A pre wedding photoshoot or engagement photoshoot is a photo session that typically takes place several months prior to the wedding day ceremony. Pre wedding photo shoots helps build trust between you and a couple before documenting a wedding day. For you, it’s also the time to get more about a bride and groom, their characters, and the best posing angles.
In this article, you will see the basic steps, tips, and ideas on how to make your pre wedding photo shoots easily and professionally.
Nowadays the average price of a professional pre wedding photo shoot is $500. For some photographers the cost depends on the time of work. This price does not include additional services and road. More often the photographer can travel about 100 miles for free, everything else is paid extra. What does this rather small sum include?
You must make a contract with customers where pre and the wedding photo session can be inscribed. It is possible to have two different wedding photography contracts. Next, the total sum includes equipment that you will use. It varies depending on the location of the shooting. Most often it is an outdoor pre wedding photo shoot for which you do not need a large amount of artificial light but you may offer drone wedding photography.
Now, this is a fairly common topic. If the shooting takes place in the studio, then there is no way to do without light, the customer pays for the use of this equipment in addition. Many couples want to embody the most unusual pre wedding photos ideas. The photographer should be ready for such appeals and have some experience. Underwater photography, filming with the use of colored smoke, etc. are very popular now.
Just do not forget about photo retouching and creating an album. Such services are indicated additionally and will also cost you a couple of hundreds, depending on the amount of work.
Pre Wedding Photoshoot Locations
From my own experience, I can say that clients rarely know what they really want. Speaking about the place, it is generally more difficult than everything. I adore clients who have their own pre wedding photography idea and I have to implement it. These people often have a plan and a place where a photo shoot should take place. It became popular to be photographed in Iceland or on cold parts of the US where almost all the year round everything is covered with snow and ice. Very often a couple wants to hold the pre wedding photo shoot at beach.
So be sure to keep a few locations in the reserve and find out the hours in which you can catch it with a minimum of visitors. Forest is the no less frequent place for photos, so stock up some really great places for pictures. If your clients don’t want to go abroad, offer the following destinations to take awesome pre wedding photos.
Pre Wedding Photoshoot Locations in the US
- Big Sur, California
- Beaulieu Garden, St Helena, CA
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Kauai and Maui, Hawaii
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
- Pacifica, California
- Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
- Imperial Sand Dunes, California
- Rock Island, Tennessee
- Painted Hills, Oregon
- Middleton Place, Charleston, SC
- Castle Hill, Newport, RI
- North Garden, VA
- Loch Lyme Lodge, Lyme, NH
- Cairnwood, Huntingdon Valley, PA
1. Big Sur, California
Big Sur is an area on the coast and surrounded by a dense forest. This is one of the best pre wedding photoshoot locations since you can take a photo in two styles in one place.
All that can be said about this place, it is typical California. Here are the endless ocean, colorful plains turning into the rocky coast, deserts, and mountains. There are even small sandy islands. In general, it is simply impossible to take a bad photo.
2. Beaulieu Garden, St Helena, CA
If your clients are looking for a destination attracted by gardens and a large number of diverse plants, this is the place for them. It is the wedding palace which is a great place for pre wedding bride photos. I like it because there are so many small alleys here and each corner can be very different from the previous one.
3. Grand Canyon, Arizona
The best wedding photographers from the US prefer this destination for wedding photoshoot. Canyon surrounded by a deserted area and having several rivers and lakes will be an excellent place where you can easily realize all the fantasies of both newlyweds and a photographer. It is one of the most popular places for any types of pre wedding photography.
4. Kauai and Maui, Hawaii
A pre wedding photo session in Hawaii is probably the dream of every bride. So if you were lucky enough to be a photographer on this island, the best choice would be to capture the couple in the Kauai or Maui area. There are more deserted beaches and huge mountains there. All this together creates an unforgettable effect.
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Rockies, hills, woods, a lake and a rare snow lying on the tops of the mountains is a dream for customers who want their pre wedding photos to be taken on the majestic background of nature.
6. Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
It’s just a godsend for lovers of the countryside! The snow-covered Rocky Mountains, fields, lakes and barns will help create wonderful photos.
7. Pacifica, California
The sharp rocky coast in Pacifica will present you with really dramatic pre wedding photo shoots. The best photos come out at the moment of breaking the wave against the stones, but be ready to get wet.
8. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
A red canyon will give you impressive photos both inside its canals and above them. It is important to choose the correct pre wedding shoot time, since the light inside the channels can be warm for a photo only for a short time.
9. Imperial Sand Dunes, California
If you need to take pictures against the background of the boundless desert, you do not need to go to another country, the same place is in the US! Also, it’s an excellent choice for pre wedding photoshoot creative ideas, especially for Star Wars fans, as a lot of scenes were shot here.
10. Rock Island, Tennessee
If you are a fan of the classical countryside, then this is just fine. This is a very popular place for weddings and wedding photo sessions due to tropical surroundings and waterfalls.
11. Painted Hills, Oregon
This is a territory for the best pre wedding photos. The red hills, which become lighter and sometimes even whiten in some places, allow you to play with colors as you like. Photos taken on a wide-angle lens or made with a drone are especially attractive.
12. Middleton Place, Charleston, SC
These gardens represent a masterpiece of landscape design. You can see here small ponds and green trails between them, the old mansion and green areas with huge willows on its territory. Especially, I like the small house at the lake, it has a special attraction.
13. Castle Hill, Newport, RI
This peninsula, which is a flat green one, is cut somewhat by the scaffolds into the ocean. There is also a small lighthouse here, and often passing by ships will add photos some special atmosphere.
14. North Garden, VA
This is an ideal place for those who love the countryside with views of the mountains and forests. Barns, fields, and gardens will create the perfect background for a photo shoot.
15. Loch Lyme Lodge, Lyme, NH
If you are attracted by huge lakes and forest terrain, the Loch Lyme Lodge area is perfect for your photos. The pictures on the bridge or on empty green fields against the backdrop of the lake are incredibly great.
16. Cairnwood, Huntingdon Valley, PA
This huge estate in Pennsylvania looks very majestic; especially I like the huge green field near it. The photos behind the golf field are already boring. It is much more interesting when a beautiful architecture serves as the background for various pre wedding photo shoot poses. Also, you may have time to take a photo session in the forest – it is directly in the backyard.
My advice – if you cannot find excellent places for pictures yourself, use Instagram. Select several photos, view the geolocation and find the place where the photo was taken.
Pre Wedding Photoshoot Ideas
The first thing you need to do is coordinate all your ideas with the customers. Maybe, they will propose something. You must learn them better as individuals in order to understand what style of shooting they need and what pre wedding photo concept will be the most suitable. Always mind photo retouching and use Lightroom presets to take professional photographs.
1. Shooting with an Animal
Think of the basic poses for such kind of a photo, different ideas, find out about the favorite pet’s delicacy to make it look at the points you need.
Animals often occupy a very important place in people’s lives. So important that dogs at the wedding have a separate place and their costumes. People for whom a dog or a cat has such a value want to have a place for a pet in their pre wedding shoot.
2. Take Photos from the Top with the Drone
Photos from the top are the field for the creativity that you need. If earlier you had to climb something to make a good picture from above, now the drone will do it for you. Any idea can be realized during this kind of shooting. You can put the newlyweds, leave them to stand or sit. Especially good are photos on the background of water or even in the water. It is recommended pre wedding photo shoot tips to play with the height. But you should not take too close shots; take one at an average distance and a couple at a very high capturing ambiance.
3. Photos in the Boat
Among the ideas for wedding photo shoot, pictures in the boat look especially attractive. You can use both an ordinary boat with oars and a yacht, as your customers wish. I’d like to mention that the photos on a simple boat look more romantic. Such pictures can be made both at sunset and in daylight. In any case, the photo will be wonderful. Try also to take a few pictures with the drone – the picture from above will be fantastic.
4. Pictures in/under the Water
This is probably one of the most complicated ideas on this list. Not many couples agree and want such photos. If they have a desire, then you as a professional should have an idea of how to make such pre-bridal pictures well. In order to take photos with a DSLR or even a mirrorless camera, you need a special cover for the underwater shooting. It will cost you quite a lot if you want a fairly comfortable use. There is an option for shooting on the GoPro or Sony action camera. But if you want to give such services, then you need a good practice – read the literature on this topic, take a few photo sessions and only after that provide similar services.
5. Photos in the Dance
It’s not so much about the dance itself as about the dancing movements. So do not scare the couple by forcing them to dance. Study the poses guide for pre wedding photography as you need to have some examples of pictures that the pair can reproduce in front of the lens. Perhaps, it will be some simple movements from the waltz or interesting tango elements.
6. Make it Lifestyle
It is one of the most favorite genres for photographers. Such photos are much more interesting to take. The main thing in these photos is to get to know a couple before that because people cannot behave themselves free and as they conduct themselves outside the camera lens. Spend at least an hour or more with the pair, and then try to take a few pictures. They should forget about your existence, give them a topic for conversation, try not to talk to them, let them just go or talk, a good shot will come.
7. Photos in the Style of “Follow Me”
Photos in this style are very popular among Instagram users. They usually look like the photo where you see only the guy’s hand and the girl’s back. In my opinion, those photos where both newlyweds can be seen are more appropriate for pre wedding photo shoot package. So tell one of the partners to lead another, let the leader look somewhere to the distance or to the ground, but definitely not into the camera, but the slave let him look into the lens.
8. Photos in the Forest
Forest photos are the most demanding and popular kind of pictures. There is a huge space for imagination while realizing this pre wedding photoshoot idea. Personally, I like how the white dress of the bride and the groom’s costume stand out from the background of nature. I recommend you to add a few floral elements to the clothes of the newlyweds – a bouquet in the hand of the bride, a flower in the groom’s pocket, even wreath from the hair if it matches the dress. It is desirable to do such photos in full growth or even from above, you should avoid portraits.
9. Use Colored Smoke
Such photos are especially distinguished against the others because they add unexpected colors to the frame. The main rule: do not use too bright colors on a simple background, and if you do it, combine them with other colors. You also need to avoid too thick clouds of smoke, as they do not look as attractive as you would like. My recommendation to any pre wedding photographer is to put the smoke bomb on different sides for a few seconds. The smoke will spread evenly and settle down to the ground slightly. You need a rarer and more transparent smoke similar to fog.
10. While Doing Favorite Things
Each couple has a common favorite passion that they do together. It can be drawing, books, music, and it will be very good if you capture this moment. That is one of the best pre wedding photo shoot ideas. No posing, just ask them to do it as if you simply do not exist. Choose a background according to the hobby: books – a warm plaid, cocoa, and home atmosphere, music – instruments in hands and a majestic background, for example, a forest or a lake.
Pre Wedding Photoshoot Tips
Pre Wedding Photoshoot Tips
- Make a discount for a pre wedding photoshoot
- Mind the season of shooting
- Do not be afraid to risk
- Prepare the Poses list for shooting
- Offer a photo session in your city
Read more wedding photography tips to avoid beginner’s mistakes while shooting.
Make a Discount for a Pre Wedding Photoshoot
Often couples do a pre wedding photo session with one photographer, and a wedding one with another. I really do not understand why they do this because the pre wedding photo session is also a test of the photographer and his qualification. If the couple has ordered you a pre wedding photo shoot and a full wedding shooting, make them a 50% discount. In this case, they will have more desire to turn to your services. This is how a large number of famous photographers act.
Season of Shooting
Pre wedding shoot time is one of the most important factors in determining the concept of photography. You will take into account the weather, the availability of various sites, the relevance of certain stylistics. You must have a plan and ideas for each season of the year. If you want to set up a photo session in the form of a musical romantic picnic in nature, late autumn and winter are not the best seasons for realizing this idea. At this time, it is better to give a preference for taking photos of the walk in the city, shooting in the studio, taking photos in the garden, in the forest. Shooting at the seaside will add some special effect, thanks to the large waves in this season.
Emphasize the shooting season in the chosen style and pre wedding activities. Summer is ideal for a love-story shot in the rays of the sunset. Taking photos in winter, supplemented with the warm pre wedding photo shoot dresses and snow, will become truly enjoyable. The autumn photo session is excellent for taking pictures in the forest or in the wood.
Do Not Be Afraid to Risk
Many photographers don’t like to try something new, such as night and underwater shooting, or under the rain. Often, photographs have to refuse the couples because they do not have a practical application for this. I recommend watching the demonstrations of this kind of photography, especially during the season and coming up with new pre wedding ideas for shooting, new poses, and props. You have to practice, arrange periodically photo shoots to your friends practicing them. I’m sure they will not mind having a good photo, and for you, it’s a good experience
Poses for Shooting
For many people, pre wedding photography meaning the first photo session experience is very nervous as they do not know how to stand or turn around. But for the beautiful photo session it is not necessary to be professional models – the main thing is to be open, sincere and not to be shy. Many photographers are able to understand the people as they communicate with them as often as possible.
Offer a Photo Session in Your City
Couples are often afraid of asking about shooting in other locations as they don’t want to get a refuse. So they do not know what is possible. You have learned a lot of places for the different images you can offer people to arrange the photo session to in one of these beautiful locations. Suggest that they will not pay the price of the road in addition to the pre wedding photo shoot cost. It is also possible to organize a photo session not only in your country. You can offer Iceland or Singapore pre wedding photo shoot location, for example.
At the first sight, pre wedding photo session is similar to any other. But you can turn it into an art. You need only to use the imagination.