Pre-Wedding Photo shoot Session Tips!

 

Couple's always ask me 'would you recommend us having a pre-wedding photo shoot?'. And if they've already booked one- 'what should we expect from our pre-wedding session?'

So I've put together this really useful blog post to help answer all of your pre-wedding session questions! I hope you find it useful and if you have any other questions or ideas for me, I'd love to hear them. Just drop me an email at danielle@danielle-smith-photography.com

Pre-wedding session photo shoot essex

Why should we have a pre-wedding session?

Pre-wedding photo shoots are such a great way for us to get to know each other a bit more before the wedding day. It's super chilled and we can chat along the way. It gives you a great chance to feel comfortable in front of the camera if you're feeling a little nervous about the idea on your wedding day.

It's also really enjoyable! I know- you don't believe me right? You couldn't think of anything worse than having a couples photo shoot in public?

Honestly, so many couples say this to me but by the end of the session they always say how much they've enjoyed it- a surprise to themselves! But also, that they feel really relaxed around me as well as the camera and that they have no worries about the wedding day itself now. We can always choose a quiet location for you- so that there are not too many people around. I have lots of availability during the daytime on weekdays which is generally a great time for a pre-wedding session as most people are at work/school etc during the day- so many places are quiet.

couple in autumn pre-wedding shoot with huge tree

What should we expect from our pre-wedding Photography session?

Once you arrive at the chosen location for your pre-wedding photo shoot, we catch up and go for a little walk around and explore. We can chat about the wedding plans or everyday life and just get to know each other a bit more!

Your job is only to relax and enjoy yourselves! This is where I work my magic! Don't worry about how to 'pose' or what to do. I work in a very laid back manner and I want you to enjoy the experience and have fun with each other. For me, it's all about capturing your connection as a couple- so I won't ask you to do anything ridiculous or uncomfortable. I want you to be YOU. And that's the only way to capture natural photos that really mean something to you.

Having said that, I can guide you through the session gently making sure you're looking fabulous and making sure I get the best shots of you both.

Spring pre-wedding photo shoot with pink blossom

When should we book our pre-wedding session?

The best time to book in for your pre-wedding session is usually Autumn- Spring time. These times are quieter for weddings so I will have a lot more weekend availability for you to choose from. Plus- they are stunning times of the year for couples pre-wedding sessions!

I absolutely LOVE the colours of Autumn. The golden tones and soft sunlight is just the best between September-November and it's usually not too cold around these times still.

Autumn pre-wedding photo shoot in essex

Winter is lovely because you get to wear snuggly warm clothes and cosy up together to keep warm. Also, I LOVE snow sessions- so if you're feeling adventurous I'm always up for scheduling in a session during these times! Snow is so much fun and pretty unique as it doesn't happen too often!

couples photo shoot in the snow

Spring is another favourite because the days become longer, warmer and more sunny and colourful, which is so refreshing at that time of year! Also the parks and outdoors spaces begin to bloom and look super pretty too.

Spring engagement photo shoot in park

I will generally need 3-4 weeks notice at a minimum to make sure I have availability to book you in for your pre-wedding photography session. In terms of how far in advance you should book from your wedding- I would suggest a minimum of 2 months prior- a lot of couples book me 6-8 months prior so that they have plenty of time to use the photos for invites, wedding decor and gift ideas too.

What should we wear for our pre-wedding session?

Always wear suitable clothing for the time of year and the weather. It will be difficult for you to relax and enjoy it if you're freezing to death! haha Also, it always feels more natural to match your clothing to the environment in which your session will take place. So if you're planning a natural session in the park- wear something casual that would normally wear for a walk round the park. And if it's rainy/muddy consider wearing some cute wellies and bringing a brolly!

London couple's photo shoot in winter

Always wear something that is 'you'. You'll love your images much more if you feel comfortable in what you're wearing and feel good about yourself. In terms of colours- coordinate but don't match! You don't want to clash with each other, opt for colours that compliment each other, muted colours are great and create a soft and romantic feel. Try to avoid busy colours and big slogans as this can be distracting in the images.

Couple walking through park in Autumn light

Should we bring anything to our pre-wedding session?

You don't need to bring along along to the session- just your lovely selves! It's best to leave your handbag/ scarves/ jackets etc that you don't want in any photos either at home or in the car. Otherwise we are forever looking for somewhere to dump them along the walk. So it's safer to leave them locked away. And for the guys- also empty wallets, phones etc from your pockets to avoid seeing them sticking out in the photos.

couple with dog in the woods at autumn

Also, you are more than welcome to bring along your cute pets! It's always fun to get your cute pupper involved especially if they are a big part of your life. It can make these photos even more special for you. Don't forget to bring along a lead, some water and their favourite treats (in case they need bribery haha).

What if it rains on the day of our pre-wedding photography session?

This is always a question that comes up for the pre-wedding session and the wedding day itself. I always say embrace it! We can't control the weather so we shouldn't let it stop us from enjoying the session or you from enjoying the best day of your lives!

If it's just a little grey and drizzly- it's usually not a problem. Grab a brolly and some suitable shoes and go for it! It can still make for some really lovely photos.

couple in forest for pre-wedding photo shoot in rain

If it's a complete downpour for your scheduled pre-wedding session- then usually it's best to re-arrange as it probably won't be so glamorous or enjoyable for you! haha

Unfortunately the actual wedding can't be re-arranged due to a bit of rain but don't worry! Usually we can find a nice indoor spot to do your photos or simply wait for a break in the rain throughout the day and pop outside when we can! It's pretty rare that it's impossible to go outside at all on a wedding day. And again- a bridal umbrella can make some really cute photos anyway!

What if it snows?!

YES- Let's do it. As long as it's safe for everyone to get there, I am up for it if you are!

pre-wedding photo shoot in snow in london park

Where should we have our pre-wedding session?

I always suggest you have a think about the location and consider if there is a special place that you both enjoy spending together or maybe a location that has a special meaning to you? Maybe the place you had your first date or the place you first met? Would you like a rural feel to your shoot? Or perhaps something more urban or even a beach side/woodland adventure?

I love it when the photos are specifically meaningful to the couple because it makes them more sentimental and special to them.

If you are stuck for ideas here are a few good ones to consider:

Local park- simple but popular! A nice relaxed walk around a pretty park can make a great photo shoot.

pre-wedding photography couple sitting on tree

Beach- I absolutely LOVE beach sessions! So much fun and great to embrace the weather and location if we get the opportunity. I love the idea of a couple not being worried about getting wet and really enjoying their time together in a beach location.

Couple's photo shoot on beach at sunset

Home- I really love the idea of photographing a couple in their everyday environment- just chilling at home- maybe making pancakes together or any other everyday activity that you enjoy!

Lavender Field- I would LOVE to do this! Lavender fields are so pretty and there are a few around Essex/London to consider. Lavender blooms from June-July- so be sure to schedule this in with me in advance if you would like to give this a go.

Here are a couple of local ones to Essex and London:

https://www.hitchinlavender.com/

http://www.mayfieldlavender.com/

London- I love a city pre-wedding shoot! There's no place like London and there is so much variety and opportunity to explore! We can either go for the industrial vibe or a more elegant- chic feel like Kensington or St-Pauls.

couple photo shoot at St Pauls London

Forest- There are so many beautiful woodlands around and they make a great backdrop particularly during Spring and Autumn. I know a gorgeous location in Romford wheres the ground of the forest is COVERED in bluebells for a couple of weeks during April every year. This time gets super busy for these sessions, so make sure you book in advance if you're interested in this!

pre-wedding photo shoot in autumn woodland

Autumn is just as pretty with the orange and yellow tones filing the woodland.

Your proposal location- always a special one! Let me know if this is something you'd like to explore- I love to hear proposal stories!

Gardens- I love to photograph in pretty gardens when they are blooming.

Photo shoot in london gardens

Just a note to make you aware that some locations and parks will need a permit to take photos- so this is something to bear in mind when considering your location- as the permits can be costly. But I'd love to hear any ideas you have and we can go from there!

What would we do with the photos after our pre-wedding photography session?

Lots of couples print the photos to put around the home as usually they've not had a professional but natural photo shoot together before so it's nice to have some nice photos to put up.

Another great idea that I see a lot of couples do is use the photos for their 'Save the Dates' or wedding invites. They can also be used as decor on the day or on the order of service if you're having printed copies in the church.

save the date and thank you cards

I also offer great guest signing books made up of your pre-wedding session photos that has loads of space for your wedding guests to sign and leave messages for you on the day of the wedding - It makes a fantastic keepsake and is really popular with my couples.

signing book for pre-wedding photos
couple photo in signing book

An alternative option to the signing book is a signing frame. Couples love these as they can be put up in the home to see and remind them on a daily basis. The frame has one image from you session in the centre- and then all your guests sign and leave messages around it. Before I leave the wedding at the end of the day- I take the signed mount with me and have it framed for you in your choice of frame- ready to go on the wall! Easy peasy.

Signing Frame from pre-wedding shoot

Prints also make great gifts for the parents! You know they can't get enough photos of their kids!

The digital files are also a great thing to keep and just know that you have them and can print them/ make a scrap book or whatever whenever you like!

So those are my pre-wedding session tips! I hope you found them useful- but the main thing to remember is enjoy yourselves! It's not often we get to take time out in our busy lives to just enjoy each-others company so treat yourselves and make it a 'date'. Go for lunch first, chill, and enjoy the day- you'll be surprised how much you enjoy the day.

If you haven’t booked your pre-wedding session yet and are interested to find out more- just drop me an email at @danielle@danielle-smith-photography.com. Sessions are currently £300 for an hour and include all of the edited digital files in an online gallery for you to download and keep.