Pre-Wedding Photography: Engagement Shoots and Beyond

pre wedding photographyBrides-to-be are some of the busiest creatures on Earth. Before the thrill of becoming engaged has even fully worn off, the mile-long list of things to take care of starts creeping its way in; there are caterers to call, invitations to send, and of course, you have to find the perfect dress. Even just figuring out where to begin can get your head spinning as you start to draft your “to do” before the big “I do.”

One thing is for sure: photography is going to play a major part in your wedding. It’s definitely worth it to find an amazing photographer, because after the party’s over and the cake has been eaten, your wedding photos remain as a reminder of this joyous and special occasion. Everyone is familiar with the concept of wedding photography–but what about pre-wedding photography? Making the decision to hire a photographer to take care of the pre-wedding details, like an engagement shoot or a bridal portrait is one you definitely won’t regret. There’s no need to feel overwhelemed! We’ll take you through what you must know about pre-wedding photography, and by the time you’re done, you’ll be ready to show the rest of that to-do list who’s boss! 

Finding a Photographer

The first thing you need to do is simple: you need to find a photographer! Sometimes it’s prudent to hire a friend or a family member who knows how to work magic with a camera to get those perfect wedding day photos you are dreaming of. Most of the time, though, you’ll want to look at some of the professional options that are out there. After all, if you’re asking Cousin Steve to handle the wedding and pre-wedding photography, he won’t be able to strut his stuff on the dance floor. When you go to hire a photographer, it is a great idea to have a list of questions that you’d like to ask them in order to ensure that they are a good fit. We’ve included them here:

  • How many weddings have you shot/ how much experience do you have?
  • How far in advance do I need to book with you? For my wedding? For my pre-wedding photography needs?
  • May I see your portfolio? How recent are your latest shot?
  • Do you like to shoot natural or candid photos?
  • Do you have an assistant?
  • Do you have backup equipment?
  • Have you ever shot my wedding location before?
  • How long do you need to set up? How long will you shoot for?
  • Will I own my photographs, or will you hold the copyright?
  • Do you do editing? How long should I expect my photos to take?
  • Can you work with my budget?

You want to make sure that you feel some kind of connection with your photographer, that you like his or her work, and that you are comfortable with them being present on your big day. As far as budget concerns go, you might be surprised how easily vendors will work with a savvy bride who knows how to negotiate to get what she wants and needs. 

Engagement Photography Explained

An engagement shoot is an opportunity for you and your fiance to capture some intimate moments together, before the pressures of planning your wedding can dampen too much of the glow of being newly betrothed. You can use the photos that you take during an engagement session to craft a beautiful announcement card or save the date that you can send out to your family. These photos can also go on a wedding website, should you choose to make one, or to decorate the reception location. Probably the best reason of all to get engagement pictures taken as part of your pre-wedding photography plan is because these pictures will serve to document a turning point in your relationship for years to come. Think of how nice it will be to look back at them in 1, 5, or even 10 years on your anniversary and revel in the memories of your young love.

When you plan your engagement photos, there are a few things to take into condsideration:

  • Location: where do you want your photos to be taken? A lot of couples go for outside shoots, or pick locations that hold meaningful memories for them. For instance, you could return to that little coffee shop where you first met, or pose in that pretty little park where you love to spend your lazy weekend days together.
  • Dress: most couples like to keep their engagement photos pretty casual. After all, you will have plenty of pictures of the two of you done up to the nines in your formal gown and tux on the day of your wedding. Your pre-wedding photography shoots are a great way to just relax and have fun together.
  • Style: do you want black and white pictures? Something with a chic filter? An atmosphere that will ultimately tie into your wedding theme Determining your engagement shoot style will not only get you the photos you’ve been dreaming of, it is a chance to get to know your wedding photographer and see how well they can intuit and work with your requests.

Above all, you should enjoy your engagement shoot. It is a chance to step away from the constant demands on your time as a couple, and being able to relax will definitely translate to some awesome pictures of the two of you.

Bridal Portraits Explained

Bridal portraits can refer to a few different things: traditionally, portraits were taken of the bride by herself before the ceremony, to get some great shots of her anticipatory excitement–and of her fabulous gown, of course.

Not everyone opts to get Bridal Portraits done as a part of their pre-wedding photography package. Some brides simply don’t like to be the center of attention, or feel strange posing for the camera, opting for more candid shots instead. That’s perfectly fine! More and more, brides and grooms are posing together for these traditional portraits, assuming that they don’t put too much stock in superstition. After all, many people still believe that it’s bad luck for the groom to see his beloved in her wedding finery!

If you do opt to take bridal portraits, whether they are solo pictures or snaps of the entire bridal party, the main thing you need to take in to consideration is time. How long will you need before the ceremony to get this aspect of your pre-wedding photography out of the way. You probably won’t want to spend too much time after the ceremony–your first moments as a married couple should be spent celebrating, not posing!

Getting Ready For Your Close-up

Understandably, you want to look amazing for all of your pre-wedding photography! Getting ready for your engagement or bridal shoots are almost as important as getting ready for your big day:

  • If you are doing your own makeup and hair, take some time to learn what makeup application techniques the pros use to make brides-to-be look picture perfect. 
  • If you are opting to go pro, make sure you know how long the prep will take, and plan accordingly with your photographer.
  • Don’t forget about your spouse! There are plenty of ways that you can help your spouse look their absolute best for your pre-wedding photography, starting with clothes that are pure style genius.
  • Breathe! Remember that your pre-wedding photography is part of a larger picture: your lives together as a married couple!

If you are getting married, you can officially cross one more thing off of your list: making the perfect pre-wedding photography plan. Now you can focus on the things that really matter–enhancing the relationship you have with your soul mate as you plan on taking this next big step together. Take a moment to relax! It won’t be long until you have other checklists to contend with, perhaps purchasing the perfect home for your new lives together?