Why The Engagement Shoot Is Important For All Wedding Photographers
It’s all very well getting a booking to shoot someone’s wedding and that can be the hard part for many, but in reality, your work has just begun!
Shooting a wedding isn’t simply about the photography aspect of the business, it is about planning, preparation and people. Even if you are a good people person and find it easy to relax with anyone, that doesn’t mean to say it will be the same for all the couples you will meet.
In fact, in my experience, the complete opposite is more commonplace.
Many people have only really ever had their photos taken by family or friends in a very relaxed and comfortable environment. When you bring a professional photographer into the mix, people tend to cram up thinking that they need to act or pose in a certain way.
It is your job as a professional, to put them at ease and make the whole experience a fun thing for them instead of a chore. One way to do this is by organising an engagement shoot for the couple long before the actual wedding day itself if possible.
This has two main benefits.
Getting to Know You
To the couple, you are a complete stranger that they are giving good money to and in reality, you are also a guest as you have been invited to their wedding day (albeit in a professional capacity).
If you were to turn up on the day only having met them once when you got booked, it may take a while for them to relax around you. However, if you have spent a couple of hours on an engagement shoot with them, having fun and getting to know each other, the wedding day will then be much more relaxed and your photos will show that.
Everyone is happy.
Thank You Cards
Assuming that you do the engagement shoot well enough in advance and get the images to the couple on time, they will then be able to use those images for any gifts or thank you cards that they want to give out during the wedding.
The photos can also be used as a leader in the wedding album or photobook itself.
Where to Go?
When you first meet the couple, ask as many questions as you can about them such as:
- Where they met
- Who asked who to marry them
- What hobbies do they have
- What do they like doing together
- Do they have a special place or song
The more you find out, the more you can plan the day to fit into their everyday life.
For example, if they got engaged at a certain place, do some of the shoot there. If they both enjoy motorcycling, get some cool shots of them riding a bike. If they like horse-riding, maybe organise a day where you spend some time with them at the stables or in the paddock.
Of course, this isn’t always possible so also think about any props they may have in the house or special outfits they might like to wear.
Whatever you do, make sure that by the end of the shoot, you all feel comfortable in each other’s company and believe me, when the wedding day comes around, you will feel like you are doing a favour for some old friends.
You can see some of my recent engagement shoots over on my blog:
For more information on shooting weddings, check out our wedding photography DVD: