want our wedding photographs to ooze emotion and passion. We are very creative and so some of our shots require lighting and the right emotions flowing from the couple. The reality is that doesn't just happen on camera. May be if you took enough images, say 3,000 every wedding, you might get one image like that in every 30,000 images. That's not good odds for couples who want the kind of photographs they see on our website. To create that amazing double album spread, that'Magic Moment' needs a lot of couple input. And the truth is stunning natural images don't happen naturally and don't feel that natural when we're taking them. In fact, it may even feel down right strange, yet when you see the finished images its... WOW. Couples need to experience coming together in a way that might feel strange to them yet creates stunning images.
The fourth reason
is for the benefit of your guests. You have this great venue. You look stunning. You've spent thousands on food and drink and where are you? Off for 2 hours with your photographer. One bride told me her photographer took them off for so long they missed their champagne reception, their magician, her parents surprise gift of a steel band and her grand parents had to leave early so she never got to say "hi". Where were they? With their photographer. Sadly its an all to familiar story. The pre-wedding session gets all the preparation work out of the way. On the wedding day we just have to remind you and that's just a word here and there. We spend a maximum of 30 minutes with a couple between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, and that's split into two 15 minute sessions. Yet we still manage to create between 400 and 600 finished images on a wedding day because we can all move so quickly.
Fifth and final reason
is you get something memorable out of your Engagement Pre-Shoot. For all of our couples we will hand finish 20 images and put them on their web site. They choose their favourite images and we will mount it in a 24x20 inch (60x50cm) mount and bring on your wedding day for your guests to sign. This is a great reminder of your engagement photography session and a lovely keep sake from your wedding day.
For the WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
First is your reputation. Its the hardest thing to get and the easiest thing to loose. To consistently produce images to the standard you see on our website would be impossible without taking the time to do an engagement session. I can already hear photographers saying we'll never earn enough, we can't afford it. Well its all about choices. We do 40 wedding per year. That's it. So we don't fill up on dates and quantity, we have limited space and offer that to quality couples. That means we are photographing couples who want great photography and see it as an 'Investment' not and expense. Now its taken us years to get there but that was always our goal. So now we only photograph couples who want something different and so are prepared to be part of that creative process. The conclusion is, that put's us in the top 5% of wedding photographers. Its your choice.
Second never under estimate the benefit of meeting your couple prior to the wedding. The pre wedding session helps you to work out what will work for them and what to stay away from. I remember one Bride saying she hated photographs because she had a little bump on to of her nose. So we stayed away from profile images. We always tried to have the slightly higher ground to minimise the bump. We found that putting her head on a slight tilt pretty much got rid of the problem. Could you imagine not having that knowledge before the wedding day and creating hundreds of images she hated. As it was she loved her pre-shoot images and was over the moon with her wedding photography. Attention to detail distinguishes you from the crowd and its a big crowd out there!
Third its an opportunity to try stuff out that you might not do on the wedding day. Recently I have got into the habit of trying a new style of image with every pre-shoot couple. I do all the stuff which I know works, but I add just one thing, may be a new pose, new way of shooting. Recently I was inspired by Emily Soto who is a great fashion photographer. Her style is to use the sun as a back light and in California she always has a back light. So I've started experimenting. Now if they don't work out at the pre-shoot no harm because I have bagged all the safe shots I need. That means I am always pushing myself to do new stuff, be more creative, use light in different ways. Pre-shoots are great places to do that, but one word of advice, keep it to just one thing, and make sure you've bagged the safe shots first.
Make PRE-SHOOTS part of your packages
We used to offer an Engagement session as an optional extra. What I have come to realise is they are necessary. I know that we can't guarantee to produce the quality and style of imagery without the input of the couple. I may have the best technique, understand light, have the latest equipment, more pixels at my disposal than any other wedding photographer, but if I don't have a couple who know how to make magic on camera, I'm up a creek without a paddle.
PRE- WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS are simply an investment. If you buy cheap you probably won't make the transition. A Pre-Shoot is the forerunner to a quality outcome.