Wedding photography just isn’t enough these days. More and more of my awesome clients also want pre-wedding photoshoots. Starting as a trend in Asia, pre-wedding photography is now popular all over the world, with couples keen to commemorate their happy engagement months just as they do their big day. If you’re thinking about this for you and your other half, here are five things to consider before taking the plunge.
In the immediate lead up to your wedding, you’re likely to be rushed off your feet finalizing details and dealing with the inevitable last-minute surprises. It’s therefore a good idea to give yourselves plenty of time between the pre-wedding photoshoot and the wedding. I suggest 4-6 months and this will also give you time to have the photos for your wedding website, if you decide to have one. The absence of stress on your faces will make a huge difference on your final photos, after all, the camera doesn't lie!
Also consider the time of day of your shoot. Most pre-wedding photoshoots will take at least a few hours, so if you can encompass the dusk “golden hour” in your session, you can get some lovely sundown shots too. There’s nothing quite like a couple silhouetted against a beautiful sunset.
If you’re booking a pre-wedding photoshoot, chances are you already know exactly when and where you’re getting married. With this in mind, I suggest picking a location for your pre-wedding shoot that’s very different from your wedding venue. You don’t need two sets of photos that look the same!
If you’re getting married on a beach, therefore, head to the countryside, or better still, jet off to one of the world's great cities. You can either pick somewhere that’s special to you as a couple or somewhere you’ve never been but know will look stunning in photos. For example, I find quite a lot of couples come to Hong Kong for their pre-wedding shoots as the city is so dynamic and photogenic. Hong Kong also offers not only city backdrops but also the beach!
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Think carefully about what you’re going to wear on the shoot and be sure to try on your outfits beforehand. That suit or dress you used to love just might not do it for you anymore. I usually advise my pre-wedding photography clients to bring two or three outfits, one more casual, one smarter and one truly elegant (hire something if you want). Be sure to co-ordinate with your partner so you compliment each other nicely for each look.
Go for classic styles that won’t go out of fashion too soon and avoid very busy patterns that might not come out well on camera. If you have any particularly sentimental pieces of jewelry or accessories, bring them along and tell your photographer about them. It’s always nice when you have a nod to something extra special in your photos.
Just as it does on your wedding day, professional styling will go a long way in your pre-wedding photoshoot. If you’ve already committed to spending the money on the shoot, parting with a little extra to make sure your hair and makeup look perfect is a no-brainer. Photographers can do a lot to remove imperfections in editing, but its always nice when your canvas is professionally put together. If you don’t know where to start with this, most photographers will have a list of stylists they’re used to working with and can recommend. I know I do.
All you really need for a pre-wedding photoshoot is yourself and your other half, but a lot of couples I’ve worked with choose to bring along some props. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a classic car. If not, you can hire one. If that doesn't sound like you, bring along your trusty bicycle for a Parisian-style shoot.
If you're lost for inspiration, think about what you like doing together and start from there. Props can be as simple as a picnic basket and as elaborate as a helicopter. Of course, ask your photographer for ideas if you’re really stuck.
A big shoutout to all the amazing couples who have chosen me for their pre-wedding shoots in Hong Kong and around the world. It’s always one of the most fun jobs on my books!
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios