If you think about it, a person’s wedding is an odd time to take a picture of them. There is no time more exhausting and stressful in a person’s life, and no event more momentous or distracting. This leaves many to wonder if this is really the ideal day to get a picture of the happy couple-to-be.
In many countries, wedding pictures in all their stressful glory are just part of the package. In addition to these, couples also sit for pre-wedding photographs. This captures them in a more natural and stress-free setting while allowing them to get more enjoyment out of the process. The result is often a true keepsake: a portrait of this important part of a couple’s life that is captured during a calm and happy period. For this reason, pre-wedding photography is taking off in the United States and other countries.
There are two different types of pre-wedding photography. In one type, the pictures are simply like a large packet of very professional and stylized engagement portraits. In the other type, the pictures are basically wedding photographs taken several days or even weeks ahead of time. These may be shot instead of traditional wedding day pictures or in addition to them. Both types of pre-wedding pictures are gaining in popularity as the wedding industry grows.
Why choose pre-wedding photographs? First, regardless of the type you are choosing, they take a lot of pressure off the big day and allow the couple more time to enjoy their ceremony and the reception that follows. Even if the photographs taken are in addition to the wedding day portraits, they nonetheless mean less work and less time sitting on the big day.
Second, there is a high chance of something going wrong on a wedding day, or any given day. The weather may be wrong; the bride may have a pimple; the list goes on and on. If you are taking part in a scheduled photo shoot, you can always reschedule. Large events with guest lists don’t usually work that way.
Third, brides and grooms don’t have to spend as much time looking for a photographer who is open on a particular day. You can simply compare schedules and make plans accordingly. This also allows for an expanded range of venues as well as a more complicated and varied shoot. In short, there are none of the temporal and logistic limitations that exist with a traditional wedding day shoot.
Last, having a pre-wedding shoot allow you to adorn invitations and the event itself with pictures of the happy couple. They can also rest assured that they will have photos ready by the time they are back from the honeymoon and ready to send thank you cards.
Pre-wedding photography is a new field in our nation, but it has certain expectations associated with it. Here are a few ways to make sure you meet your pre-wedding photograph customers’ expectations every time.
- Allow extra time for wardrobe, hair, and makeup changes. Because one of the benefits of this style of photography is the extra time and flexibility, plan for the bride and groom to take advantage of this.
- Get to know the couple. A couple’s style is usually immediately apparent when you walk into a wedding. You can see their theme, their level of formality, and their choices in color and fabric. A pre-wedding shoot makes this a little more difficult. You will have to ask questions in order to find out exactly what poses and packages are best for them. Because pre-wedding photography allows more flexibility, you may want to come up with a list of ideas for different locations and themes. Make sure your level of creativity and cleverness in developing this list of ideas are somewhere in the ballpark of the couple’s.
- Go over packages immediately afterward. Couples may be inclined to reconsider their choices and upgrade packages a little when they are in the moment. In many cases, they have underestimated their needs and will not require much encouragement. Upselling is not “weasely” or déclassé. It is a legitimate part of doing business, especially in service industries such as professional photography.
- Bring a crew. Pre-wedding photo shoots tend to be large affairs even though they are far removed from the wedding day itself. You will be happy if you bring an assistant. This person can manage your equipment, prepare scenes ahead of time, and assist the bride in changing between customers.
- Set the mood. Romantic music and a few glasses of champagne may exponentially improve the quality of your pre-wedding photographs. If this seems a little extreme for many of the couples you work with, consider offering this option as part of select packages. Weddings are stressful times, especially during the planning stages, so loosening them up a little may save time and increase the number of usable photos that you end up with. It never hurts to get couples in a romantic mood before trying to take romantic pictures.
- Consider doing group photos ahead of time as well. Pre-wedding photos don’t need to be limited to couple’s portraits. The wedding day itself can be streamlined immensely by getting the most common group photographs out of the way. As a bonus, this will reduce worry about small children messing up their outfits or members of the wedding party missing their manicure appointment.
- Publicize the benefits. Because weddings are bound up in tradition, many people simply follow custom without thought when it comes to portraits and other big decisions. If you want to make a business from pre-wedding photos, you will need to publicize this type of portrait package and convince potential customers of the benefits of going this route. The advantages are clear, but not to someone who has never even thought about the issue.
Will pre-wedding pictures take off in the United States and other countries? Only the future will tell. Wedding fads tend to be capricious and ever-changing, so there is no way of predicting what will be in style next year or even next month. However, offering this service a part of your repertoire is a no-risk way to expand your selection of wedding portrait offerings.