Last week, I thought it'd be a good idea to run a poll on Instagram on "if I should do a blog about Prewedding shoots and what I think about them and if you should have one. All 22 of you that voted said yes.
One caveat with this... I love my photos, I have them all around, they create memories, memories of how you feel at that point in time. The same photo can mean different things to different people. I'm also going to pepper the blog with photos from the last 4 months of prewedding shoots.
I will be candid, honest and give my thoughts on my answers. I'll give you my perspective (at my wedding day & now as a photographer). Also, I got married 10 years ago and the world has shifted since then, Social media really wasn't a thing back then.
Should you have a pre wedding shoot? Simple answer yes... Yep, you can stop reading now and book one.
Seriously why do one, well:
Reason number 1: Are you super comfortable with a camera (not a phone) being pointed at you, super comfortable being relaxed with your partner in front of a camera (remember I'm trying to bring romance and togetherness as the feeling too)? Then you might not need one, however I reckon 8 out of 10 of people clam up, go ridged and don't know what to do with themselves when you point a camera with a foot long lens at them. So even if you are as cool as a cucumber with a big camera being pointed at you, chances are, your partner is not.
10 years ago: Would either my wife or I had a pre-wedding shoot - no
Today: Most definitely as we'd want to be super comfortable with the photographer and each other in front of the lens. Sometimes when someone says give them a hug... the look is... well.. oh that could be awkward.
Reason number 2: This one might apply to me, it might not, and its extremely subjective. Choose a photographer that you instantly click with, if he or she is talking to you at a wedding open day and you like them, they're normally the one for you. Sometimes you've met a photographer (or not met) for less than 1 hour, and you're trusting them with your big day (one that some of you will spend years of your life planning), they will be following you for at least 8 hours solid. They have to take your memories and turn them into photos that you cherish for years to come (I still have photos of my wedding day on the wall, the official ones, not the ones from the mates).
Lets be blunt, if they organise by barking orders, offend guests, are a nightmare for the wedding coordinators (are they recommended by a venue or more than one?) then they might not be the photographer for you. It sounds odd, but if you have a prewedding shoot and have paid your deposit and its not working out, call it then and there, say, thanks for the shoot, but I can't have you following me around on the day as the hassle will just not be worth it. Yes you'd have to pay their prewedding shoot rate, but better than walking around on your wedding day with a photographer that you don't like and drives you mad.
10 years ago: I thought I spent a lot of time sorting a photographer, and meeting them, My wife liked one that I hated, I liked one she hated, and we settled on one final that was one of the best in the area at the time. We had looked through about 20 and dispelled the image quality on a lot of photographers early on.. And yes we paid a lot for our photographer then. We spent about 30 mins with this chap before he photographed our day and we would have chosen someone who operated differently if we'd spent more time with him.
Today: yes I'd tell a photographer.. Sorry mate I'm not going ahead with you. I'd bother the photographer get to know them, read their blogs and generally want to know their ethos about how they shoot. So a prewedding shoot would most definitely allow you more time to talk and see who and what they are a like.
Reason number 3: Get some good photos
This is a good indication if a photographer does what they say. 10 days promise and sticks to 10 days, or two weeks, or what every they agree with you to.
Are the photos any good? Even if you don't use them for anything more than a facebook post sometimes its a nice way to build excitement of the day
However... That said... And it links with the above. Do the photos make you remember the good evening/weekend that you had strolling around with them or.... Did you need to read point 2 above? did they make you comfortable?
I once had a family shoot, and something had happened before the family shoot to the family and they were all worrying all throughout the shoot. So, while the photos were awesome (other folks that had seen them and said that). All they remembered was me pestering them with a camera for an hour when they wanted to be somewhere else. Does the photographer make you feel good about having your photo taken and producing some good photos.
10 years ago: I would have liked to have know what the photographer was like more.
Now: My reason for taking one today would not really be to get photos, but it can be nice for a save the date cards, or just a reminder for people to see.
To give a fair and balanced argument: Reason not to have one -
Reason 1 Cost: -
It costs more, plain and simple, it costs more. I cant argue with that, you're paying for the time of me to travel out to the location, in some cases scout the location beforehand, shoot with you, then spend the time editing photos. Most likely the hours prewedding shoot is somewhere between 4-6 hours work for a photographer, not to mention gear prices/overheads etc.
But if you break it down, a prewedding shoot from me is priced at £150, if you were buying it separately. There are a number of things I've seen on wedding days that cost way more and are never used or in my opinion are wasted (but each to their own and I did mention it was a candid opinion).
I know I look at lots of things and think.. How long will it last me... I'm spending £5 on a coffee~(ok, maybe cake too) that last me 10 minutes. That's £30 an hour for coffee.... So with that in mind, how many times have I looked at my wedding album? Well, my wedding album was out this week with my kids looking through it. I've not looked at the digital files that I got from all the friends and I've got 3 official wedding photos still up on my walls from that day. 10 years later. I've also only seen my wedding video 2 times since the wedding day. I always place my money on getting brilliant.
So for the price of two meals out or maybe a night out, it makes sure you have the right person.
Reason 2: You can already pose and your partner are naturals in front the camera
This is not a duck faced selfie in front of a mirror, but can pose, are aware of where your body position and can be completely natural in front of a camera. If you're both like this and are totally normal with someone who you've only known for 15 mins then you might not need a pre wedding shoot. However just remember that 8 out of 10 folks don't like their photos being taken.
10 years ago: I'd be fine with this, my wife no
Today: we'd both be fine in front of someone else, and know what we wanted from it.
Reason 3: you've worked with the photographer before
You know them, are comfortable with their style and know the results you produce. I've worked with so many people that either say... I'd not work with that photographer again, or the opposite which is... I'd work with them again in a heartbeat. You might not need a prewedding shoot then
There are 3 reasons for and against getting a pre-wedding shoot. I hope you find this helpful and didn't read it as me on my high horse. Its meant to be candid, fair and honest thought process from me (and some input from the Mrs too) on what I think of pre-wedding shoots.
I'd always advocate (now) having one as from my point of view: it helps me build up more of a relationship with you. It helps me understand what you like, where you like being photographed from (some people have said... Photograph me from this side). I've had a comments like "I don't want to look like a nob on my wedding day" from a bride.
All of this combines to help me give you a better service on your wedding day and for you to go... Oh its Chris, rather than go... Who are you again? YIKES
You can always find a cheaper photographer or Uncle bob with his base DSLR... But that doesn't mean they will deliver what you really want.
I'd love to hear what you think on this, so please please drop me a comment below and I can get back to you on it, whether you agree with me or not
Until next time,