Andre Axford-Bryars from Belle Momenti Photography advises you on the importance of a pre-wedding photoshoot
For the vast majority of people their wedding day is most likely the very first time they will have had any experience with a professional photographer.
The process of choosing your wedding photographer/s, should at the very least be as demanding a decision as choosing the venue or wedding dress. Yet many couples leave the decision until quite late in the day. Photography is so subjective that it is critical you view as many photographers as possible during the evaluation process. This should be done at least 12 months ahead, as most successful wedding photographers are booked up well in advance, sometimes as much as two years! Ensure that the photographer/s you are speaking with is actually the person/team who will be there on the big, review as many albums as you can and check that they have full insurance coverage.
It is critical that you both have a connection with the photographer/s before you sign up. They will spend a great deal of time both before and on the wedding day trying to develop a relationship with you which creates a level of relaxation between all the parties. It is important that you feel comfortable with them and that they will work well with your family and friends. You need to be happy that they will not upset guests with an abrasive approach or shout and order people around when it comes to the group photos. Ensure that your chosen photographer/s offer a pre-wed photoshoot in advance of the wedding. Even if they offer it as an additional service option, make sure to have it included in your package.
The pre-wed shoot is probably one of the most important elements of a successful wedding day. Why? It is an opportunity for you both to get to know your photographer/s and for them to get to know you. What you like, dislike, how you are individually and together, relaxed, nervous, show-off - these are all critical factors in building a working relationship, which will ultimately lead to a more relaxed day in front of the camera.
Whatever you do, ensure that the shoot is not in the studio. The whole point of the exercise is to all get to know each other, develop a rapport and become relaxed in others company. By choosing a neutral location it is easier and quicker for everyone to relax. This way when the photographer/s arrive on the wedding day, there is no need for introductions or questions about what they are going to do through the day. Arranging a pre-wed shoot in a special place or a woods, hotel grounds will give the photographers the opportunity to split up the couple and take individual shots, then bring them together for the couple shots. This is how it will work on the day and it is great to see how, with most couples, the act of coming together for the couple shots immediately relaxes everyone involved.
It is also a great opportunity for the photographers to provide some guidance and tips for the wedding day itself. How we can best capture the really key moments, such as walking up or down stairs – everyone’s natural instinct is to look down when walking up/down stairs - not great for photographs! So by explaining to couples that if they walk in slow motion and every third step look at each other or at the camera, the shot will be captured correctly.
So in summary, the pre-wed photoshoot is more about building a relationship between the couple and photographer/s which will help everyone to be more relaxed on the big day!
Belle Momenti Photography, www.bellemomenti.com